About a week ago I was standing before my bathroom mirror and contemplating the sin of laziness, or “sloth.” Contemplating anything so serious at midnight is never quite a grand idea, but there I was, lost in the vortex of how dreadfully I’d been managing my time this summer. I realized there were days that just ran away from me on the treadmill of phone-scrolling or YouTube-watching. I spent more time lying in bed than being up and about, and that only added to the tiring cycle of sluggishness.
How could this be?? I had prayed and prayed for motivation and for things to get done. I had prayed for strength to wrestle with and fight off the sins that plague me each day in their unforgiving attempt to wrench my eyes away from following Jesus. But every day consisted of the same habits, the same head-long stumbles, and the same anxious discouragement as I fell asleep at night.
In that moment of dark self-pity, with the cold tiles tickling my bare feet and the toothbrush paused in my mouth, God sent me a lifeline.
Prayer is not comfortable magic.
In many ways, I was using “rest” as an excuse for my laziness. But there’s a line between rest and laziness, and I’d crossed it. All that empty space made sin (in its many forms) easier. Since I wasn’t making any efforts to fill it with good things, the bad barely had anything to fight for attention and so just set up house. To overcome sin on a regular basis, I can’t simply pray and jump right back into my bad habits. That’s not how it works. Prayer itself is in part a call to action with God’s help. When we ask, He provides wisdom on how to take proactive steps to continually pursue Him and do good work for His glory.
So, we come to God and confess our weaknesses, asking Him to help. We don’t exactly ask Him to do everything for us while we sit back and watch the show, but we do ask Him to provide the means for us to actively follow and pursue Him in all things. It’s a careful balance between God’s faithful initiative and our faithful response, and it makes a beautiful harmony.
Following Jesus isn’t comfortable, and we may not always understand all the “why’s” in the moments of spiritual warfare (which often come in daily forms like how to spend our time). But in Him there is freedom and eternal reward stored up in Heaven, for each little victory here on earth.
Here are some practical baby-steps I’ve taken during the past week. I’ve found that while they are difficult at times, I already see them resulting in increased productivity and energy throughout the day.
- Shutting down my phone before starting my nighttime routine.
- Making daily lists of things to get done.
- Trying to read a book rather than scroll through social media during the day.
- Limiting the amount of junk food I eat and drinking more water.
- Getting to bed earlier + setting my alarm for a decent time so I don’t oversleep.
- Beginning and ending each day by spending time in prayer and reading the Bible.