Redefining Boredom Part 4 – Opportunity for Spiritual Growth

Boredom as Opportunity for Spiritual Growth

Redefining Boredom Part 4

Boredom = Time for spiritual development and relationship with Jesus

Boredom, the word and the typical feelings related to the word, is starting to become a word with positive associated feelings for me. Instead of the usually associated feeling of emptiness and needing something to do to fill the time, it’s become an opportunity for REST, CREATIVITY and RELATIONSHIP. There is one kind of relationship that we often neglect and that is the spiritual one; our relationship with Jesus.


Matthew 6:6 But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen.


Learning to spend time with God and to develop ourselves spiritually is a difficult task, even for adults. Scripture tells us to pray and to be alone with God in “your room” and I can’t help but think that when I go into my room to talk with my wife, I don’t bring along things to distract me. If I have my phone, or if she has hers, it kills the conversation entirely because one or the other of us isn’t fully engaged.


It’s the same thing with God, we won’t be fully engaged with Him if we have things distracting us. How many times have we walked away from prayer saying we couldn’t feel or sense God’s presence or direction, but if we were to actually think back we might find ourselves admitting that we brought things with us, even if they were distractions and thoughts (click here for a post on settling the thoughts of and in your mind). It’s a discipline that most in our culture are terribly inadequate at. The practice of quiet and putting our thoughts aside to be able to focus on God is undervalued and rare.


It doesn’t stop there though, what about when we read our bibles, do we just race through the chapter and forget everything we just read or do we absorb it and take the time to allow God to speak to us through the words on the page?


And then there is the reality that the Holy Spirit is the ultimate counsellor, OUR counsellor in fact. When we are having a hard time and need His comfort, or maybe we want to express gratitude and excitement, do we allow ourselves the quiet in our hearts and minds to find that comfort and consolation or even celebration in and with Him?


(Click here for the post about boredom allowing time to process emotions)


Our spiritual development and the condition of our soul’s growth is entirely dependent on our being able to practice silence, quiet and relationship with God through His son Jesus and comforted by and through His Holy Spirit.


Just like I can’t talk or sense my wife’s intention to comfort me if I have extremely loud music on when we are trying to talk, we need to settle the noise in our lives and minds to hear God.


That becomes even harder when we allow our kids to believe the concept that boredom is a curse, something to avoid and run from. If that is true, then moments where things slow down enough for us to give attention and focus to God feels even more awkward and the discipline of quiet time with Him isn’t just foreign, it feels wrong and out of place.


The next time our children comment on the space that they have that isn’t filled with busyness, point out the gift of time that God has given them. Suggest that it’s His invitation to them to be with Him and give them tangible examples like when you lie with them in bed (or whenever you give uninterrupted time to them) before tucking them in to listen, talk and engage in their lives. Often, when they’re in bed, they are able to give the most attention to you without there being any distractions. Children’s bedrooms should be peaceful and relaxing for them to get a good night’s sleep. Sleep is so important for children, so make sure that they’re comfortable in their bedroom. Also, as parents, it’s vital to keep an eye on the mattress. These need changing after about 8 years, so make sure to see if your child is comfortable. If they’re not, parents could always visit Sleepify to try and find them a more comfortable mattress.


There is no doubt that we need to teach our children this, but we can’t very well teach them something we don’t know how to do ourselves can we. Model the value and use of unscheduled time MUST happen. It’s time for us to consider whether we are running from boredom or embracing the opportunity.


1 Cor. 11:1


For more of my Redefining Boredom Series follow these links:

Part 1: Room for relationship

Part 2: Healing

Part 3: Creativity



Redefining Boredom Part 3 – Opportunity for Creativity

Boredom is an Opportunity for Creativity

Redefining Boredom Part 3

Boredom is Opportunity for Creativity – Redefining Boredom Part 3


For Part 1 click here

For Part 2 click here

For Part 4 click here


In my pursuit to change our response to the word “boredom” in our home, I continually find more benefits of unscheduled time, particularly in our children’s lives as they work toward maturity and independence.


This is the third part in a series outlining the opportunities that boredom creates for us and our children.


I heard a quote recently in a video found at featuring Simon Sinek that said, “Boredom makes room for creativity.” It was in relation to the epidemic of technology and social media on our culture.


There is truth to that statement, there is a kid’s movie that I watched called “Robots” and a primary quote/theme in the movie was this; “see a need, fill a need” and it has really increased the amount of needs I take the time to think about and notice, while simultaneously increased my creative problem solving. Instead of seeing the need and wondering who has a solution for it, I begin to think of what solutions I could come up with for the problem.


The issue that we run into with our children starts in the first part of that statement, “see a need.” If we are constantly filling our children’s minds and lives with things to distract them and keep then entertained, will they ever see a need in the first place?


Boredom first allows us the space to notice.


But it doesn’t stop there. Once they notice, what response are they going to have?


The most common scenario for people is that they will notice, but instantly look up the solution on Google instead of exploring options that they might have for themselves. When I was younger I had to wait until I got home and look up the answer in a dictionary or encyclopaedia, which trained my brain to remember and consider the level of importance I attributed to different things. Now I look things up immediately, and promptly forget that I even had the question in the first place.


We need to help our children realize that even if there is an answer to find online, it’s entirely possible that you might be able to come up with a better one. An even more novel concept would be to not need the Internet to survive at all!


Boredom helps our minds remember, exercise and be creative. Instead of relying on the expertise and knowledge of others, we become innovators and creators of solutions.


Space for thought, reflection and creativity for our children requires space – that space is often called boredom. When my children say they are bored I get excited, I ask them how they are doing and engage with them relationally while walking them through different feelings they may have or may need to sort through. Their complaints of boredom become initiation for me to “see a need, a fill a need” with them and teach them to be creative and process, to be innovators and problem solvers.


Redefining Boredom Part 2 – Time to Heal

Boredom = Time for Healing

Boredom in Our Kids’ Lives Is Actually Time to Heal

Our kids’ sadness can be unpleasant and hard for us

to deal with ourselves but its necessary.


I’ve written in the past about the value of boredom for our kids. When they talk about needing something to do or one of my kids even starts chanting “bored, bored, bored”, I tell them that I’m excited that they have time to pray, rest their minds and hearts and read their bible.


They don’t always respond positively right away, but they start off by realizing that we aren’t going to flinch when they claim boredom, and hopefully we have begun the process of shifting their thinking of boredom from a negative to opportunity. Here is another positive result of boredom. (I’ve written 4 total.)


Boredom = time to feel


I’m not sure if you have ever found yourself doing this but so often we avoid dealing with how we are feeling by distracting ourselves. We “self medicate” in any number of ways. Video games, ice cream, parties and other social settings, maybe even just turning on the TV. Escaping is safe, or we think it is, but it’s only temporary and can be quite harmful if we don’t ever really deal with our issues.


Our minds NEED the space to process, thinking and considering, and most importantly feeling the emotions and natural internal responses related to a situation are VITAL to our emotional health and well being. The last thing we need is to have kids that grow up avoiding their own emotions using whatever tool or source that they need to to avoid unpleasant feelings.


Feelings and emotions were given to us by God for a reason. Whether we are grieving or overjoyed with excitement, we need to allow ourselves to feel both the good and bad in order to learn what it means to be excited, deeply sad, and everything in between.


I think about all of the movies I’ve seen where someone is drowning their sorrows in a bucket of ice-cream or bag of chips. These scenes aren’t all bad, most of the time they are actually allowing themselves to feel real feelings in those moments. That is at least until they get out of the house and find a distraction of some kind, something to numb and ignore what is really being felt.


For us as parents, it’s important to walk our kids through the value and impact of feeling things. During this quiet time of “boredom”, we can prevent baggage from building up as resentment comes to the surface for us to face. If we don’t have the tools to sit quietly and process, we may even stifle our passion because any overt emotion feels wrong, or like we are out of control. This is NOT healthy emotional development and it’s our responsibility as parents to teach out children that those emotions are normal and even positive. In doing so, we also teach them how to regulate and stop emotional train wreck moments, describing for them when the appropriate time is to express some of those feelings – simply put, bottling them up is never a good thing.


May you and your children continue to embrace boredom and shift our thinking of it from dread to opportunity.

click here for part 3 of Redefining Boredom


Santa Clause: Child like faith at Christmas…

Santa Clause

Childlike Faith at Christmas

One of my favourite movies to watch at Christmas is “The Santa Clause 2”. I love it for a few reasons, the magic and mystery of the fantasy of Santa is one, it’s fun and entertaining and we can watch it as a family. But the biggest reason I like it is because of one scene in particular.


Spoiler alert!


The scene is where Santa is on a date with the school principal and they are heading to the school’s staff party. At this point Santa looks more like Tim Allen so no one knows who he actually is. They get to the party and it’s a disaster. Tim Allen feels bad and decides to use almost all of his magic on presents for everyone in the room.


Each present that he pulls out is specific to the adult recipient’s last Christmas wish as a child. Everyone gets the toy that they always wanted but never had when they were growing up.


Everyone is astounded at how on earth anyone could have known what they had always wanted, asking and wondering “who did this?!” but my favourite part is the absolute joy and excitement in the eyes of the adults as they become children again.


Their inner child is able to have fun, play and marvel at the amazing gift they received. I love when adults play; there is something special about putting aside our worries and enjoying ourselves, finding joy in something small and simple.


But more than anything I love seeing such an incredible image of “childlike faith” be born.


In the book of Matthew there is a story where Jesus instructs us to become like children. I think that these movies give me a glimpse of what that looks like for us.


And calling to him a child, he put him in the midst of them and said, “Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. Matt 18:2-4


Becoming like children in our faith means:

  1. That we believe, just like the adults in the movie have a spark and begin to believe in magic/Santa.
  2. We stop worrying about what others think when we believe. Kids tell others about their belief in magic and Santa all of the time. Our believe is even better because God is real and reveals himself to us in ways we can’t ignore.
  3. We put aside our worries and find joy in the arms of Jesus.


As much as there is the stark contrast between Santa being a myth and Jesus being a real tangible person and risen again God, the lessons we can learn as we contrast the similarities are real! Let’s find and be reminded of the childlike faith God has put into our hearts at this time of year.


When Someone Saves Your Life, You Throw Them a Party!

When Someone Save Your Life, You Throw Them a Party

A Christmas Reflection

This was a quote I heard recently in a Christmas production. The point of the production wasn’t related to this quote at all, but somehow it stood out and deeply impacted me.


Imagine for a moment that your family – whether that be wife or kids or parents etc… – are in danger. A known killer has broken into your home and is holding them at gunpoint while you aren’t there. Your neighbour happens to have seen them approach your house and comes over to check on them. He knocks to find the assailant and they end up in a standoff at the front door with your family standing behind him with looks of panic and fear on their faces, signalling him for help. Your neighbour has two choices, 1. run and get help or 2. lunge and disarm the assailant realizing he is risking his own life but also realizing that the result to your family will likely be deadly if he doesn’t.


He chooses the latter and lunges, getting shot in the leg but disarming the assailant and allowing your family to call the police. Your family is safe and they were saved by the heroic actions of an individual who put his own life on the line for them.


What is your response to your neighbour going to be?


You would likely try desperately to find a way to express your gratitude, with words, gifts, cards or offering your time and help with anything they might need. But maybe, you just might want to acknowledge what they have done for you to the world. Some might call the newspaper, others would bring everyone they know over to celebrate and have a party to acknowledge the sacrifice your neighbour made for you and the resulting safety of your family.


Essentially you would do just about anything for him, at least within your own resource pool and personal capabilities.


Apply this in any way that is applicable, imagine they saved your life, or maybe they died saving your life. The impact is deep and hard to describe, and paying them back is entirely impossible.


In the end, if someone saved your family’s life, wouldn’t it make sense to throw them a party?


Enter Christmas – so often we talk about Jesus coming to earth to die for our sins, but we forget that he didn’t just die for our sins, He in fact saved our lives! And He didn’t just disarm someone, He actually lost His life to save me!


Yes, lives in eternity after our mortal lives but ALSO our lives today, giving us purpose and direction, love without comparison and the strength and peace to live this life in a state of assurance and confidence.


If Jesus saved my life (and my family’s too for that matter), why wouldn’t I do for Jesus at least what I would for my neighbour?


I think I will do exactly that this Christmas: Hello world Jesus saved my life, he also saved the lives of my children and wife and I’m having a party to celebrate. It’s on December 25th, and you’re all invited!



P.S. Don’t forget to cherish your loved ones just like you would if you came home to find that they had come close to death but were saved. Every day is a gift from God, so hold them tight this season.

Rethinking “Family” This Christmas Season

Rethinking “Family” This Christmas Season



For most of us, when we think of Christmas, we think of family. When I was growing up I remember looking forward to the break, but even better was the opportunity to be with family. Sometimes we would drive to Toronto (from Windsor) to spend time with my cousins. This actually became even more prominent when I left for university and would come home for the holidays. Christmas has always meant being with people.


Maybe Christmas with your family doesn’t bring you a lot of joy, or maybe the holidays are your favorite time of year. Either way, family at Christmas, should be about more than just our siblings, parents and children.


There is no better opportunity to remember that we are a part of God’s family! We are chosen, loved and created by a perfect and loving Father, who demonstrated His love to us by taking on human form, as an innocent baby, who would give His life for us.


Somehow we forget and lose sight of this fact, our gift giving, decorating, events and even relationships in our lives end up taking all of our focus.


Just as a group of people with the same father call themselves siblings, so are we brothers and sisters with the same Heavenly Father.


Let that sink it for a moment.


This reality means that NONE of us are without family at Christmas time.


My challenge to you during this season is that you would take time to focus on your spiritual family. Recognizing first who your Heavenly Father is and how significant it is that he sent Jesus as the ultimate example of love, giving His son so He could have a relationship with you! Additionally my prayer is that your view of family would grow and that you would BE God’s family to others finding ways to love those who might be feeling like no one cares for them this Christmas.


Here are a few ideas that might help you do this in the coming season:


  1. Set an extra place setting for meals on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, symbolizing the idea of leaving room for Jesus. Perhaps acknowledge the seat before prayer and thank God for His sacrifice and gift for you. Framing your holidays in this way can help give you eyes to see the true meaning of the season and help you avoid getting lost in busyness.
  2. Consider adopting a family in your church that has nowhere else to go and invite them over to share Christmas dinner.
  3. Call your local University or Bible College to see if there are some “stranded” students you can invite over for a Christmas meal.
  4. Symbolically welcome a new baby into your home by singing Happy Birthday to Jesus, maybe have a decorative cradle to blow out, and have your family give baby Jesus gifts, explaining to each other what the significance of those gifts might be.
  5. Consider having some gifts for people you don’t know under the tree. Things like a donation to the local foodbank, or care package for the homeless person in the parking lot. Pray together as a family and ask God to lead your heart and mind to how and who to give those gifts to.


Get creative and consider ways to BE God’s family this season. I’d love to hear what ideas your family comes up with! Email me at


<a"" The Article was originally written for and published by the Fellowship Focus Magazine.