How to Stay Awake to God's Wonder When Life Feels Boring
- Whitney Hopler Crosswalk.com Contributing Writer
- 2021 24 Feb
When life feels boring, you can – and should – do something about it. Don’t let your life shrink down to anything less than the wonderful adventure God intends it to be. By intentionally pursuing awe, you can stay awake to the wonder of God’s work and enjoy life to the fullest. Here’s how to stay awake to God’s exciting wonder when you’re bored, adapted from my book Wake Up to Wonder.
Pray (Talk to God) and Meditate (Listen to God)
Rather than approaching prayer and meditation as boring obligations, approach them as delightful opportunities to communicate with your Creator. Start prayer and meditation habits you enjoy and let go of habits that don’t really help you communicate well with God. Don’t worry about following formulas. God has no barriers to loving communication, so you don’t need any either. You don’t have to speak formally when you pray or sit still when you meditate. You’re free to pray and meditate in whatever ways work best for you. You can be creative while praying: writing your prayers, drawing your prayers, or even dancing your prayers. You can meditate anywhere: while taking a walk, cooking a meal, or even doing housework. What truly counts as prayer and meditation is simply focusing your energy on talking with, and listening to, God. God simply wants you to open your heart to him while communicating. He promises, “You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart” (Jeremiah 29:13). Expect God to respond when you communicate with him like that – and expect to encounter wonder as a result!
Manage Stress Without Numbing Yourself
Avoid using numbing behaviors (such as mindlessly browsing online, overeating, or drinking alcohol) to cope with stress. Instead, allow yourself to fully feel your emotions and deal with them in healthy ways, such as talking with a caring friend or practicing mindfulness. When you let yourself experience your emotions, your boredom will evaporate as you learn what God is trying to teach you through your emotions. Everything you feel can be a clue to a lesson God wants to teach you about the wonder of his work in your life. God promises In Isaiah 43:19, “See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.”
Take Wonder Breaks, Like Wonder Walks
If you’re bogged down in busyness and feeling bored because of it, take a break to intentionally pursue wonder. Plan regular breaks into your schedule to search for the wonder around you. You may simply take a few minutes to listen to inspiring music. You may choose to play with your children or pets for a while and savor the fresh perspective that brings you. Or, you may take a wonder walk, looking for something awe-inspiring along the way. When you look for wonder on purpose, you train your mind to notice it. You won’t feel bored when you’re regularly reminding yourself of what Daniel 4:3 proclaims: “How great are his signs, how mighty his wonders! His kingdom is an eternal kingdom; his dominion endures from generation to generation.”
Learn Something New
Every day presents opportunities for you to learn something new. You won’t be bored when you’re focused on learning. Decide to become a lifelong learner. Pursuing lifelong learning is a powerful way to discover the wonder around you. Every day pick something you’ve been wondering about and seek to learn more about it. Read, engage in conversations, watch documentaries, travel, and even explore the messages in your dreams to learn something new regularly. Jesus invites you to learn from him as you walk with him through life: “Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls” (Matthew 11:29).
Use Your Senses
Your physical senses (seeing, hearing, smelling, tasting, and touching) are tools you can use to access spiritual wonder. Whenever you feel bored, do something to engage at least one of your senses. Some simple ideas: look at artwork, listen to music, smell a scented candle, cook a meal from a new recipe and savor its taste, and feel your heart beating while thanking God for giving you life. Your senses can remind you of your Creator’s great design for you. As Proverbs 20:12 says, “Ears that hear and eyes that see – the LORD has made them both.” Your senses can also help you move closer to God, as Psalm 34:8 describes: “Taste and see that LORD is good; blessed is the one who takes refuge in him.” Whenever you use your body’s senses, you may encounter something that inspires awe in your soul.
You simply can’t be bored in nature when you’re paying attention to the glory of your surrounding. Every part of creation displays something about the Creator’s wondrous qualities. Romans 1:19-20 urges people to learn more about God from the natural world: “For what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities – his eternal power and divine nature – have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.” When you’re outside in nature, you’re in an environment that God has specifically designed for your good. Everything you encounter in nature can reveal something awe-inspiring to break through your boredom and help you move closer to God. Whether you’re exploring woods, boating on a lake, or sniffing a rose, God will meet you there. Time in nature will enlarge your perspective beyond the mundane concerns of your life and rejuvenate your soul with wonder.
It can be thrilling to investigate mysteries that spark your curiosity – UFO sightings, crop circles, signs from loved ones in heaven, and more. If you’re feeling bored, make time to explore a mystery that has you wondering what’s actually going on. Ask the Holy Spirit to guide you in the process, counseling you about what’s truly genuine and holy. As you investigate with wise discernment, you may be surprised by what you learn. Exploring mysteries can show you important truths about God, who is the source of all wonder. Mysterious signs and wonders that God sends into your life can strengthen your faith. You don’t need to worry about figuring out exactly what those mysteries mean. Instead, you can receive them as the gifts they are and let them expand your perspective on who God is and what God can do. “There is a God in heaven who reveals mysteries,” Daniel 2:28 declares.
Worship with Wonder
Worship and wonder are powerfully connected. When you choose a lifestyle of worship – celebrating God’s constant presence around you day by day – you’ll come into contact with wonder on a regular basis. Being aware that God is with you is powerful. That awareness will eclipse all boredom in your life. In John 4:23, Jesus describes what God is looking for in people’s worship: “The true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth.” That means engaging your emotions in loving communication with God’s Spirit while focusing your thoughts on the truth about who God is. It’s impossible to be bored when you’re worshiping like that! The power of encountering God – the source of all wonder – in worship will transform boredom into joy.
You never need to feel bored. God has hidden everyday miracles in plain sight around you. As physicist Albert Einstein remarked, “There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.” When you intentionally look for wonder, you’ll find it – and the joy of experiencing wonder will make boredom fade away!
Photo Credit: ©GettyImages/torwai
Whitney Hopler is author of the Wake Up to Wonder book and the Wake Up to Wonder blog, which help people thrive through experiencing awe. She leads the communications work at George Mason University’s Center for the Advancement of Well-Being. Whitney has served as a writer, editor, and website developer for leading media organizations, including Crosswalk.com, The Salvation Army USA’s national publications, and Dotdash.com (where she produced a popular channel on angels and miracles). Connect with Whitney on Twitter and Facebook.