Laziness can take many forms, including being busy. What? How can a man involved in many things be considered lazy?
Well, isn’t it true that chronic busyness has a way of
keeping us from the work that really needs to be done?
It makes us pay attention to the urgent rather than the
important. Too often we neglect the necessary because
What many of us truly need to do is to slow down before
we get busy. We need to put a stop to the kind of busyness
that causes us to focus on the fleeting rather than pursuing
A personal inventory is a helpful place to start. Take
stock. Create opportunities to be totally transparent with
yourself. Take a close look at how you are spending your
time, what is occupying your mind, where you truly come
alive, and where you feel you are wilting.
In the process, you may well discover that what you
do isn’t totally in accord with who you want to be – that
the path you are following doesn’t lead to the reputation
Once you have a bit of a handle on that (and it could
take a while before you’re honest enough to get a realistic
picture), ask yourself this key question: What am I avoiding? What am I happy to be distracted from? Chances are
those uncomfortable areas are the very ones that really
could use your attention.
For better and for worse, we don’t need to figure these
things out on our own. If you truly want to grow, don’t
be afraid to ask others for input. Your boss will no doubt
have some suggestions about how to improve. Your
spouse and children will be pointing these things out
Many of us automatically avoid or deny these very
issues. So we need to take a deep breath and allow these
observations to register afresh, then weigh them carefully.
Do those who know us make some good points?
Points that are true will hurt. In fact, feeling irritation
in response to well-meaning criticism may well be a clue
that it is close to the mark. Acknowledge your annoyance
and push a little deeper. These sore spots are the very
Slow Down and
Know yourself. Know God. Serve others.
places where healing needs to occur, where transformation becomes possible.
Thankfully, mature manhood is well worth the pain.
In the Gospel of John, the writer describes a scene
where Jesus meets a man who has been lame for a long
time and asks, “Do you want to be well?” It may sound like
a silly question, but the question is more than an inquiry
about bad legs. Jesus is asking the man if he wants to be
whole, if he wants to be truly integrated, at peace with
himself and his place in the world.
The man in the story (John 5:1– 18) doesn’t really answer Jesus’ question. Instead, he responds with explanations about why he’s incapable of improving his situation.
He is psychologically and spiritually stuck, apparently unwilling to rise above his misery.
Better the devil you know than the demands that might
come your way if things change too much. You might have
to actually take responsibility for yourself.
As it happens, Jesus heals the man and various complications arise. While the man’s legs are working, his mind
seems determined to stay in some sorry place and his
patterns of avoidance continue to define him.
How easy it is to blame circumstances for our dissatisfaction, how hard to excise harmful habits, and how difficult to truly desire change.
While each of us needs to slow down and develop enough
self-awareness to tackle our personal demons, the hard
work doesn’t end there. We all need to be busy on at least
two other fronts.
For Christian men paying attention to God is essential.
Cultivating and maintaining a relationship with the Creator who made you the way you are will help you become
the man you were meant to be.
Desiring God is at the core of authentic self-discovery.
As spiritual writer Thomas Merton puts it, “There is only
one problem on which all my existence, my peace, my
happiness depend: to discover myself in discovering God.
If I find Him, I will find myself, and if I find my true self,
I will find Him.”
Finally, the properly busy man will be attentive to the
world around him and find ways to work for its improve-
To put it short and sweet – Know yourself. Know God.
Serve others. FT
DOuG KOOP is a Winnipeg-based writer and spiritual
health specialist. Find more of these columns at
BlessedIs TheMan n BY DOUG KOOP