Overcoming Laziness & Idleness

idleBecause I have two boys involved in different sports plus school activities plus church activities along with a husband who travels frequently for work, our weeks are very full at times. After an especially busy week, my oldest son said, “I want to be lazy tomorrow and watch TV all day.” This began a conversation about the importance of rest and why a habit of laziness needs avoided.

We all need regular rest, even more so after particularly busy times, but we all also need to avoid establishing the habits that lead to a lazy mindset. In order to live productive and significant lives, understanding how to overcome and prevent laziness and idleness is important.

Habits Leading to Laziness and Idleness

Pockets of laziness and idleness exist in everyone’s life. Through our choices, they either become dangerous  with far-reaching impact or opportunities for growth.

The path to a lazy and idle lifestyle almost always includes the following bad habits:

  1. All talk with no action. (Acts 17:21)
  2. No progress. (Proverbs 26:14)
  3. Making excuses. (Proverbs 22:13)
  4. Failing to plan ahead. (Proverbs 6:6-9)
  5. Caving to culture. (Proverbs 26:15)
  6. Instant gratification. (Proverbs 26:15)
  7. Lack of purpose. (Ecclesiastes 4:5-6)
  8. Being enabled. (1 Timothy 5:13)

While we must first identify any pockets of these bad habits in our own lives, we are not exempt from identifying them in the lives of others. In fact, 1 Thessalonians 5:14 tells us to warn the lazy of the dangers of that lifestyle. Before we can do that, we must understand why rooting it out is essential as well as be actively  overcoming it in our own lives.

Why This Lifestyle Needs Overcomelazy

The most important reason to fight against a lazy and idle mindsets involves obedience. Consider the following:

  1. God expects fruitfulness. (Ephesians 2:10) Laziness and idleness mindsets oppose fruitfulness.
  2. Got gives us new natures. (2 Corinthians 5:17) We’re no longer bound by the desires of the flesh.

Knowing God expects fruitfulness and that He also equips us for it, we must step into obedience of His will and overcome any lazy and idle ways in our lives.

Overcoming Laziness & Idleness

Overcoming for some means a complete lifestyle and mindset change. Perhaps you have pockets of laziness and idleness in your thinking, and you want to grow out of them. Regardless of the status of laziness and idleness in your life, the approach to overcoming is the same

The following mindsets can renew your mind and create a lifestyle of productivity and purpose.

  1. Stay enthusiastic. (Romans 12:11) Fill time with enjoyable activities and encouraging people, and stay connected to your purpose. Enthusiasm will ebb and flow, and these things help prevent losing focus.
  2. Love others. (Hebrews 6:11-12) Truly loving others keeps life exciting and prevents dullness and indifference. Loving people gets focus off self and on love. Loving others amplifies purpose.
  3. Develop an awareness of time. (Proverbs 20:4) Those with lazy and idle mindsets lack awareness of time’s preciousness. Overcoming idleness and laziness requires valuing time.
  4. Enjoy sleep’s benefits instead of sleep itself. (Proverbs 20:13; 19:15) Enjoy sleep for it results – energy, alertness, restoration. Consider that a love of sleep is simply a way to avoid responsibility and awareness.
  5. Be productive. (Matthew 25:26-30) Just like laziness and idleness are learned habits, so too is productivity. And remember, productivity is really well-disguised idleness when it lacks purpose.

As my family discussed, everyone needs regular rest. At the same time, we must balance our thinking with an awareness of the habits that produce a lazy lifestyle and stay connected to our purpose for productive living.

In addition to today’s discussion on overcoming laziness and idleness, we’ve spent time Defining Laziness and Idleness as well as talked about The Dangers of an Idle & Lazy Mindset. Next, we’ll look at The Importance of Time & Purpose in Rooting Out Laziness & Idleness and then conclude our series with A Look at Rest & Productivity.

DISCUSSION: What other habits lead to a lazy and idle lifestyle? What other mindsets help reverse the process?

Check out my guest post GPS Leadership at Dan Black on Leadership. Dan’s blog is a great resource!

Another good blog to read, especially for some though-provoking conversation, is CycleGuy’s Spin.
Check out my guest post, Abundance, there too.

Thank you to Bill & Dan for inviting me to guest post… tremendous honor!

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17 Replies to “Overcoming Laziness & Idleness”

  1. I have to admit: I have trouble being lazy. Even on my day off I have trouble just sitting around and doing nothing. Even my vacation was not one spent being lazy (not when it involves a 6 year old grandson who is ball of energy).

    Thanks for posting on my site today Kari.

    1. Well, that’s good. Being lazy is definitely against scripture. Now, the question is, do you rest enough? And, remember that how you rest isn’t necessarily like how someone else might rest. But, make sure you DO rest regularly. Thanks for the opportunity. Truly an honor! And, I am really enjoying the discussions on the post.

  2. I admit I still struggle with being lazy and just taking some down time to regroup, refocus, rest. When I was on the run all the time I did not have time to process the events that occurred in my life because I was always busy. Now that I have more idle time as I ride along I am seeing that I never stopped to process the losses I experienced which has led to some PTSD symptoms and irrational reactions to situations I face now.
    I understand we are to be "doers" and not just hearers, but sometimes I am afraid we connect being busy with being better, than someone who takes time to sit and meditate and take life slower. I am trying to learn how to apply the Word to everyday life situations and to find a balance between what keeps me busy and taking time to process life at a slower pace.
    Thanks for letting me share my view. As always your scripture references are very helpful in making your point. thanks Kari.

    1. Rest is absolutely necessary, but rest is actually productive in the sense that we recharge, regroup, refocus, etc. In other words, there's purpose in rest. There's no purpose to laziness. We have to separate the two. Nowhere does scriptures say laziness is at all okay, but there are lots that support regular rest. And rest certainly helps us process what we go through in life. In fact, I tell people that if you don't process things, you will deal with them somehow and some way. The sooner, the better. You will deal with it one way or another, and it's better to do it on you own terms guided by the Holy Spirit rather than on terms that cause you to crash & burn (know that all too well). Also, our culture definitely connects busy with being better, and that's sad. I have learned over the past three years that busy is not always better. In fact, simpler is better, but simple means something different to everyone. Live life at the pace God sets for you. Live it on His terms. You are welcome to share your view anytime! And, I'm glad the scripture makes the point. I would never want my words to seem more important or even close to equally important as scripture.

  3. Kari,
    I think it helps when we focus on helping others. It is encouraging when we see our efforts helping someone and motivates us to do that which we should. When we think about fulfilling our responsibility to God it should motivate us as well and help us from being lazy.

    1. Focusing on others and on obedience are really fulfilling the greatest commandment, right? When we do what He set for us to do, we can resist the pull of the flesh. He’s set us free from having to obey it!

  4. Thanks Kari. I know there is a big difference between lazy and rest and taking time to process life, enjoying it one moment at a time. I have seen so many who have the "lazy" mindset and it is sad and it is perpetuated from one generation to the next far to often. I believe that is part of our problem in America today. Many are lazy and yet want everything those who work hard have. That was and is not what I believe God intended when he talked about being diligent in our labors. I agree that focusing on others helps keep us moving, but sometimes it also becomes an excuse to not stop and take care of ourselves. I am grateful that God has programmed each of us uniquely and that if we take the time to listen and obey we can live a full and fulfilling life in Him.

    1. A lazy and idle mindset have definitely invaded our society. While each individual chooses this for himself, it is something that is learned and taught from one generation to the next. Very sad and frustrating. I'm glad that maturity works this out for some, but I do get discouraged at what seems to be a growing epidemic at times. You are so right about not letting a focus on others stop us from taking care of ourselves. We forget that our ability to help others and to do good works is fueled by our individual health and faith lives. We need to be healthy in order to help others. And I think scripture shows this to be true when it says to protect the heart above all things. Obedience is key, as is getting to know Him in a way that allows us to be our unique selves. Great points, Mary!

  5. Very thorough, you covered laziness well!

    I have to admit, I've never understood when people say they are "bored". I don't think I've ever been bored in my life (I take that back, there might have been a few times in HS, but that was years ago).
    I always have a list a mile long of things to do- both for fun and because I "have to".
    I have no time to be bored and if I did, I know God can put me to use!

    1. Thanks TC. For me, I can be bored even with a lot to do. I wrote more on that topic in the series "Battling Boredom." Happens a lot less these days, but mostly it happens when I've let some area of my spiritual life get neglected. My husband sounds like you, though. He never gets bored and is mentally strong enough to do what he "has to" even if he doesn't feel like it. I don't think "bored" is in his vocabulary.

  6. I'm sill finding a balance between rest and action ( Working, family time, building my platform, and church activities). I work 4 10 hour days so have 3 days off, which allows me to spend a lot of time with my family and to rest. I also try and focus on writing and building my platform though it's hard due to wanting to spend time with family. Though they go to bed early so I spend time at night doing those things.

    Great post and thoughts!

    1. Ahhh… balance. Here's some of what I've learned about balance: 1.) Balance is unique to every person, so you can't compare yours to another's. 2.) What we view as balanced is often not what God views as balance. 3.) Simplicity is the key to balance. 4.) Simplicity is unique to every person. 5.) Balance & simplicity need pursued. I'm certainly not perfect at either of them, but I did learn a lot these past 3 years on those very topics. Hard fought lessons, my friend.

  7. I have been guilty of all those bad habits, Kari – still am at times, but thank God, He is transforming me. I'm enjoying the process of learning how to be productive. Heading out this morning on a camping trip, so it will have to be productive rest for the next couple of days!

    1. The process sure is exciting! I studied on righteousness in my morning devotion time today, and I was struck once again how we need Him in order to truly be good and morally upright. I'm so thankful that He makes a way for that to happen through Him. Enjoy your camping trip! We have one planned later this summer. Always a relaxing time.

  8. There are so many reasons why we give in to this lifestyle. Sometimes it's an idol in our life. Other times we're just foolish about how quick our life really is. We've got to remind ourselves about our limited time and realize that our time is a way that we can love God and love others.

    1. We definitely need to be deliberate about it, or it will.slip completely away from us. Having the perspective that our time is a gift we give to show love is tremendous.

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