3 Steps to Overcome Laziness

June 15, 2017 |

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 until 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.

Are you 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 or the "sinful, procrastinating, anxiety-provoked and provoking,… Click To Tweet

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 minutes 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

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 every day.  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.

God can help us deal with even our most entrenched habits & our most anxiety-producing problems. Click To Tweet

Sister, I hope you haven’t been struggling for years that way that I was.  I hope you are at an “I probably shouldn’t watch so much Netflix” level instead of an “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.

Join the Conversation

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?  Join the conversation below 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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  • 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.

    • Helene says:

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

    • Maria says:

      I want to thank you for this blog. I am trying to move and I am paralyzed by my stuff and my laziness is even more intense than ever. Praying for the Holy Spirit to come over me and help me. I am sick of this cycle and I declare victory over being inherently lazy. In Jesus’ name.

  • Andrea says:

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

  • Sheila Qualls says:

    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. : )

    • Helene says:

      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.

  • Heather says:

    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.

  • 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.

    • Helene says:

      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!

  • 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!

  • Patricia says:

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

  • Alice Walters says:

    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!

  • Linda @ Home Cooking says:

    Thank you for sharing. You have a lovely blog.

  • Marsha Lynn says:

    Hello Helen and thank you for this place to seek help. I have progressively become lazier and lazier . I work a very stressful job 5 days a week. So when the weekend arrives , I don’t want to do anything . No house work, laundry, or go anywhere . It has affected my church life because I just find myself sleeping in late on sat. and sun mornings and could care less about going anywhere . I feel like a lazy sloth . I love God , I pray . But, I just don’t want to do anything . : ( . Thank you for listening .

  • Cydnee says:

    This is so encouraging! I have been really dealing with this lately! It’s effecting those around me!

  • Elaine Grant says:

    Procrastinating seems to tie in with laziness. I know sometimes I deliberately put off those things that are not enjoyable or are stress points. Moving from our comfort zone is hard sometimes especially when we delve into that comfort to hide from the difficulties of life. In the long run its a faith issue because we aren’t trusting in the one who can give us the strength and soundness of mind to be able to move forward and organize our lives.

  • Emily A. Sullivan says:

    I had saved this post on one of my pinterest boards to read later, and just came back to it today because I am at a near meltdown struggling over this. I too, did all of the same things you mentioned above when I was in school, and then college came and I was pretty much the exact same way you described yourself! Now I’m a new wife (married for 9 months) and I am so buried in shame over my lack of abilities to just do the simplest tasks. Literally everything feels exhausting, even taking the trash bag out of the garbage can when it’s full and replacing it. Even putting in a load of laundry. Even hanging up clothes when I’m done wearing them. Cooking and grocery shopping gives me severe anxiety (for A LOT of reasons, and i’m currently working through those specifically). I’m always completely wiped out and tired for no reason at all, even when I’ve gotten a decent amount of sleep, and I haven’t really had an overly busy work day. So things pile up and pile up, and my home is so cluttered that it causes extreme overwhelm, and even more exhaustion (vicious cycle). I tried to tackle it a couple of weeks ago but I couldn’t get started because of the shame and disappointment in myself and in the state I was allowing us to live in because I just can’t get my act together. My husband takes care of the bills and finances, which is so helpful (he knows how panicked I get over that too, so he handles that). So I feel like nothing should really be hindering me from doing what needs to be done around the house.
    I also know what it is to let down other people in my life. I had to “pass the torch” at my dance studio to another instructor who could handle it all better than I could. I love teaching choreography, but my productions fell apart quickly. I couldn’t keep all with all the behind the scenes and the business side of things. Nothing got done efficiently. There was a lot of miscommunication due to me forgetting a lot of things or neglecting to communicate…so the result was a lot of very upset and disappointed parents. The studio lost a lot of families this semester after an especially difficult Christmas production in December. I’m fine with stepping back from my director position…it’s actually a relief in so many ways and it was the right choice…but I am just so tired of letting people down. In pretty much every area of my life.
    Even as a singer working towards pursing a masters degree in music, I don’t practice nearly as much as I should, due to being tired (again, even for no reason at all), or simply not making it a priority and forgetting, so I often get to my rehearsals unprepared and feeling so embarrassed. I hate that my lack of discipline in every other area in my life spills over into the one thing I love to do most, singing.
    This post was super helpful, as hard as it was for me to recognize myself in it. I had never thought of this struggle as being a sin before. I guess I knew one of the “7 deadly sins” is sloth, but I hadn’t given it a second thought before. I know my work ethic is just awful, and my brain just can’t keep track of anything and is easily scattered…but I thought of it as being part of my personality and a flaw that I couldn’t fix. You’re right, sin is meant to be laid down at the cross, and I do believe that the Lord can take this mentality from me, and help me overcome it. I don’t have a lot of faith in my own abilities…I’ve been this way for far too long…but I know it’s not about my own abilities. It’s about the strength of the Holy Spirit and him working through me.
    Yikes! Sorry for the long response, ha! But I was so glad to find someone I could fully identify with, and to whom I could open up. I was convinced there was NO ONE in the world who struggled with this worse than me! And I have truly come to a low point with it.

    • Emily, I just wanted to let you know that I could totally relate to your comment. This has always been an issue for me. From not hanging up my clothes to dropping the ball professionally, I get you. I try to remember that God loves me and is gracious when I do fail, without letting that be an excuse for continuing in laziness. I may never find a balance, but I’ve learned that as long as I keep my focus on Jesus, the shame is less, and I’m more willing to press on.

      • Sdoo says:

        This resonated with me so much..I have reached a low point to and I would give anything to overcome laziness!

  • Jessica says:

    I am going through this now. We have just gotten out of summer vacation and it is hard for me to get out of this lazy slump. The hardest part for me is getting out of bed. I love being active, so I don’t like sitting on my bottom all day it’s just so hard to get up and get started lately.

  • I find I get lazy about marriage more than anything else. Crazy how that area gets shifted to autopilot. It’s just wrong and causes so many problems. So excited to apply these principles to help there.

  • Jessamy says:

    Even as a child I was lazy. I’m now a 31 year old mother of 5 kids and I am 60 pounds overweight and absolutely miserable all because I am just lazy. I want to over come this so bad, it’s absolutely the hardest thing I have ever tried to do. For too long I have let down my children, my husband, not kept up our home or bills. I can’t keep a job, blaming on it needing to care for my kids and home more but I don’t do it. I just get lazier. I put too much responsibility on my husband and he is so tired and overwhelmed. I’m going to start praying these verses right now and trying harder. Thank you for your honesty and encouragement

    • Oh Jessamy, I can relate all too well. And I know when we try harder on our own we just end up discouraged and end up hating ourselves more. But I am so thankful for the One who died so we could be forgiven, even when our own sinful habits are to blame. And with His help, we can rise above. Praying for you today.

  • A to-do list is definitely helpful in getting out of a lazy slump where you’re not motivated to get anything done.

  • Candia Marie Klug says:

    This was so needed today. Seeing your picture, I’m clearly older than you and I definitely fall into the category you didn’t want me to. Thank you for writing this. Thank you for walking el through the steps and giving me pointers.
    You’re Never to old to learn and there’s nothing God can’t help with.
    Thanks again

  • Mellisca says:

    I really really battle with a spirit of laziness and it’s costing me everything, I have no money, my business doesn’t work because I don’t. I’ve confessed and repented of this so much and I ask God for help to overcome it, but nothing changes no matter how much I ask, I’m so bound by this spirit of laziness, I actually irritate myself, I don’t think I’ve ever met another person who can sleep and do nothing as much as I can. Please please pray for me, I’m desperate for this to change:(

  • Ashley says:

    It’s so refreshing to know that I’m not the only one. This post could have easily been about me. I am currently unemployed due to my laziness and the anxiety that came because of it. I want to be better. But it’s really difficult because I was never given responsibilities as a child. I know that isn’t an excuse, but it’s hard to teach old dogs new tricks. I use the term “old” loosely. I am 30 years old. I will try to put these things into practice. It’s time to change. Thank you for your candidness and transparency. It makes me feel that maybe it’s not too late.

  • Dee says:

    Goodness! This is spiritual?????????????????????? I have been lazy since I was a child and now it is has spilled over into adulthood. The sad part now is that my 14 y/o is picking up those habits as well! I have been cleaning my home for the past 3 days, just so I will not be ashamed to call my landlord in to fix a problem that desperately needs his attention!

    Please pray!


    • Praying for you today, Dee. I’ve been there, too. I hated renting because I was always terrified we’d get kicked out because of my horrible housekeeping skills. Please know that you aren’t alone, and no matter what, you are loved by Jesus.

  • Bridget says:

    This was excellent and what my lazy Christian self needed! Thank you and God bless

  • Emma says:

    Hi Helen I’m going through something like this right now. It started out as depression and anxiety and I missed a lot of work due to that and then after I got better with my depression and some of my anxiety I was in a new habit of missing work. I miss work now just because. I’m currently two weeks of no work. I know this sounds crazy but I’ve almost created some type of fear in my mind about going to work. I’ve never been like this before in my jobs. I know I need to be there so I can pay my bills but it’s almost like the comfort of being home safe and cozy makes me stay at home. And God is blessing me by not allowing me to get fired yet. I just don’t know where to start overcoming this. I see a therapist and I take anxiety and depression medication but at this point I feel more lazy then sick. Like in the morning I lay in bed and think I could go to work today but I’m more comfortable here. And then as the day goes on I start to feel guilty and then I start to feel depressed because I knew I could have went in. I know this sounds ridiculous I just don’t know how to do break this habit it’s hard to push yourself. My family is kind of over it and they pushed as much as I can now it’s up to me.

    • Oh Emma. I just want you to know that you are not alone. I struggle with chronic migraines, and somedays I wonder if I’m not getting out of bed because my head hurts, or just because it’s easier to stay in bed. Satan would love to have a field day with our minds and have us beat ourselves up, but God loves us even when we fail. It is up to us, but Jesus is with us every step of the way.

  • Kayla Robbs says:

    This was a very great read! I am happy that i found this blog as I can very closely identify with almost everything that this was saying . I’ve been knew that I was lazy , my parents call me lazy messy and spoiled etc. I also have trouble staying on task when it comes to doing God’s work and find my self slacking and still on milk when I should have been on solid foods.I make excuses for myself and tonight while in bible study God revealed it to me . I will be sure to confess and repent as God helps me to get out of this lazy state that I am in . Thank you so much for this.

  • ash says:

    I ask God to help me stop being lazy all the time. I have been out of work for 5 months now. I thought I would have a cleaner house, and give more time to help elders in my family or just hang out with bros n sisters, neices/nephews. But I only just laze around all day. I make dinner for me and hubby and that feels like a huge accomplishment. I feel so guilty and I have been aware that its a sin for a long time. Yet, I cant get up n do anything!

    My mom NEVER cleaned and had me n sibs do the housework. It was like, oh I cant wait until I dont have to clean my house. And it is still in me. At age 38! Even after Navy boot camp (where I learned a lot about cleaning.) That stuck with me for a good few years, but Im now at a stand still again in a dusty, overwhelmed apartment. Paying the bills has always come easy for me. Im more of a numbers and paper person. But I cannot bring myself to put away my clean clothes, I very rarely dust. I have tables with just stupid little things on them (that I cant seem to trash), I have leftover chemo medicine from my mom in my car that has been there for 1.5 years, waiting for me to drop it off to a safe place. It took me 6 months to donate her walker that just sat in my back seat of my tiny car. I rinse my dishes alll the way after I use them just so I can re use them without having to do a load of dishes. Some days I even skip showering! And I dont have people over because I am embarrassed of my apt. And there is nothing keeping my time!

    Im thankful for your post and all you who have posted comments. It helps a little to know I am not alone in this battle I have had for years. Im not sure if it is going to help, but I ordered some natural motivation pills from Amazon. Im hoping they get me up n doing stuff. Like I said I have been praying alot about this. The Lord has gotten me through a huge problem of drinking. I am on day 36 with no booze. But He didnt kick my butt about it until I asked him to literally TAKE it from me (instead of just HELP me.) I dont know how He did it, but it feels amazing to not be under alcohol’s foot anymore. I know he will help me with laziness, I just feel I need to make a first step.
    I also plan to use your “tell hubby” idea to try and keep me in line.
    I am so thankful to Jesus that we are able to talk to eachother about this, even tho we are so far apart.
    Thanks again. Sorry long post.

  • Lisa says:

    Hi Heather,
    I am so glad that I found this post. I could really relate to what you wrote about laziness in your younger years and how it effected you as an adult. After reading the posts of the other women it does feel comforting to know that I am not alone in my struggles. Especially about this subject in particular. Sometimes women can be so prideful about their struggles with just being lazy. It’s more comforting to know that the Father is revealing these things to us as sin so that we can get it out of our lives and be healed. I also share similar experiences with some of the other ladies who have posted about their struggles professionally. My struggles have varied in degrees over the years. As a first time mother and wife I am learning that there really is no room for this weight; it must be laid aside. This has been harder to get a handle on especially in times of intense spiritual attack in other areas like health and relationships. I’ve also learned to adopt a steam-rolling momentum about the responsibilities in my life most aggressively when encountering experiences or people that I know to be emotionally draining. I’ve had to remember that we wrestle not against flesh and blood. When I was healing from an accident that resulted in a TBI, I got spiritually lazy. All of the struggles that I had with laziness as a child became exaggerated. It took some very scary wake up calls to shake me out of willfully continuing in my stubbornness and refusing to admit my sin. I hurt people and caused them to suffer, and loose things. It was because of this and having clogged spiritual ears that I became frequently shamed and openly rebuked. It is best to repent the minute the Holy Spirit reveals it to us rather than suffer humiliation. Our Father is full of grace and mercy but He is not mocked. We reap what we sow and He chastens who He loves. I was glad to see the scriptures from Proverbs that you included that so clearly illustrate the fruits of laziness. All praises to Our Father and thank you for allowing Him to work through you to write this post!

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