Have you toyed with your mouse and keyboard for minutes aimlessly? Or even stood still in bath, not bathing, doing absolutely nothing?
Doing all these, while our most precious and relentless resource, time ticks away actively?
If you answered ‘Yes’ to any of the questions above, then you have once subscribed to idleness.
We all have!
2 Sam. 11:1-2 (KJV) And it came to pass… at the time when kings go forth to battle, that David sent … his servants … But David tarried still at Jerusalem. And it came to pass in an eveningtide that David … walked upon the roof of the king’s house: and … he saw a woman washing herself; and the woman was very beautiful to look upon.
Not The Same Thing As ‘Laziness’
Contrary to popular opinion, idleness is not necessarily laziness.
According to Wikipedia.org, Idleness is a term, which generally refers to a lack of motion and/or energy.
Concisely, Idleness is just sitting about doing absolutely nothing. It is the exact opposite of ‘busyness’.
Different From Rest or Leisure
Similarly, idleness is not the same thing as rest or leisure!
What differentiates idleness from the concept of relaxation is the fact that while rest is planned, idleness creeps in to steal, kill and destroy.
A Destructive Habit
Idleness, when left unchecked, runs wild to become a character flaw and a potentially destructive habit.
A habit is something you can do without thinking – which is why most of us have so many of them.
~Frank A. Clark
Idleness is a negative trend, which hides behind lack of motivation to work, dislike for our job, sheer laziness, exhaustion from work overload, inadequate rest among other factors.
Truthfully, once the habit is formed, it expresses itself effortlessly and without provocation.
One of the dangers of idling away lies in the tendency to adopt and maintain a routine of inactivity and complacency as a permanent lifestyle, while wasting lots of valuable time.
Whereas, time is life; our life is simply the sum and reflection of how we spend our time!
The devil’s Workshop
1Timothy 5:13 (KJV) And withal they learn to be idle, wandering about from house to house; and not only idle, but tattlers also and busybodies, speaking things which they ought not
A greater danger with idleness lies in the propensity to incubate destructive schemes in those short periods of inactivity.
– Think self derogatory thoughts
– Feel the pangs and bitterness of heart break
– Feast on the negatives of life
– Conjure corrupt or lustful imaginations
– Get engaged mentally in negative ways.
Purity of mind and idleness are incompatible.
– Mahatma Gandhi
Surely, an idle mind is the devil’s workshop!
Please check out the experience of David with Bathsheba if you don’t agree!
With an understanding that idleness is a habit we all subscribe to, and a full awareness of its impending dangers, these are ways to curb the routine and guard against its potential danger:
1. Remove the stimuli:
Keep an eye on yourself to determine what triggers idleness in your life, and when you are most prone to it. Afterwards, work at removing that incentive.
Quench the spark before it becomes a flame. Root out the weed before it becomes a forest.
Psalms 10:13 (KJV) Keep back thy servant also from presumptuous sins; let them not have dominion over me: then shall I be upright, and I shall be innocent from the great transgression.
2. Predetermine a ‘bail out’ or substitution strategy i.e. alternatives to your activities when idle:
Rom 12:21 (KJV) Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good.
The only proper way to eliminate bad habits is to replace them with good ones.
– Jerome Hines
Note your tendencies during your inert periods. In other words, what do you do when idle?
Whatever it is, plan ahead to do something constructive instead.
For example, you may plan to
– affirm yourself (if you are prone to self derogatory or fearful thought when idle)
– sing praises if prone to depressing thoughts
– Watch the TV, read a book, take a walk, pray in the spirit or just any other alternative but positive activity.
Php 4:8 (KJV) Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.
Having determined the perfect bail out, plan to activate it to help you snap you out of the cycle each time you catch yourself idling away and falling into the destructive pattern.
3. Build Planned Rest /Leisure into your daily schedules:
As earlier mentioned, idleness is not rest!
Hence, we should never allow this destructive habit to use the need, requirement or desire for relaxation or leisure as an excuse to express itself in our lives.
We should take short periods of planned rest to unwind, relax and disengage from the rigors of our daily tasks in order to get fresh bursts of energy to forge ahead.
Our Maker’s recommended proportion for a balanced life is a portion of rest to six portions of work. And no man can ever outsmart God!
Exo 20:9-10 (KJV) Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work: But the seventh day is the sabbath of the LORD thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work…
Conclusively, if you are a victim of habitual idleness with its associated ills, then get proactive about getting yourself constructively busy, and take planned / scheduled rests.
That way, you will never waste away or get preoccupied negatively.
Lord, surely, idleness creates the perfect atmosphere for the incubation of evil. Please deliver me from this self destructive habit and associated ills, and grant me the grace to be positively and constructively engaged for You throughout all my waking moments. Amen.
Funmi Adebayo © 2013