After discussing it with my ever-lovin' husband, I realized that what I meant when I told God I was bored with him was that I was actually bored with the ways of knowing him that I have experienced thus far. 25 years of life in the evangelical world has filled my brain with tons of repeated words and ceremony. I'm bored with praise choruses. I'm bored with organ music. I'm bored with guitars and mediocre worship leaders. I'm bored with sermons, and psalms and phrases like "Blessed be the name of the Lord," and "God, we come before you today," and "Lord, we just want to praise you." I'm sick of the word praise. I'm tired of singing. I'm bored with quiet time. I'm tired of prayers that only seem like my own voice shuttling out into the void with no particular answer. All of it, the trappings, the language, the expectations, the experiences. Not that I'm planning to leave the church or something. I just wanted God to know that the sameness of it all is getting to me.
But I'm not bored with God himself. When I think of who God is and what it will be like some day to stand in his presence, I know I will be overcome. Boredom will not be a problem.
Sometimes when I think about Jesus in particular, I just see that famous painting of him with shoulder length blonde hair and blue eyes, and I see his mouth moving with some Monty-Pythonesque chin as he preaches. I pondered this image, and I wondered why it was there or what was causing my boredom overall. Part of it, I believe, is because I am not engaged actively right now in an activity that contributes to the kingdom. But a recent read with C. S. Lewis also revealed perhaps another problem--perhaps I was falling prey to images. Although it's a long quote, I'd like to post Lewis's thoughts here because what he said broke through to me and is helping me figure out how to pray about my little ennui period. So here goes, with short exposition to follow.
From C. S. Lewis's A Grief Observed:
It doesn't matter that all the photographs of H. are bad.It doesn't matter—not much—if my memory of her is imperfect. Images, whether on paper or in the mind, are not important for themselves. Merely links. Take a parallel from infinitely higher sphere. Tomorrow morning a priest will give me a little round, thin, cold, tasteless wafer. Is it a disadvantage—is it not in some ways an advantage—that it can't pretend the least resemblance to that with which it unites me?
I need Christ, not something that resembles Him. I want H., not something that is like her. A really good photograph might become in the end a snare, a horror, and an obstacle.
Images, I suppose, have their use or they would not have been so popular. (It makes little difference whether they are pictures and statues outside the mind or imaginative constructions within it.) To me, however, their danger is more obvious. Images of the Holy easily become holy images—sacrosanct. My idea of God is not a divine idea. It has to be shattered time after time. He shatters it Himself. He is the great iconoclast. Could we not almost say that this shattering is one of the marks of his presence? The Incarnation is the supreme example; it leaves all previous ideas of the Messiah in ruins. And most are 'offended' by the iconoclasm; and blessed are those who are not. But the same thing happens in our private prayers.
All reality is iconoclastic. The earthly beloved even in this life, incessantly triumphs over your mere idea of her. And you want her to; you want her with all her resistances, all her faults, all her unexpectedness. That is, in her foursquare and independent reality. And this, not any image or memory, is what we are to love still, after she is dead.
Ah ha! I had recognized my problem. I wasn't bored with God in reality. I was bored with God in the abstract. I was bored with my idea of him, and with my experience with him, often dictated by my image of him. Amazing. Revolutionary. I was bored with the part of church life that I was seeing, but not with the reality of the church in the world. Maybe i was bored with my own self-constructed images of God and his work in the world, forgetting that the reality of God and his amazing narrative of redemption has all the twists and turns and interest one could want--so much so that I can't begin to wrap my tiny little bored brain around it.
But how do I break through the icons to the reality? I don't think I can do it myself. I think God himself has to break through and triumph over my ideas of him.
That night as I lay in bed, the same old image of Christ with the blonde hair and the blue eyes and the Monty-Python mouth appeared in my mind. And suddenly, from behind, the image began to rip open. Something was alive behind it, pushing through with such power and light that I couldn't even see what it was. And then I fell asleep.