I recently read an interesting article called, “Want To Be More Creative? Get Bored.”
The author talked about the value of being bored, of having time to let your mind process problems, time to “do” nothing and just let your brain work.
He said, “I’m not referring to killing time on your smartphone, your iPad, or your laptop. I’m not even talking about paging through a book. I mean bored as in doing absolutely nothing.”
His “bored” time is his daily swim.
“As I power up and down the lanes, I rethink what I've learned. I now have the time and space to solve whatever problems have arisen. It’s an important meeting with myself, and I keep it religiously. Because the day I lose it, I've lost myself.”
I’ve noticed this same phenomenon, but rather than “bored” I’d call it “quiet.” I can remember times when quiet produced some great ideas—things to write about, ways to solve a relationship problem, or even a new way to handle the clutter at my house. These quiet moments usually come in the middle of the night. And I don’t lie awake at night very often. Sleeping is one thing I do very well.
My world is rarely quiet. And I’m entirely to blame. I turn on the TV when I’m getting ready for work. I play the radio in the car. I turn on music when I’m cooking. Why is that? What am I so afraid of?
The only time I listen to the quiet is when I take a walk. I don’t have an mp3 player to take music with me wherever I go. But I dislike quiet so much that I sometimes take a book along and read while I walk. It’s a skill I’ve mastered over the years because I don’t like the “do nothing” feeling I get when I’m walking. I also dislike waiting without something to do. Maybe I need counseling.
God understands the need for quiet. Psalm 46:10 says, “Be still and know that I am God.” (King James Version). Look how it’s worded in other versions of the Bible:
“Cease striving and know that I am God” (New American Standard).
“Let be and be still, and know (recognize and understand) that I am God” (Amplified).
“Step out of the traffic! Take a long, loving look at me, your High God.” (The Message).
So now what? Do I promise to create some quiet, “boring” space in my life? I don’t want to make promises I can’t keep. But I tell ya what: I’ll try. But keep it quiet.
[A Google search for “quiet place” surfaced this clever exercise: http://thequietplaceproject.com/thequietplace I don’t know anything about the source, so please don’t consider this an endorsement of anything weird.]