Let’s play a game. You’ve had an extremely long day, maybe the kids were fighting a lot or you kept having setbacks every time you started feeling like you were getting caught up on your to do list. Everything has finally settled down and your house is quiet, what are you doing? Are you seeking out godly rest and sleep to reset for the next day or are you pulling out your secret stash of chocolate and binging Netflix for a few hours to “decompress” from the day? Maybe some mindless scrolling on social media every once in a while?
Being comfortable is something that we naturally seek out as people. We don’t want to do what is hard, because it is easier to give in to the desire to do what feels good. There is a reason that 74% of Americans over the age of 20 were reported to be considered overweight in 2018, and 43% of Americans over the age of 20 were found to be obese. It is also why a good portion of Christians are biblically illiterate and have decided to leave theology to pastors and teachers, claiming they just “aren’t gifted in that area”. Why as homemakers, we take our queues from the world and allow our home to be in disarray, and then make excuses for being a poor homemaker by blaming a perceived mental illness or not being trained by our mothers. All of these are examples of slothfulness, hidden by excuses of ineptitude and busyness.
I want to start, as always, with scripture and see what God has to say about the slothful attitude:
How long will you lie there, O sluggard? When will you arise from your sleep? Proverbs 6:9
The soul of the sluggard craves and gets nothing, while the soul of the diligent is richly supplied. Proverbs 13:4
I passed by the field of a sluggard, by the vineyard of a man lacking sense, and behold, it was all overgrown with thorns; the ground was covered with nettles, and its stone jwall was broken down. Then I saw and considered it;
I looked and received instruction. A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest, and poverty will come upon you like a robber, and want like an armed man. Proverbs 24:30-34
Now, I can already hear the objections. “But Brittany, I am by no means a sloth or a sluggard. I work hard all day long!” And I am sure that you do. What I want to challenge is the why behind your work. What is your end goal? I read an article the other day on the Desiring God website that I will link at the end of this blog post. He made some excellent points about the slothful attitude. He said that sloth is a sin of desire. A desire to satisfy self (Proverbs 13:4 and 21:25-56). From the article:
Slothfulness thrives in busyness. This shocking manifestation of sloth is what I call the zombie. The slothful zombie may live a very busy life, but he does just enough to get things done, so he can get back to enjoying his comforts. Duties are what he performs, but comfort is what he craves. The zombie lives his routine in a fog, sleepwalking between weekends.
We can recognize if we are afflicted with the sin of slothfulness if we consistently see ourselves seeking out comfort in things other than God, getting irritable when anyone interrupts us from our work, being overly frustrated by delays that put us behind, losing hours playing on our phones or binging TV or Youtube in our downtime, or putting off things we know that we should be doing like studying scripture or learning a new skill that can enrich our lives because we “just want to relax”.
In the article, he calls this “lazy busy”. I find that to be such a perfect picture of what most of us struggle with. We rush through our day on autopilot as much as possible so that we can just get it over with, rather than working as unto the Lord. Asking God to show us how we can glorify Him amidst our work.
This form of laziness will also be reflected in what you do with your spare minutes. What are you most likely to do when you find that you have a spare 10 minutes that you weren’t expecting to have? Do you pick up a book that is going to edify you, contact a loved one, read your bible, or work on that new skill we were just talking about? Or do you pull out your phone or flip on the TV?
Believe me, I get it. I have 4 children who are home with me all the time and we homeschool. I get over stimulated and need to step away to take a breather as well. However, needing a minute to breathe is different than constantly numbing your mind. When we are stressed out and overwhelmed, it is imperative that we are taking it to the Lord. I know, it is so hard! The last thing that you want to do after a long day is to open your bible or pray, but it is really what we need the most in those moments. Worldly comfort can only bring about temporary pleasure. It won’t satisfy and it definitely won’t incite true joy.
Hopping on social media or watching TV when you are feeling worn out is like offering a thimble of water to a person who is dying of thirst. Initially when that water crosses their tongue, they will feel relief, but that parched feeling will quickly return once the thimble is empty. It is the same thing when we are spiritually thirsty, which is what we are feeling when we are drained from our daily lives. We must bring our souls to the well that never runs dry; to drink deeply of the living water that only Jesus can offer us.
When we we are spiritually malnourished, it will manifest itself in other areas of our lives. It will look like depression and anxiety, burn out, perfectionism, impatience, frustration, over indulgence, and laziness. Most of these issues can be solved by dedicating ourselves to learning and being reminded of who God is and what He desires of us. The more time we spend actively studying scripture and growing in our faith, the more He will change our desires to better line up with His. We don’t desire godliness naturally, even as Christians, because we still carry around our sin nature with us. It is in our nature to seek out what is easy and what is comfortable. Growing in godliness and overcoming sloth takes choosing to say no to what is easy, and seeking after what God says is good, regardless of what we feel like.
It is hard to devote yourself to prayer, scripture reading, and bible study every day. It is hard to commit to reading challenging books that are going to deepen your understanding of the faith. It is hard to pick up a new skill that God may be able to use to bless those around you. But these are all a good kind of hard. These are ways that God sanctifies us and draws us closer to Him.
As a final note, I want to add that I am not saying that social media or television is inherently evil or even wrong. I use both on a regular basis. But just as it isn’t sinful to have a piece of cake, it would be sinful to eat the whole thing (hello gluttony). Watch a single TV show for fun, spend 20 minutes a day catching up with friends on Instagram, but can I make a suggestion? Save that time for when you don’t feel like you need it. Most of the time, when we feel like we need an escape, it is because we desperately need to be filled by the truth that only God can provide. Allow Him to be your comforter, ladies. He wants to share His peace with you. He is simply waiting on you to seek Him first, and love him with all your heart, mind, soul, and strength.
As always, blessings on your week! I will be praying for y’all. I hope that you are edified by this post. Please make sure to go follow me on Instagram. I would love to connect with you.
Link to article: https://www.desiringgod.org/messages/lazy-busy