Welcome to Fearless Fridays where everyday people like you, share amazing stories of fearlessness! #fearlessfriday
The Fear of Boredom by Gillian McLean
So what drives me into living a life that is bold, adventurous, risk-taking? A life where the only constant is the changing kind of constant? Heroism? Dying wishes? Nope, it’s Boredom. One of my greatest fears is being boring and getting bored. Sure, I have other fears: falling off a cliff while hiking, getting caught in an avalanche while snowboarding, being attacked by a shark while swimming in the ocean, tripping awkwardly into a gorgeous man’s lap while trying to look cool (oh wait that one has happened!)..you know ordinary fears.* But my greatest fear, has been one of the main drivers in my life, and has sent me into a passion for experiencing as much of life as I possibly could. I have pursued experiences that lead me into learning and continually being active in all sorts of areas, because of the fear of being boring and doing nothing, and being, well you know, insignificant.
*just to be clear, I live a life where these are possibilities, but not really
I grew up seeing boring and bored, and I think that’s where this fear of boredom set in. I grew up in a small town in the Rocky Mountains of southeastern British Columbia, Canada. My parents weren’t athletic or outdoorsy which was odd because we lived in a place that people traveled to have adventure and exhilarating experiences in the spectacular mountain surroundings. I was also very creative and an artistic child, making it difficult to fit into a community where the arts were not strong. Growing up a creative kid in a small industrial town can be tough so when it came time to leave, there was no way I was going to be boring or bored ever again. I swore, as soon as I could, I would leave small town life behind me! Adios Boring, hello world!
Do I have to change now, God?
One day while living life in my mid-twenties, Jesus found his way into my picture and we have been a thing ever since, I’ve stumbled many times trying to look cool for him, but He just keeps pursuing me. Life has definitely not been boring with Jesus around, but it also hasn’t been easy. Not long after we started our life together, I started to see that my drive for not being boring wasn’t quite a fit with being a woman in the church. I feared that God had called me to a life of boredom because I was now surrounded by people that lived life differently than I had lived up to that point. They seemed so disciplined, and grounded, “stable” , and dare I say b… ?
I diligently started attending church and was encouraged to start participating in women’s ministry. I thought God was seriously calling me into a life of boredom because the majority of the church people I was around, were women who had interests that I had never done and never had a desire to do. I do not knit, sew, craft, bake, have any children or was married. I was outdoorsy, taught snowboarding, traveled solo, went to school, lived on my own, drove a truck, worked full-time, camped in ditches. I had little in common with most of the women I was being recommended to serve alongside with. It honestly felt like being in a small town all over again, but this time with Jesus.
I increasingly felt like I had to change who I was to fit into church life. I was growing tired of explaining why and who I was because I didn’t fit into the norm. Depression started to set in and I started to withdraw. I was active and loyal to the ministry, but it was actually draining me emotionally and causing me to withdraw socially. I felt boring and bored, and you know, insignificant. Was this really what God had called me to live? Why did it make me feel awful about myself?
I have nothing!
Then one year at Christmas, I was running late to meet some friends for a woman’s dessert night my church was hosting. I arrived at the table to find a couple of women I had never met before. One of the women was nursing a newborn baby and she was seated next to me. She introduced herself right away and went straight into telling about herself. She was a funny, lively stay at home mom of 5 young children that loved Starbucks and drove a huge SUV. Just as I went to introduce myself she quickly asked,”So how many kids do you have?” I was quite accustomed to getting asked this question, however, this time I was caught off guard and was unable to say the well rehearsed line of ‘oh I don’t have anything like that in my life right now’. Instead, I blurted out “ I HAVE NOTHING!” She was shocked, smiled awkwardly and turned to the woman next to her and didn’t speak to me for the rest of the night. Yup, I said it, no take backs, it was out there, and I quickly realized in that moment that I could no longer put on a good front. I felt horrible and went home asking God how to make this work when my heart wasn’t in it. I prayed for direction or for him to change everything I knew about myself, about Him, about church, about life.
During this meltdown season in my life, God soon began to lift off this box that I (and my fears) had put myself in, and God in, and other believers in. They weren’t boring, they were greatly significant for what God had called them to do, according to their abilities and gifts! That SUV sporting mom of 5 is a significant woman of God! That elderly speed knitter who prays for the Sunday School kids is far from boring! I was finally beginning to see, that this whole Jesus thing was no boring, and that was around the same season God let me hop out of the box completely!
God began to show me that the activities I love, and the things I have experienced, my passions were given to me by God, according to his purpose. It took immense courage for me to allow God to guide me into the next steps, steps of amazing adventure! This first step out of the box came a week after my boring blowup. I signed up to volunteer instruct with an adaptive snowboard program. I loved snowboarding and sharing the sport with others so I let God provide everything I needed and direct me to where he needed me to serve. I poured myself into this new adventure and it has led me into exciting directions in my life, I would have never thought of for myself!
Peeps, God is so not boring!
The difference in how I fearlessly approach God, than I did before is that I don’t resist and jump to agitated assumptions over the boxes he puts me in, I now just go with the flow, allowing God to guide me into adventure. I am not in charge of being interesting or boring, I’m only in charge of loving and following Him. We are all designed to fit into many different areas of life, right where He needs us to be. So if you’re like me, just remember that just because you feel like you don’t fit into the box you’re in, God has an adventurous plan for your life too!
Gillian is a self declared adventure seeker, and Jesus is her scout leader! She has traveled all over the world, including a homestay in Japan, a mission trip to Africa, hiking in New Zealand, serving in Women’s prison ministry, singing on the worship team, drinking cool teas, and finding MR Right. (all applicants must apply through Sarah E Ball – must snowboard, must love Jesus!)