Use a positive approach when you're trying to beat boredom

When singles try to beat boredom, we can make the situation worse if we're not careful.

One of the greatest challenges in the single life is to stay positive and upbeat when things don't go our way. Boredom is a negative emotion because it tempts us to do things that might be bad for us. Beat boredom the right way--constructively. With all the different activities available today, you'd think boredom would be a thing of the past, but that's not the case. Only a few minutes into some pastime, we quickly lose interest because it isn't fulfilling some need. So we keep jumping from one thing to another, trying to find an activity that will stimulate us and bring pleasure.

Different isn't necessarily good

Entertainment producers know which buttons to push in human beings to get our attention. Too often, they strike at our baser desires or make promises that don't deliver.

Trying something different is a common way to try to beat boredom. This tactic can be positive when it comes to new recipes, new authors, or new experiences--like going to a museum or park we've never been to before.

But different can be bad when it involves activities we know are harmful--like visiting web sites that violate God's standards of decency, abusing alcohol, using illegal drugs or buying lots of stuff and racking up debt. These temptations are especially common among singles because in the privacy of our home or apartment, no one is watching us.

Except God. Oops.

Digging deeper

When we're trying to beat boredom, we seldom ask a crucial question: "Why am I bored?" And if we do ask that, we seldom give it more than 30 seconds of thought.

If we dig deeper, we may discover that it doesn't have anything to do with sameness or routine at all. The cause may lie deeper, in a numbing discouragement or just being sick and tired of how your life is going.

Boredom is a signal that something is lacking, and often that lack is a sense of purpose in your life. You may be schlepping along, going to work or college, in a semi-comfortable routine, but with little thought to your future or God's plan for you.

We singles have a tendency to not want to rock the boat. Often we'd rather endure a dull, unrewarding existence than try to figure out what's causing distress and start working to change it.

Is boredom a message from God?

If you experience frequent and strong boredom, that unease might be God's gentle prodding to turn you in a new direction.

When all of our old ways to beat boredom don't work, it's clear that something more important is going on. Some people call this "mid-life crisis," but it can happen at any age. It's an itchy feeling that something's wrong.

Fortunately, God is eager to show us what it is. Our part requires receptivity to his leading. In this situation, as in all others, the Holy Spirit acts as our guide and counselor.

New thinking, new doing, or new believing?

To beat boredom that is strong and deep, we need to question how closely we're following Jesus. Maybe we need to recommit to letting God conform us to his Son's character. We might need to open our eyes to the many blessings God has given us, renewing our sense of gratitude.

We need to remind ourselves that Christianity is an adventure if we throw ourselves into it full heartedly. And it's just possible that we do need to engage in some new activities, especially those that help other people. Sometimes, to beat boredom, we just need to remember how much Jesus loves us. Life takes on a new glow when we allow ourselves to bask in the warmth of our Savior's love. It's a welcome time-out that gives us strenth to start afresh.

Boredom enters everyone's life at times, but if we ask God to help us turn it into something positive, it doesn't have to stay.

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