Merriam Webster defines “diligent” as “characterized by steady, earnest, and energetic effort.”

Steady effort.

Earnest effort.

Energetic effort.

Three things I am not! I am more of a “spits and spurts” kind of person. I do really good for a little while, then not so good (or pretty bad sometimes) for a little while.. it’s a cycle. But diligent? Notsomuch. However, I really want to be.

The bible has some pretty positive things to say about diligence, too:

A slack hand causes poverty, but the hand of the diligent makes rich. ~ Proverbs 10:4

Whoever is slothful will not roast his game, but the diligent man will get precious wealth. ~ Proverbs 12:27

The soul of the sluggard craves and gets nothing, while the soul of the diligent is richly supplied. ~ Proverbs 13:4

And also, the opposite – laziness/slothfulness:

Slothfulness casts into a deep sleep, and an idle person will suffer hunger. ~ Proverbs 19:5

Through sloth the roof sinks in, and through indolence the house leaks. ~ Ecclesiastes 10:18

My desire is to learn to be diligent – in the areas of homemaking, homeschooling, parenting, wifery and spiritual discipline. But that’s a lot! And I’m weak! How does one go about LEARNING to be diligent?

I’m not sure, but I can see the things that have worked on in the past to bring improvement, so perhaps continued practice can lead to further improvement?

Diligence is STEADY–that means consistent, reliable, and at a measured pace. That does NOT mean that I clean the kitchen every day for a week and then not at all for two days. Heaven knows that ONLY TWO days is more than enough time for a week’s worth of work to vaporize into thin air! That does not mean that I correct and train the kids two times in a row but bury my head in my hands and pretend I didn’t hear the third one. That does NOT mean that I can work on my relationship with my husband *some* of the time, either. I don’t have to be Super Woman, I can stop and rest, but consistency is key. And that takes practice. And commitment. Like Nike, “Just do it!” And then keep doing it at a manageable but sufficient pace – it’s a marathon, not a race!

Diligence is EARNEST –that means whole-heartedly, intentionally and sincerely. I know that I have tasks that I don’t look forward to and so I approach them half-heartedly. (Take laundry, for example. Ohhh, I despise laundry.) It is so hard for me to tackle the laundry with any degree of earnestness. But I think about Colossians 3:23, “Work HEARTILY, as for the Lord and not for men.” There are earthly, immediate reasons for every task (if I don’t do laundry, we won’t have clean clothes) but I am reminded that I have a higher employer – He has given me this family to take care of and if I’m going to be diligent in my job, I need to also be intentional and sincere, right?

Diligence is ENERGETIC — yikes! Admittedly, this is probably the hardest for me. I feel so drained and energy-LESS so much of the time. This may be due, in part, to the the extra weight that I am carrying. This is sometimes due to not getting enough sleep (and that’s probably the easiest problem to fix, isn’t it?) There are some days where I just feel completely fatigued and without energy, and I just have to put one foot in front of the other and keep going. These are definitely the days where it is most difficult to be steady and earnest. But again, some of these factors are under my control (bed time, exercise, healthy diet) and I need to make sure that I’m doing what I can to meet this goal.

There’s something to be said for routine, too. I don’t believe you have to be a highly scheduled person to be diligent, but I do know that routine makes it easier to stay on top of things. It’s a lot easier to tackle the kitchen with diligence when it’s been kept up every day. The same is true with all other areas, as well, even parenting and marriage. Not to mention, following a good routine helps reinforce and create good habits.

There’s also something to be said for someone who SEEKS THE LORD with diligence! Deuteronomy 6:17 says, “You shall diligently keep the commandments of the LORD your God, and his testimonies and his statutes, which he has commanded you.” Psalm 119:4 reads, “You have commanded your precepts to be kept diligently.” Also, in Proverbs 8:17 we find, “I love those who love me, and those who seek me diligently find me. (I encourage you to go read those in context!) The Lord wants us to diligently seek HIM, as well–steadily, earnestly, energetically.

I had already been thinking ahead to this week’s discussion and I’ve been working to be more diligent in a lot of areas over the past week. Sometimes it is overwhelming when you consider all the ways that improvement needs to be made. But I challenge you to take some time and make a list of priorities – what things do you need to work on first? What parenting thing, household thing, spiritual thing, and marital thing needs the most attention? Begin there. Pray and seek wisdom, ask your husband, and go from there.

What about you – do you think that a diligent attitude is something that some people are just born with? Is it something God-given? Do you think that we can *learn* to be diligent and that if we ask God to grant us diligence, He will? Leave a comment and tell me.

If you would like to join in, the rules are simple. Link up an encouraging post about marriage with the direct url to the post. Next week’s word is “Encouraging.” Join us then for more Marriage Monday!

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Hey, y’all! I’m Amber and I wear many hats. I drink a ton of coffee and I’m constantly sweeping crumbs off the floor. After 18 years of homeschooling, I’m getting close to graduating my third child and now we are starting over at preschool with our fourth, Lil Miss Mouse. She keeps us young and she’s the main reason for my excessive coffee consumption. Drink up!