April 19, 2021
“Bukas na lang. Two days pa naman before deadline.”
Have you ever put off for tomorrow something that you knew you needed to do today? Maybe the better question is, who hasn’t? Most of us have struggled with being unmotivated in finishing a task or being too lazy to even get started. It makes sense that you’re reading this article because you’re in that slump at this very moment (or you know someone who is, at least).
Sometimes we have reasons . . . or excuses. “Napagod ako last week sa finals kaya ayoko munang seryosohin ang school work . . .”
And other times, we just don’t feel like it. “Wala ako sa mood. Manonood muna ako ng isa pang episode.”
You know you have to start editing that video project and writing that report on a ten-chapter reading assignment, on top of the modules that are piling up. You want to read a few chapters of the Bible and even told yourself you’ll start journaling this month, about the same time you said you’ll take up running as daily exercise.
But you can’t seem to find the drive to get started at anything, which includes cleaning your room, washing the dishes, or helping your family with the laundry. You want to take to heart this verse:
Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord . . .
Colossians 3:23 (NIV)
Yes, you want to be productive and honor God with your [school] work, but you’re having one of those days when everything seems to take too much effort. It’s one of those days when playing mobile games or scrolling mindlessly through social media is all you can manage. These are the times when we know the right things to do, but we don’t have the perseverance to follow through.
So, how do we keep following Jesus when we’re feeling lazy and unmotivated?
“Just do it!” 一both an ad and yourself would say to get yourself going. This may work for some of us when we try to motivate ourselves simply by sheer force of will. Pero paano kung wala ka talagang huhugutan ng willpower?
Willpower may give us that burst of energy, but we need something more to keep us going. Perhaps pushing ourselves harder is the last thing we should do.
The first, and best, thing we can do to overcome laziness is to rest.
Whoa. This seems counterproductive, obviously because lazing around would mean that you’re getting too much rest, right? Not quite.
Take a moment to think deeper about your loss of motivation.
Underneath that sluggishness, you might be feeling discouraged or weary or distracted or stressed or all of the above. The answer to laziness is the same with that of burnout from overworking: rest.
This rest is beyond physical relaxation or leisure. Really?
Jesus invites us to to this kind of rest:
“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.”
Matthew 11:28–30 (MSG)
Jesus talked about living freely and lightly, not burdened by work you don’t feel like doing. But, notice that His idea of rest is not simply doing nothing. He even says “work with me”!
Rest, therefore, is not an opportunity to slack off.
Jesus is calling us to real REST.
Reflect on your habits of working and resting.
Most probably, you’re not working when you’re supposed to because you have not been resting as you should. It’s time to build a healthy rhythm of work and rest. If we rest well, then we can work well.
When we get distracted from our focus while we work, we end up not working well. Leisure is a part of rest, and we all have past-times for fun and entertainment. We even have hobbies that can be useful and practical. However, they become distractions when they’re not done in the proper time and can even become addictions.
For you are a slave to whatever controls you.
2 Peter 2:19 (NLT)
Solitude with God is key to building a healthy rhythm of work and rest.
Jesus said, “Get away with me. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace.” His invitation is to walk closely with Him so as to learn from Him.
Spending undisturbed and unhurried time with God is the most productive thing we do every day. He breathes passion and purpose back into us as we remain in Him.
“Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from me you can do nothing.”
John 15:5 (NLT)
Tell someone who can help.
It is always good to be accountable to a friend or a mentor. Ask them to check up on you and pray with you. Any habit takes time to develop and there will always be the temptation to drop it, but it gets easier when we have people supporting us and praying with us.
Jesus did not only set an example in having alone time with His Father. He clearly told His disciples to make time for rest. He asked them to rest together with Him.
Then, because so many people were coming and going that they did not even have a chance to eat, he said to them, “Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.”
REST in the Prince of Peace.
When we truly rest in Jesus, we walk along His unforced rhythms of grace. We can then do productive and timely work. We could even feel fulfilled again.
When you’re feeling lazy and unmotivated, follow Jesus’ example. Accept His invitation to take a real rest today.
REST with the Prince of Peace today.