Self-denial is incredibly hard when you're bored.
You can stop reading now. I'm done. The rest of this post is repetitive and trite. I put that part in a bold, underlined font so you could see the key takeaway and, well, take it away.
For those of you bored enough to keep going, here's the vignette from my memory that triggered this thought. I've always loved the Jeremy Brett Sherlock Holmes series from the 1980s and in A Scandal in Bohemia, Holmes describes why he uses drugs.
Recalling that scene, I realized that my recent ennui at work and laziness here at home has weakened my ability to practice self-denial. The solution, as Tony Alicea says, is big dreams and bold thoughts.
If you’re bored, you aren’t dreaming big enough. Or maybe you have dreamed big, but you’ve filled your time with so many other things that your dreams are forgotten. You become discouraged at the course your life has taken and you feel like those dreams are now just irresponsible.I highly recommend reading Tony's entire post. It's filled with good stuff. Elsewhere, Matt Maher talks about boredom and prison gossips.
Boredom is a dream killer. It is toxic to someone that wants to live a life of purpose and intentionality. It will lull you into believing that life is just about getting by.
(T)oday I watched an inmate go from one area to the next spreading gossip from another unit. Most of the idle words are just prison non-sense, but occasionally there is information that can really get somebody hurt. In an already hostile and vulnerable atmosphere, busy-bodies are the worst type of inmates and it is evident that their behavior is prompted by boredom and low self-esteem...Rick James discusses boredom and porn with an excellent summation.
Boredom leads to idleness which creates busy-bodies, who cause trouble and divide. All inmates alike still have a choice: the choice to take part in idle living or the choice to strive for ideal living. I believe that either direction starts with an idea. The idea or imagination to see yourself being productive and with purpose, which in return boosts one’s esteem. It is the major difference between “being idle bored” or having an “idea being born.”
Remember the old saying, “Idle hands are the devil’s workshop”? It came from a period of time when people recognized the sin of sloth and the spiritual liability of boredom. If we seek to stop the passive late night web surfing, we must cultivate new, creative, active habits to replace the old. Christianity is never simply the negation of a bad habit, but the concurrent cultivation of Spirit and virtue—nature abhors a vacuum.For me, boredom makes self-denial impossible. Why not flip on the TV or crack open another Newcastle or surf the web for political snarling or play another game of Age of Empires? It's not like I've got something better to do and besides, it won't take long. I can get back to my humdrum existence later.
Here’s the takeaway from all this: See sloth and passivity as a moral weakness. Begin to confess it, and make choices to break its hold on you. Cultivate creative alternatives. Choose action over inactivity and people over isolation. You are a new creature in Christ, so pursue and cooperate with God’s transformation of your character in the realm of boredom, laziness, and passivity.
It's the "humdrum" that kills you. Without self-denial, you can't accomplish anything of value. Boredom must be recognized as the enemy of life that it is. (If you don't fight it, you'll find yourself developing awful habits, like using parenthetical expressions in your prose.)