3 Steps to Overcome Laziness

| June 15, 2017

A Guest Post by Helene Smith

I’ve been lazy before.  Not the “I should probably get up and work but it’s been a busy day and I’m going to play board games with the kids instead” lazy.  The sinful, procrastinating, anxiety-provoked and provoking, let-down-your-friends-and-miss-deadlines lazy.

There! I said it out loud.

And it wasn’t a short-lived lazy either.

As a teenager, I plagued my mother with my stubborn unwillingness to clean my room till she gave up in despair.  I dumped papers in my backpack rather than stick them in the folder. Every time I opened the bag, I felt guilty.  Every time I felt guilty, I put off sorting them out. The night before they were due, I frantically tried to organize them into something I could turn in. I cost myself not only time and worry but a good grade. I’d like to say I only did this once, but that would be a big fat lie.

In college although I did not procrastinate on my school work (much), the chores needed to keep our dorm room functioning were a source of much stress. I managed to find time to study, sleep, play, read, eat, and spend wonderful endless hours swinging on those double swings out on the front-lawn with my soon-to-be husband. But getting my room tidy less than 5 minute before room inspection was impossible.  And I always managed to excuse myself.  In fact, excusing myself became the hallmark of my laziness.

“I’m too tired.”

“My head hurts.”

“I’ve got to do something more important!”

“I’ve got time tomorrow.”

“I’m just scatterbrained.”

These excuses were particularly seductive because in large part they were true at that moment.  It was only in combination that they were starting to ruin my life.

As I became a young wife, mom, and employee, things didn’t get better.  I could tell you all kinds of sad and embarrassing stories (some of which I still literally have nightmares about), but the guilt and shame I suffered a teenager continues to make it hard to tell  the truth about how bad things got.

3 Steps To Overcoming Laziness

Sister, if you are in a similar situation, if just reading this is making you anxiously look around your home at the laundry that has sat there for three days, I want to give you hope.  In no way can I pretend that this isn’t still a temptation for me, but these days I am not lazy the way I was before.  Let me tell you how.

1.) Confess and Repent

I accepted that my laziness was not my circumstances, my personality, or something I could fix on my own. It was a sin.  And sins need to be laid down at the foot of the cross.  They need to be repented of and confessed. The Bible not only made my sin obvious, it made the consequences clear too.

Laziness was hurting my relationships. Work brings deadlines, which I missed, paperwork which I put off, and coworkers who had trouble counting on me. “Like vinegar to the teeth and smoke to the eyes/So is the lazy one to those who send him” Proverbs 10:26 (NASB).

Laziness was destructive. Ever left clothes too long in the washer and they molded? I have.Whoever is slack in his work is a brother to him who destroys” (Proverbs 18:9 ESV).

Laziness was hard on my cash flow. Mail used to stack up on my desk. I couldn’t bring myself to open it, so bills were late.

“A little sleep, a little slumber,
A little folding of the hands to rest,
Then your poverty will come as a robber
And your want like an armed man.”
Proverbs 24:33-34 (NASB)

2.) Ask for God’s Help to Overcome

I needed the Holy Spirit’s help.  Galatians 5:22-23 promises us that when the Spirit is at work in our lives, He will produce self-control in us.  I cling to this promise like a life-raft; even when I have no faith in myself I stand on God’s promises.  I know that the Spirit indwells every baptized believer (Acts 2:38). The Helper came to work with us and in us to overcome temptation!

3.) Walk Out Your Faith

I try to help myself.  In every kind of sin there are simple actions that we can take to reduce our temptation.  For me, I need a to-do list everyday.  I try to immediately update my calendar with reminders so that I don’t miss things.  It also helps if I keep to a schedule.  I set my alarm, and by 8:00 a.m. I am working steadily through my list.  I  save activities that are more enjoyable/absorbing for last.  And I am accountable.  When the anxiety starts to grow and I begin to put a task off, I’ll say to my husband, “Babe, ask me at the end of the day if I did…” I don’t need him to chastise me, just knowing that he’ll ask helps me get it done.

Sister, I hope you haven’t been struggling for years that way that I was.  I hope you are at a “I probably shouldn’t watch so much Netflix” level instead of a “I probably should pay the bills before I get another late fee” level.  But regardless I want you to have hope!  God can help us deal with even our most entrenched habits, our most anxiety-producing problems.  He is ready to work in you to banish laziness from your life.

Do you have a story to share about the consequences of your laziness?  This is a safe place to do so.  Do you have tips or verses to share that have helped you as you’ve struggled?  Share so we can encourage one another!

Helene Smith

Helene lives with her husband and daughters in the Wyoming high desert. She has told God’s story through blogging at http://maidservantsofchrist.blogspot.com, leading community and church bible classes, moving abroad then back again, and teaching students two to ninety-two.

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  • Reply Heather Hart June 17, 2017 at 10:36 pm

    Helene, I can so relate to this. I have been there. There needs to be a balance between grace and rest and hard work. It’s not always easy to find, but it’s worth trusting in Jesus for.
    Heather Hart recently posted…Summer Schedules & JesusMy Profile

    • Reply Helene June 19, 2017 at 5:09 pm

      Heather, finding that balance can hard especially because I strayed hard in one direction! I try and to think carefully about needs over excuses!

  • Reply Andrea June 19, 2017 at 11:40 am

    Oh I can definitely relate to that – one of the things I’m dealing with

  • Reply Sheila Qualls June 19, 2017 at 12:05 pm

    I’ve been there, too. I never think of things like laziness or overeating as sin. But, they are. It plagues me in certain areas of my life. I have a few things I need to get done right now but keep putting off. Is procrastination is a form of laziness? Sure feels like it. Now, after reading this, I have to act. Some people will be thanking you. : )
    Sheila Qualls recently posted…How to Write a Heartfelt Father’s Day Letter He’ll Never ForgetMy Profile

    • Reply Helene June 19, 2017 at 5:11 pm

      The first time I was brave enough to ask God to shine in my dark places and show me my sin, I saw my laziness. Until then I had 1 million excuses.
      Helene recently posted…The “Why” Matters!My Profile

  • Reply Heather June 19, 2017 at 8:24 pm

    I am going to use the advice on asking my husband to hold me accountable for certain things, it will definitely help me to get things done I tend to make excuses for. I naturally cannot function if I am not keeping myself busy and checking off lists lol, but I do have things that I will make excuses to put off.

    • Reply Helene June 26, 2017 at 8:34 am

      Heather, I hope it helps you as much as it helps me! It is harder to excuse myself if I have to do it aloud!
      Helene recently posted…Identity MattersMy Profile

  • Reply Jennifer DeFrates/Heaven Not Harvard June 19, 2017 at 11:57 pm

    I definitely prefer deep thought to hard physical work, and I try to pray and make sure that I don’t let being still turn into being lazy.
    Jennifer DeFrates/Heaven Not Harvard recently posted…Beating Body Image Issues: Compared to Who?My Profile

    • Reply Helene June 26, 2017 at 8:36 am

      Now that’s a lovely thought. There’s a deep difference in being still and being lazy! Being still before the Lord is a place of quietness and rest and I have often found my laziness a restless refusal-really not restful at all!
      Helene recently posted…Identity MattersMy Profile

  • Reply SHEILA RHODES June 20, 2017 at 12:59 pm

    I don’t care who you are we all have something we have to overcome at some point in our lives. Trust me I am still overcoming some things, but I do know this when I have been honest like you have and asking for accountability it makes a huge difference. Right now my issue is taking time for myself . My husband has required extra care after his surgery and we found out the healing process is going to be slow due to some complications. As his sole caregiver I need to take time so I don’t get angry or resent my role as his wife with all the added responsibilities. God will see us both through! That is the Good News!
    SHEILA RHODES recently posted…A Love Letter to My Dad on Father’s DayMy Profile

    • Reply Helene June 26, 2017 at 8:37 am

      May God in His grace give your husband healing and you growth in this time of care!
      Helene recently posted…Identity MattersMy Profile

  • Reply Patricia June 22, 2017 at 2:47 pm

    Great post with practical easy to implement solutions! Thank you so very much for sharing!

  • Reply Alice Walters June 26, 2017 at 11:29 am

    Helene, wow, what honesty! Two personal cautions about laziness: being critical instead of helpful to someone who seems to be lazy, and falsely perceiving laziness in ourselves or others. Love your tips, lists and frequently assessing priorities can make a differences. Thanks for sharing!

  • Reply Linda @ Home Cooking June 28, 2017 at 6:15 am

    Thank you for sharing. You have a lovely blog.

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