The Line Between Restfulness and Laziness

The one symptom of pregnancy that has been most surprising to me is fatigue. Some afternoons I can barely function unless I first take a nap.

Because of my fatigue, I’ve been accomplishing less around the house. Laundry has piled up, I’m preparing easy meals instead of those I planned on our menu, and I’ve been cutting my workouts short.

Have you ever wondered where restfulness ends and laziness begins? Here are some indicators to help you differentiate between needing rest and feeling lazy.

Fatigue happens and is a legitimate reason to rest. However, I sometimes wonder if I don’t get sufficient rest but continue to use fatigue as an excuse so I can be lazy. Have you ever wondered where restfulness ends and laziness begins?

The difference between restfulness and laziness

Rest is when we get a break from work, strain, and activity. The Bible addresses rest, teaching us that it is good and endorsed by God. God rested after creating the earth (Genesis 2:1-3). He commanded His people to rest on the seventh day of each week (Exodus 20:8-11). Jesus encouraged his disciples to get rest (Mark 6:30-31).

The Bible also addresses laziness, which is being idle or unwilling to work hard. Of course, laziness is not good or endorsed by God. Laziness leads to poverty (Proverbs 10:4). Everyone should work and those who do not shouldn’t be allowed to eat (2 Thessalonians 3:10-12). We should complete all of our work as though we are completing it for the Lord (Colossians 3:23).

Taking a nap, putting your feet up and watching a movie, or forsaking housecleaning for a few days may be restful or it may be lazy. How can you tell the difference? Here are some signs that I believe are indicators.

Signs you may need rest

  • You can’t muster energy to complete even the tasks you love
  • You develop a short temper
  • You have trouble focusing on your tasks
  • You feel tired at night but have a difficult time falling asleep because your mind is racing

Signs you may be lazy

  • You procrastinate
  • You feel apathetic
  • You feel guilty when you “rest”
  • You complain about situations, but are unwilling to take actions to change them

In light of these signs, I think I’ve definitely been in need of rest lately, but I’ve also been a bit lazy. It’s time to do something about this!

What about you? Do you ever find yourself using fatigue as an excuse for being lazy? How do you differentiate between needing rest and simply feeling lazy?

Shared on the following link-ups:

Works for Me Wednesday, WholeHearted Wednesday, Titus 2sDay, Growing Homemakers, Titus 2 Tuesday.


  1. Great post. I think there is an epidemic of people who say they don’t have enough time to do xyz, but it’s really that they have no motivation or time management skills.

    Now that I am blogging, I don’t have time to be lazy! I often think about what Proverbs says about good wives and laziness and feel guilty about relaxing or needing rest. Thanks for reinforcing that the Bible also says it is good to rest.

    • I agree. I especially think time management skills have a lot to do with it.

      The Proverbs are a great place to go for motivation to work hard!

  2. Thanks for this post! I’ve been convicted of this lately myself and was struggling to really define the difference. This is a very helpful breakdown 🙂 Now, to get off the computer and go clean… 😉

  3. Great post! I know I struggle with laziness and with fatigue. But I also struggle with chronic pain (that I rarely talk about). Sometimes you can be both lazy and need rest at the same time. I’ve realized that I had to push back that line of needing rest because my body works harder just to compensate for pain. So, there had to be a new normal. If I didn’t have a new normal, than I would always need rest and that, I don’t believe, was what God wanted for me. -Tabitha

    • Having chronic pain or another chronic disease can muddy the waters a bit. It’s great that you’ve learned how to live with your “new normal.”

      Great point that we can be lazy and need rest at the same time! In the end, laziness is an attitude of the heart. We can have this even in the presence of genuine fatigue.

  4. Thanks for your post! Right now in the middle of allergy season I have days where I need more rest… but it may lead to laziness.
    When I’m feeling really useless, I try to write a list of all the things I can be doing, so I can pick a more low key thing to work on.
    Sometimes I make a list of everything I want to get done in the day and then write times next to when I will start each project. This means that I have to at least start all of my important projects.
    I don’t think that feeling guilt always means that you’re being lazy. While it can be a good indicator, I think guilt sometimes hangs around whether or not we deserve it. It may not mean we’re being lazy, but we do have to find ways to dispel the guilt or we will be unhappy with ourselves.
    I teach music to kids at church and sometimes when I’m not feeling very well during the week, I’ll work on my song hints because it’s a useful thing to do, but is also low-key. (I use pictures for song hints and so I often print out coloring page type pictures and then color them by hand to save on ink. Sometimes they take a surprising amount of time to finish.) I also will write letters, pay bills, meal plan, make grocery lists, etc. when I feel I can’t just keep going at everything else.

    • Hi Julie,
      Great tip about the list! I agree that guilt doesn’t always indicate laziness, but it can often be a sign.
      I’ll have to keep your low-key examples in mind to use when I need something simple to get me started. 🙂

  5. I have seen a couple posts around about rest. This is so good. I love the comparison between laziness and resting. Thank you.

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