Tuesday, July 13, 2010

On Laziness

Last night I wrote a piece and somehow hit the delete button. It wasn't my favorite, anyway, but it still made me angry that I'd invested time and then it was gone just like that. It got me to thinking about how much time I have indeed wasted this past week, though. I've been reading books instead of doing laundry, sleeping more instead of balancing my checkbook, and watching TV instead of investing time checking in with my friends. Some weeks are like that, but other times it is just out of sheer laziness that I give into my inner entertainment hog.

Laziness R Us. Well, me anyway.

Laziness is a subject that I have tried to steer clear of...primarily of its close - and often unfair - association with people who are overweight. I learned long ago that relatively few of us see ourselves as lazy...just overwhelmed. We give in to a few minutes to ourselves from time to time because we believe we deserve it. Those minutes turn to hours, days, years, and a lifetime. The work ethic that kept our grandparents working a 55 hour workweek with no guarantees after retirement seems to have been extinguished in the current generation. Not all of them, granted, but far too many.

Yet, if the economy does nothing else...it will hand America a giant reality check. Unfortunately, that check appears to be made to the order of Uncle Sam.

I gained weight because I was too lazy to concern myself with proper nutrition, exercise and moderation. I was lazy about my health, and now I'm paying the price for it. Now that I'm trying to reverse my bad behavior, I still get frustrated some days that the weight doesn't just magically fall off of me. Magically as in...well, YESTERDAY.

I have witnessed lazy behavior in other people and remember thinking to myself how sad it is that they don't just try harder...see past their obstacles...and make things happen. I suppose that I was so busy looking at this particular character flaw in others that I failed to fully recognize it in myself.

Yes, I have tendencies toward being lazy. There, I've said it. Not that it makes me feel any better. But my form of being lazy is in expecting other people to pick up the slack when I've done more than my fair share as determined by...well...ME. Or of procrastinating, and then getting everything done so quickly that it makes people truly amazed at my efficiency. I understand how to get things done...I just don't always like to hop to it.

Laziness is not to be confused with rest or recreation. Our bodies and our spirits need the former, and life is sweeter because of the latter. It is when we find ourselves angry that we have to do the mundane tasks in life...laundry...cleaning bathrooms...taking care of ourselves that we are heading out into the deep waters.

I know people who take care of a house, family, extended family, church friends, neighbors, coworkers and a large circle of friends and acquaintances without blinking. They are master schedulers and are efficient to such a degree that they end up earning the right to do more and more with less and less time. We as a collective group tend to wear these people out over time, and they end up feeling disillusioned, put upon and bitter that nobody cares enough about them to refuel their tanks. Then we wonder why they go nuts on us later on

Every day gives us opportunities to take our tendency toward ourselves and flip it for the benefit of others. We don't have to take it to extremes, but our lives are not meant to be for our own enjoyment. The enjoyment we have is more complete when we use our gifts and our time in the service of others. Not others who can actually do things for themselves...but those who cannot.

I am challenging myself to cut back on the time that I entertain myself to first rest, and then to either do something productive or for someone else. I want to appreciate my recreation and be more available and aware of the calling God has on my life. Sometimes I worry because I don't seem to be accomplishing anything except flipping calendar pages and dreaming of someday. When I examine why this is...I find that I just don't care enough to push myself off of the couch. This is indeed a sad state of affairs.

Lest you think that I am sitting here scourging myself over a perceived failing, know that I am not. I am just quite sure that part of the reason that life seems to be handing me more lemons than chocolate (yeah, I stole that Facebook friends) is because I haven't really done anything differently. And we all know that insanity's truest definition is "doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result."

I don't expect that I'll be volunteering to do more...in fact, I actually intend to volunteer to do far less in the coming year. I want to really focus on what is important to my family. For me, I suppose that means making sure that our budget is carefully watched, our house is kept visitor-ready, and that I do my job at work well.

But most importantly, it means that I am to be consistent and obedient to the call that God has on my life. It is being sensitive to the needs of other people while not sacrificing my time to do things for other people that they really should be doing for themselves. It is making sure that I am using the gifts and talents that I was uniquely given in a way that glorifies God and makes other people comforted or happy in the process.

So, there it is. My pledge to get myself moving. It's time.

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