Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Wrestling with Boredom

With three children ages 3 and under, people comment to me all the time "Oh, you must be so busy." My "pat" answer usually goes along the lines of "Oh, I guess, busy in a slow kind of way." While my kiddies do keep me busy in the sense that I am constantly pulling them out of trouble (i.e. toilets), cleaning up messes and wiping up runny noses, we don't get out much. As they grow up and increasingly play better on their own I am finding myself with more and more downtime. Sometimes I feel bored.

I just read a quote on boredom I would like to share with you by Dr. Harold Dodds (I found it in the book Stop Pretending by Luis Palau.)

"It is not the fast tempo of modern life that kills, but the boredom, a lack of strong interest, and failure to grow that destroy. It is feeling that nothing is worthwhile that makes men ill and unhappy."

After that quote Palau references the verse John 10:10 "I have come that they may have life and have it to the full." As Christians we were not meant to be bored. In other words, God is not the author of boredom, although he can use it.

I am learning that when I find boredom creeping into my life, when nothing feels worthwhile, something is wrong. Usually it means that I am neglecting my primary calling in life, my God. When our relationship is not where it should be and I am "failing to grow", my motivation can slide and life loses its joy. Sometimes it means that I am neglecting my primary task in life, my family. When I try to follow my own agenda and "put off" my children I loose patience and again life loses its joy.

And sometimes, it means developing an interest so that when I have downtime and my kids are playing on their own I have something to do. (Something besides the never-ending housework and laundry that is!)

I want to live out John 10:10 and live life to the full! And in that kind of life, there is no room for boredom.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Life in a Disaster Area

My kitchen feels out-of-control tonight. The counter is cluttered by an empty pizza box, plastic wrap from a dry cleaned coat, an Operation Christmas Child shoebox, a warm 2-liter bottle of Squirt, papers, dishes and a myriad of other odds and ends. The sink is filled with highchair trays (still holding this morning's uneaten waffles), plates, cups, spoons, and forks (dishes, dishes, dishes galore!). Let me say it again, my kitchen is out-of-control.

In fact, let's not just limit ourselves to the kitchen, my entire house feels like one huge cluttered home - random toys in every room. As far as the eye can see, things that are not put away. "Go to your home" I yell, but nothing listens. My daughter looks at me and wonders who in the world her mom is talking to.

Life feels unsettled when my home is like this, especially the kitchen. When my kitchen is out-of-control, my life sometimes feels out-of-control. If that one room in the house (a control-center of sorts) is cleaned and every other room in the house is a disaster area, life still seems somehow manageable. But if the kitchen blows up - look out, Momma could go at anytime!

I remember growing up the best gift we could give my mom was a clean kitchen - I'm starting to understand. I would love it if my three-year old suddenly learned how to clean the kitchen and would periodically surprise me. What a glorious day that will be!

I suppose I should probably get up from this computer, walk in to that disaster area of a kitchen and get to work putting things (my life included?) back in order...

Yeah right, distraction sounds much better!

"Kory I'm coming - start the movie!"

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Favorite Quotes

"It is since Christians have largely ceased to think of the other world that they have become so ineffective in this. Aim at Heaven and you will get earth "thrown in": aim at earth and you will get neither."

"Most of us find it very difficult to want "Heaven" at all--One reason is that when the real want for Heaven is present in us, we do not recognise it. Most people, if they had really learned to look into their own hearts, would know that they do want, and want acutely, something that cannot be had in this world. There are all sorts of things in this world that offer to give it to you, but they never quite keep their promises. The longings which arise in us when we first fall in love, or first think of some foreign country, or first take up some subject that excites us, are longings which no marriage, no travel, no learning, can really satisfy."

"If I find in myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world. If none of my earthly pleasures satisfy it, that does not prove that the universe is a fraud. Probably earthly pleasures were never meant to satisfy it, but only to arouse it, to suggest the real thing. If that is so, I must take care, on the one hand, never to despise, or be unthankful for, these earthly blessings, and on the other, never mistake them for the something else of which they are only a kind of copy, or echo, or mirage. I must keep alive in myself the desire for my true country, which I shall not find till after death; I must never let it get snowed under or turned aside; I must make it the main object of life to press on to that other country and to help others to do the same."

Quotes from the Chapter "Hope" in Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis

I think in my own life I most recognize the "real want for Heaven" when I hear beautiful music. Sometimes music will awaken in me a desire, or longing that I know cannot be fulfilled on earth. It gives me the desire to make beautiful music myself to awake in others the longing for something more.

I will probably never be a musician. Sometimes I think I would like to be a writer, but I struggle with my motivation. Do I want to be a writer to win the accalades and praise of men? If that is the reason, then I pray I will never have success. Lately the thought has come to me that maybe by writing I could awaken in others a desire or longing for Heaven. I cannot do this through music, I don't have the talent, but maybe I could use words to point others to Jesus.

At this point I must make a disclaimer: As romantic as that last paragraph sounds (at least to me), I may not have the talent to be a writer either! In that case, I hope the talents I have been given can be used to point others to Christ in some small way. I may never awaken in another the longing for Heaven, but maybe I can at least help them discover those longings hidden in their own heart.