5 Causes of Idleness and a Spiritual Cure
Idleness is hateful in God’s eyes. He wants us actively and energetically promoting his kingdom on earth. The apostle Paul devoted an entire chapter of 2 Thessalonians warning against it. So what do we do when we find ourselves slipping into lazy ways? Is there a cure? Of course, in God’s kingdom there is a cure for everything.
Idleness has a number of causes:
- Cynicism. Do you think “So what?” about every task presented to you?
- Physical. Perhaps illness or being overweight has contributed to your inactivity.
- Rebelliousness. Are you sulking about something?
- Mental problem. Is your idleness related to some deeper psychological or psychiatric condition?
While each of the above cases has a separate root which needs to be treated individually, the specific symptom of idleness can be overcome with this simple exercise:
Idleness is a malfunction of the spirit so first make up your mind that you want to change and pray for it. If you are unable to pray fully just simply say “God make me busy.” Repeat this prayer at every opportunity.
Now the problem you have is that every task seems overwhelmingly laborious. Nothing is worth the bother. To overcome this feeling, we must reduce each task down to its smallest divisible unit or SDU.
Take this simple example; if someone said to you, “Help me build this house,” you would feel overwhelmed by the size of the task. But if that person said, “Please bring me a brick,” you might find that more manageable. If you have a week’s worth of washing up sitting in the kitchen, even the thought of doing it makes you sick. Where do you start? By reducing the work down to its smallest divisible unit (SDU) it becomes easier. The SDU might be taking out the washing up liquid and filling a bowl with hot water. Or it might be just clearing a space in the sink. Once you have done the first SDU, take a rest and consider the next one; perhaps washing one plate. After you have done three or four SDUs reward yourself, and remember your prayer, “Lord make me busy.”
As long as you wash more plates than you use, sooner or later the washing up will be done. It doesn’t matter how long it takes. What matters is that you are altering your mindset, and asking God to change your behaviour.
Use SDUs in everything you have to do in a day. You will be amazed how soon you can cope with dozens of SDUs at a time, and before long you won’t even need to bother with them. You’ll have defeated your idleness for good, and you’ll be ready for some paid employment.