Thursday, November 6, 2014

Why Laziness is Not My Problem

I've been reading through a daily devotional online called "10 Things to Abandon for Spiritual Growth." This morning's devotion was focused on laziness. "Work gives us purpose," the author wrote. While I agree with that and that laziness is not a trait to be admired, I found myself thinking that for me and many people I connect with through my congregation, the problem is not that we don't work enough, it's that we work hard at the wrong things.

I hear all the time that people are too busy or tired (often from my own mouth). Our culture celebrates and encourages hard work and often work more than we have to by not taking all our vacation days. Even our free time can feel like work as we fill it up with clubs, committees, and kids' activities.

No, I don't think laziness is a problem for as many people as my devotional's author seems to think, but I do agree that God intends for us to do work that has a purpose, and that's where I think we (or at least I) have room to grow.

Just being busy isn't the same as doing something meaningful. I find it easy to fill my time with things that keep me busy, but can then get to the end of a day thinking, "What did I actually do today?" Sometimes I legitimately waste that time, but just as often I make myself busy with activities that don't do as much for my health, my attitude, or my relationships as an alternative would. I choose poorly or fail to make a decision in the first place and end up dealing with whatever comes up.

In Matthew 6, Jesus talks about making ourselves busy with worry, but then says, "Seek first the Kingdom of God and God's righteousness." I think Jesus was partly saying, "Prioritize your life according to God's purpose for you so that you don't make yourself busy or crazy out of worry or fear."

We are made by God to have purpose in our lives, but sometimes we need to say no or not now to some things so we can be busy with things that serve that bigger purpose. I've been doing some of this myself recently because I found myself repeatedly thinking, "I'm too busy to do the things that really matter to me." As I've made a few things I care about more important, I've found myself no less busy, but feeling more satisfied and less stressed and tired.

No, I don't think laziness in general is a problem, but maybe being less lazy about setting good priorities is a good goal "for spiritual growth" (as the title of my devotion says). Then I can work harder at work that's worth doing.

“It's as crazy as it's ever been; all we have is now.” -Live, "Run to the Water"

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