“The lazy person is full of excuses, saying ‘If I go outside, I might meet a lion in the street and be killed!'” Proverbs 22:13
I read this verse the other week and cringed. I’ll humbly admit that I’ve become lazy since moving. The scale is proof. So are the way my clothes fit. 😦 And I’ve had a million excuses. Many of them are legit, but they are still just excuses.
The gym I went to in PA had amazing classes – great instructors, energizing music, friendly competition and I left feeling like I had just had an hour of pure fun and not really ‘work.’ Not only were the classes great, the gym offered childcare beyond babysitting. My kids got exercise and enjoyed themselves while I was working out. Now that we’ve moved to MI, the few gyms that offer any kind of childcare have limited hours and terrible classes. And the childcare is basically putting the kids in a room with electronics or a few lame toys – the children are safe but they aren’t having fun. 😦 So, I feel bad taking my boys when I’m not getting an intense workout. So, I mostly skip it.
I loved running in PA. I had my routes all marked out AND I had girlfriends I could meet even in the dead of winter for double digit miles. Most of the streets had street lights, too. But not in Michigan! The roads are DARK! And it is always dark here – the sun doesn’t rise until 8 am and lately it’s been setting around 5 pm. So, running before or after my husband’s out of work has been a no-go. I’m terrified of twisting an ankle on the debris on the running trails (even though I’m grateful there are plenty around). I miss my friends, I’m scared to run in the dark and it’s really cold out. Now I recognize that these are all excuses. I’ve run in weather colder than this – it was just much more enjoyable with friends. And unfortunately, I don’t really know anyone here who runs at my pace and wants to go at the time I need to in order to be home with my kids.
So, I could do an exercise DVD at home. I’ve done them before. But, my little man doesn’t nap often anymore and is a bit in the way. I also feel bad taking time from him to work out. So, I should get up in the morning to work out before the kids are up. And here’s where I finally recognized that I am just being LAZY! I have not been successful at getting myself out of my warm covers in the darkness of Michigan when I’m just feeling sad about losing my former way of life – where working out happened with others and was fun and not in my basement. I remember enjoying time with my friends and dwell on the fact that I don’t have that opportunity now, and I just want to curl up and go back to bed. So I have.
I also know that losing weight and keeping it off are 80% diet and 20% exercise. But, I haven’t been very motivated to say no to food I know isn’t good for me. And even the Bible says that wine is for those who are feeling depressed (Proverbs 31:6-7), so why not have another glass?
But then I read the verse from Proverbs about the lazy person (from the start of this post). I’ve also read how laziness leads to destruction and poverty. The lazy person will have a million excuses that seem valid to them, but the person who desires to overcome laziness must think of a million and one reasons why they CAN succeed. I read an almost identical verse a day later and felt the gentle nudge of the Holy Spirit: “The lazy person is full of excuses, saying ‘I can’t go outside because there might be a lion on the road! Yes, I’m sure there’s a lion out there!'” Proverbs 26:13. Am I going to fear a lion or am I going to fear God?
I also read Ecclesiastes 7:3: “Sorrow is better than laughter, for sadness has a refining influence on us.” I realized that I can take these circumstances and allow God to refine me during this time. Sure, I have excuses. But, I also have two legs that work to carry my body. I have lungs and heart that work well and are in decent shape (glory to God alone!). I have the knowledge of what foods pack on pounds and which ones I can enjoy without a lot of guilt. I have a husband who supports me in my adventures and told me he’d buy me a membership to any gym I find that I’ll go to. I’m not working full time right now (unlike my sweet man!) and can choose when to work out and have a few different options, whether running outside or going to a gym (even if it’s not great) or doing an exercise video in my basement. I have an alarm clock that works. I have cold gear for running in this weather and my mom even got me new knuckle lights that I asked for as a Christmas gift.
No. More. Excuses.
I’m challenging you today – write down every single excuse you can think of. Then call them what they are and recognize if you are being lazy. Pray and then write down ways to overcome the excuse or go around it right next to them. What are some steps you can take toward your goal? Perhaps you aren’t lazy physically but facing other obstacles. Don’t let Satan overcome you with his lies. Look to God’s Word to tell you how to proceed. If you find an excuse you really can’t overcome, pray about it and see how God alone can work. Start with one step. What’s one excuse you can get around today? Overcome laziness, one step at a time…with God’s grace!
Dear Heavenly Father, we fear you alone. You are holy and worthy of praise and honor. Lord, please forgive us for our laziness and excuses. Please forgive where we’ve allowed our circumstances to define us. Instead, we ask that you allow this change to refine us. Make us more like You. God, there are things we may not be able to change. So, we ask for You to work out a miracle for those. And we ask more than that for a miracle in our hearts. Take off the blinders that we may see the excuses for what they are and push us out of laziness into holiness. May we be changed for Your glory in Your time. Thank You for all You do for us. Thank You for Your Word. Thank You for who You are! In Jesus’ powerful and precious Name, AMEN!