Laziness can become a habit. Habits either break us or make us and I am tired of mine breaking me. There is good news though! We don’t have to break habits, we just have to replace them. Let me try to explain what I mean.
So is it resting or laziness? How do you tell the difference?
Rest is intentional. Laziness is neglectful.
You see, there’s this trend in our society today of celebrating laziness. “Stay in bed till the afternoon! It’s okay, you’re tired.” “Don’t worry about the dishes, you’re kids are only small for so long.” But this creates a problem, especially for people like me who are “all or nothing” types. We can lean into the temptation to make this a habit. It’s okay every once and while to let yourself rest, but rest is not the same as being lazy. Rest is intentional. Laziness is neglectful. Honestly, I’m talking to myself here because I am the worst offender of all.
Laziness affects every aspect of our lives but it is rarely talked about in our churches. We don’t want to offend. We’re careful not to hurt anyone’s feelings. But the Proverbs are harsh and clear when speaking of laziness.
“Whoever is slothful will not roast his game, but the diligent man will get precious wealth”
“Go to the ant, o sluggard; consider her ways, and be wise. Without having any chief, officer or ruler, she prepares her bread in summer and gathers her food in harvest. How long will you lie there, O sluggard? When will you arise from your sleep? A little sleep a little slumber a little folding of the hands to rest, and poverty will come upon you like a robber, and want like an armed man.”
Laziness is selfish.
I read those words in Proverbs and they hurt me to my core, and convict me. God, being so gracious to me, showed me my sins and sent me friends to gently guide and lift me out of the sorrow that sin brings. I often find myself discontented. Worse I find myself critical of my husband and my kids. “Why aren’t you helping ME?!” How selfish my laziness makes me is almost unbelievable. But that’s how sin works, right? Sin that is kept in the dark produces more sin and more problems in our lives. We must shine a bright light on sin.
Prayerfully, I began to take a deep look at my daily life and my heart. When I did I began to see a common thread. Laziness or slothfulness. It was everywhere. Poisoning me. Keeping me from being the woman God meant for me to be. I see laziness in my parenting when I just can’t change that diaper right now. In my marriage when I’m too tired to give my husband a proper meal. In my business when projects never get done. Even in my friendships, when I say I will do something and never get around to it.
Most importantly of all, I see laziness in my spiritual life, when other things take priority. When I don’t make it out of bed and to church on Sunday even though I really feel okay, that’s laziness. When I forget to spend time with Him in His word every day because I’d rather just binge watch the latest show on Hulu; yep, you got it, lazy. Why is it so hard to just be productive every day? To do the things that I know are right? Well, I’ll tell ya why, I’m a sinner.
Bring your laziness into the light.
As Christians we are called to be God honoring in everything that we do. In Colossians 3:23 God says, “Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men.” So you see it plainly right there in God’s Word. When we choose to be lazy or choose to procrastinate for whatever reason, we are dishonoring God. That, sisters, is a big deal. It must be talked about and dealt with. We must bring our sin into the light and ask other believers to help us.
Now don’t get me wrong. There is great value in rest. God rested after creating the world. God commands us to rest on the sabbath day. It is GOOD to rest y’all. With my fibromyalgia and dysautonomia, doctors are always warning me to take it easy. The challenge here is to recognize when resting is no longer resting but slothfulness. Prayerfully consider where this line is for you if you also struggle with a chronic illness and be gracious to yourself. But be careful that your resting is intentional.
I think that’s the difference here. Resting is an intentional break that we use to recharge so that we can do MORE kingdom work. Whereas, laziness, or slothfulness is a neglectful selfish attitude that only serves self. We’ll get to the habits soon. First, though, let’s define our terms.
Defining our terms.
The Greek word for rest is Anapauo which means to to keep quiet, of calm and patient expectation.
So we see here that rest is in intentional. It’s the quieting of our spirits, that pause that brings an expectation of even more of God’s work. Rest is taking time away, intentionally, to encourage our bodies and our spirits to do more not less.
As far as Laziness goes. . . I spent a lot of time trying to find the Hebrew root word for lazy or sluggish and the most accurate one I can find, being wholly untrained in Greek and Hebrew, is atslah, which is defined as sluggishness or laziness. Which isn’t extremely helpful here, I don’t like to define words by using the same word in the definition, it doesn’t give a clear understanding. So then I went to the Merriam-Webster and got a synonym for laziness. Indolence; which suggests a love of ease and a dislike of movement or activity. So this is what I believe the Bible is talking about when it mentions laziness or sluggishness.
Examine your heart.
As with most things the Lord calls a sin it boils down to the heart attitude. Do we love working for the Lord or do we love sitting on the couch binge watching our favorite show? Do we strive to do our best or are we half-heartedly just doing good enough?
Now, when we talk about habits we usually hear a lot of language like “break habits” but that seldom works. Rather, we should seek to replace bad habits with good ones. God created us as creatures of habit. The Lord put the desire for routine and habits in our hearts and it’s pointless to fight against these God given traits. So let’s talk about how we “put off” the bad habits and “put on” the good ones.
Replace your habits instead of breaking them.
The Habit of Staying in Bed.
Fight this by setting an alarm, start with just 30 minutes earlier. Take small steps. Once you’re getting up 30 minutes earlier for a few days in a row, move it up another 30 minutes. Get up. Make your bed. Get dressed. Make some coffee. Eventually, you will be able to do it without even thinking about it. Will it be hard? Absolutely. Will God give you what you need to do it anyway? Absolutely.
The Habit of Procrastination.
Fight this by getting an accountability partner. Ask a trusted friend to help you and check on you. If I know Courtney is gonna text me later and ask me if I did the things, I will do the things. Ask God to help you hold to your word. God wants us to be a people who does what we say and says what we mean. He will answer you.
A word on low energy levels.
I do want to take a moment to talk to those of you that are just struggling with low energy. Something is going on in your body that needs to be addressed. Take a look at your diet. Go see your doctor. Try a few supplements. I understand that sometimes there really is nothing you can do and friend your body needs something different. Give yourself grace, but don’t neglect to seek help for your body.
This post is not meant to tell anyone that their being lazy, it’s not my place to judge your heart. But I do want to tell you what the Bible says. For the disciple of Jesus, the Bible is clear. There is no room for laziness. Hear my heart here, that though there is a command to be diligent in all we do, there is also the command to intentionally set aside a time of rest as well.
As always feel free to contact me. Text me. Call me. Open a chat. Whatever floats your boat.