Laziness is a Lie
Laziness is a Lie:
Where your lack of enthusiasm is actually coming from, and what to do about it
BY KATEY LEE
“Ugh, I’m so lazy - I just don’t want to do ANYTHING.”
Yep, me too. I get it. Those days where you spend 90% of your time thinking about all of the things you should be doing and only 10% of your time actually kind of doing the things? Super sucks. And we all know how much God hates laziness, right? I mean, there are a bunch of Proverbs about how being a “sluggard” will bring us poverty and shoot, sloth is one of the seven deadly sins! Yikes. We’re all lazy and we’re all screwed. Right?
I don’t think so, actually.
I think there is a disconnect between what the Bible defines as laziness and that which we call laziness now. I think we need to reframe the way we think of “laziness.”
I hear the word “laziness” used in a self-depreciating, disparaging way almost exclusively. People “diagnose” themselves as lazy; I hear it used offhandedly when people are tired or overwhelmed (maybe unknowingly) and in “low power mode”, so to speak. I think a lot of what we call laziness is not true laziness. By using this word/idea incorrectly, we’ve simultaneously made it into a flippant excuse for not doing things we should do and a sorry, guilt-ridden coverup for poor mental health that we don’t want to (or haven’t yet realized that we should) address.
So ... What can we do about that? Well, let’s start by differentiating between laziness and demotivation. Because I think that what we often label as laziness is actually a case of demotivation. Laziness is an unwillingness to do work that needs to be done, while demotivation is the feeling that you have no reason to do the work that needs to be done. They are similar concepts, but the distinction is important; it’s the difference between self-discipline and self-understanding.
By reframing (fake) laziness as demotivation, it allows us to find a solution; to find motivation. When you struggle to work or get things done, instead of feeling guilty for being “lazy,” give yourself the space to figure out why you aren’t motivated and what you can do to motivate yourself. Rather than internalizing laziness as an undesirable, flawed part of your character, recognizing the difference between laziness and demotivation allows you to work through and move beyond the real reason behind why you’re not doing whatever it is that you should be doing.
This is going to require you to take a step back and think realistically about your actions and your emotions. If you need help figuring that out, ask a therapist or counselor or a friend/family member who knows you well to help you assess yourself. A lot of mental health issues come with the bonus of demotivation and often the first step to moving through that is simply realizing that it’s a problem for you. That way you’re able to approach the struggle realistically and find a good solution, or at least find a few things that will help you to move forward.
Don’t use laziness as a copout for dealing with underlying issues.
Don’t use mental health as a copout when you actually ARE being lazy.
So what SHOULD we do, then?
Mental health issues and demotivation in any form can be difficult to break out of, but reminding ourselves of some truths from God can be a helpful and encouraging place to start. He wants us to be disciplined, He wants us to work hard, but that doesn't mean that He wants us to be so hard on ourselves that we're weighed down with guilt and unable to function.
"For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love, and self-discipline." - 2 Timothy 1:7
"For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it." - Hebrews 12:11