Being involved in the Lutheran Church during school, Lent is quite familiar to me. I can appreciate the tradition and practicing fasting in preparation for Easter. 

This Lent, Sam and I are giving up entertainment and making the Bible the only thing we consume. So far there have been a few times we’ve wanted to watch a movie out of habit; a go-to activity to fill time or numb the brain. I resonated with this article I read and the author commented, “There is a glut of entertainment in my life and I use it to avoid silence and inactivity.” In this inactivity, going to read the bible ‘just because’ seems so unnatural. I am noticing I’m going to lengths to keep myself busy. Even when I am home, oh I can clean, put some washing on, cook, get some groceries, go for a walk, call a friend, clean, rearrange the furniture… ah fold my clothes. I will find something to do, something to keep active. As well, I didn’t realise how often I would read C.S. Lewis or other books before I’d choose to read the bible. Even further, with no extra books, podcasts, videos, even Pinterest or social media, I feel there is quite literally more room in my brain. After a long day of consuming so much, I had no mind space to consume or even think of God. 

So a week into Lent and I notice I have been and am still avoiding inactivity and stillness. “Why am I afraid of being bored? Why am I afraid of having free mind space?” My reaction has troubled me recently, and I remembered a friend once suggesting that ‘boredom’ should be a spiritual discipline. Inactivity and boredom are said to be useful to clear away the clutter of distraction to make room for God. To embrace the boring in spiritual life. Being still and knowing God (Psalm 46:10). It is true and hard to embrace. Even psychologists recommend we all have the need to be still to let our thoughts and emotions settle. And most of all, still enough to allow Christ to help us sort through the overflow of our heart, mind and spirit.

So far, this Lent series is showing me the importance of being present with Christ so that he is the overflow in our life, not hurriedness, stress, business, angst and irritability. For example, being still enough in our private life so that Christ is the overflow in our workplace. That we would be bored enough for Christ to teach us the importance of being thankful for the food he has provided, so our witness would be “carving the meat with dignity”, as Mark illustrated in his last sermon. 

Perhaps you might encounter boredom in this season of Lent as well me. I hope together we can stop avoiding inactivity and embrace stillness or even boredom as a spiritual discipline. Embracing the endeavour to be still enough to know Christ. 

“Distractions must be conquered or they will conquer us. So let us cultivate simplicity; let us want fewer things; let us walk in the Spirit; let us fill our minds with the Word of God and our hearts with praise. In that way we can live in peace even in such a distraught world as this.” A.W. Tozer