What does it mean when I’m bored?

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But wanting to justify himself, he asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbor? Luke 10:29 Berean Standard Bible

I confess! I felt bored during church this past Sunday.  Really? Sunday, the first day of a brand-new year? Isn’t that when most people feel the most energized by the hope of new possibilities, potential growth, plans and changes for the good?

I did confess multiple times during the service this sin of a cold heart, “Father, I’m ashamed of feeling this way. I don’t understand my ennui, this impatience with the service.  I’m definitely not worshipping. Forgive me!  Joyce often tells me how much she looks forward to and longs to be fed at church, how those hours with others in worship and in fellowshipping fill her with joy and energy. What’s wrong with me?”

Then two days later, boredom during my Spanish conversation hour shocked me. “What is going on?  Am I just bored with my life?”

Thankfully, God spoke to me through one of Graham’s podcasts.  Although his message centered on business advice, I immediately saw an application to my life. He spoke about how humility in one’s business is the key (and often the missing ingredient) to success.  Explaining that being humble is not thinking poorly of oneself but rather thinking less often about oneself, he counseled business owners to begin with considering how best to serve their customers.

Most entrepreneurs and companies produce products or offer services that support their personal or organizational goals. That isn’t ‘bad’ but Graham suggested first focusing on and analyzing the most pressing needs of clients. He seeks a way to serve his clients, providing what they lack.

I asked myself, “Is this what I’ve been missing in my weekly activities? Maybe entering each morning set on serving others would transform my day. Dallas Willard describes this intention as a ‘to-whom-will-I-be-a-neighbor’ kind of posture. I bet THAT would turn the ordinary into an adventure, since the Lord is in charge of bring ‘neighbors’ across my path!” 

In my day-to-day life a lot of what I do is serve people, since I am retired. I volunteer in various places and in different ways. But maybe, by being more intentional in how I approach the day or the occasion and by studying how best to serve the person in front of me, I will feel more energized and expectant.

A doable practice to implement, I realize, will be how Jamie Winship interacts with the people he encounters each day.  With each contact, he bypasses the formulaic, ‘How’s it going?’ and instead uses a generative (i.e., unique) question, tailored to the individual.  Just how does he personalize his words? He describes leading with a question based on an observation about the person. Maybe the name tag of the grocery store check-out gal provides a clue. Or perhaps the Uber driver’s tattoo could provide an entry point.

In other words, as a first step, I’m to really look at the person in front of me, ‘study them’ so to speak, to learn if there’s a way to serve or help them.

Returning to my experience at church last Sunday, I hope to bring a different heart into worship.  I plan on asking Jesus to help me enter into the community with an attitude that seeks to connect with my brothers and sisters.  Who among them needs some comfort, some encouragement or just a hug? Most importantly, may I worship the Lord, serving him with a glad, thankful AND whole heart.

Feed on this as we move closer to Easter

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Speak out to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, offering praise with voices [and instruments] and making melody with all your heart to the Lord.  Ephesians 5:19 (Amplified) 

Here is a mid-week suggestion for you to feed your soul with some good music.  Graham Cochrane from The Recording Revolution just released his first solo album in 10 years.  You can download the 5 songs at the link below.

The Tree Album Cover

 

 

 

 

 

The lyrics are a synthesis of his theological development in his 20s  and into his early 30s (the album was released on his birthday, 31 Mar 2014).  His melodies and accompanying instrumental harmonies do not overpower the vocals, so the words are easy to comprehend.

Since his senior capstone music project at James Madison University when he recorded his first original solo album in a campus studio, there have been 2 A Cappella Christmas albums  and 7 Aletheia Church albums.

My favorites are the 1st and 3rd songs.

Bon appétit!

Download music here

 

Graham with studio behind him

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