Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Bored? Restless? (A Book Review: Boring by Michael Kelley)

Boring: Finding an Extraordinary God in an Ordinary LifeBoring: Finding an Extraordinary God in an Ordinary Life by Michael Kelley
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

There are wonders all around me, and yet I find myself bored, restless. Why is this? Is it simply the hardness of my heart? Can I blame the extra caffeine for my apparent inability to sit with a child, to do a puzzle, to watch the light of learning dance in his eyes? Why, sometimes, do I find myself unable to rejoice in this small thing?

Some days I can write beautifully about motherhood because I can see the beauty in it; in the children God has made, in my hands, being His hands, used to care for them. We make up pretend names, we smile, we pretend and play until the day ends and we are tired but happy.

And yet some days, my soul seems to have grown old. Old and boring. Old and bored. As if the miracle of the soul happening in front of me-- the little boy, sharing cheerfully with the other little boy-- is something I’ve seen a hundred times, something not worth celebrating, something as boring as one little blade of grass in my front yard.

It was on a day like this that I received Michael Kelly’s book. It was good medicine for my soul.

In it, he argues, “We find ourselves bored in life not because of the absence of the extraordinary but because of our paralyzing lack of vision.” (40)

Michael Kelley addresses his newest book to the average person, the one who feels ordinary, small, and perhaps, bored. He implores us to open our eyes, to see God working in and through our lives, in the major life events, in the kitchen, and in the morning commute. His book helps pry those eyes open.

My favorite part of this book is the concept of “chasing donkeys.” The author retells the story of Saul, and points out how God was in control, leading Saul right into His plan, even in the midst of the most mundane even frustrating daily chores, like chasing donkeys. If God works all things for our good (ie, to make us more like Jesus and draw us closer to Him), does this not include the broken dishwasher in my kitchen? The toddler who needs extra attention?

It does, and Kelley encourages me to see my daily chores with God’s ends in view. Marriage, children, finances; all of these can be seen in a new light, and in general, I thought the author’s insights into these specific areas were helpful. His chapter on church, however, I found lacking. Community and service are important elements of church life, but I wish he would have spoken of those without neglecting the most important reason for church: our need for spiritual nourishment, and reception from God through His Word and Sacraments.

After reading this book, I find myself more content with my station in life, and filled with wonder at the work of God around me and in me.

Some are called to a radical life, to be a bright star streaking through the sky. Most of us, however, are simply called to shine in our own little corners, living daily acts of faithfulness, loving God, loving neighbor, giving off a slow, steady, dependable light. And as we do this, we are the hands and feet of an extraordinary God who provides for His people.

I recommend this book to the bored, the restless, and those who long for meaning in the mundane.

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

View all my reviews

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