Lazy is a Four-Letter Word


B_SARS-750I live in a crunchy-granola-chickenfarm-commune with two of my sisters, my niece and my nephew.

In my house we don’t believe in bad words.

Words are neither good nor bad. Words are just words. The only distinction in our house is that words are not bad, but they are often offensive.

Most of the four-letter words are fair game—those ones aren’t so terribly offensive on the Joslyn Farm. If the saying is true, then we swear like sailors.

But there are a few words we’re working on banishing from our cozy chicken farm.

One of those words is LAZY.

In my house you can damn things and shout words that usually involve asterisks, but please, please don’t use the word lazy.

It’s a hard habit to break.

You see, we grew up learning we could never be enough. Not quiet enough. Not obedient enough. Not smart enough. Without being told, we all learned to work harder, faster, later into the night—maybe we could eventually collect enough points to be GOOD ENOUGH. (But I haven’t seen it happen yet.)

We learned that rest was LAZY.

But that’s not the TRUTH.

The truth is my sister Adina comes home from an 8-hour day of running a jackhammer that weighs more than she does and she fixes the fence and mows the lawn. When she falls into bed at 7pm and mumbles that she is “feeling so lazy,” I remind her that isn’t the TRUTH. I remind her that she is allowed to REST. I remind her that we don’t live in our childhood home any longer—we don’t have to be afraid of not being good enough.

The truth is my sister Joanna takes the one-hour bus ride to Seattle every day to attend her Arabic intensive course. She studies as much as possible and spends a couple of hours cooking dinner for our clan—food you can only dream of. She makes sure her daughter gets a ride to the mall and her son gets plenty of snuggle time. Sometimes she falls asleep with her textbook. She chides herself for feeling too lazy to tackle the mountain range of dishes. But she isn’t lazy, she’s amazing! She is a living, breathing Wonder Woman. She is ENOUGH.

The truth is I’ve said YES to too many things. I’ve been living a spectacular existence: traveling and adventuring and collecting, collecting, collecting—supplies for my tiny house, interesting new friends and a whole pile of freelance projects. Seriously, a ton of projects.

Two months ago I blogged about how much I loved cramming so much life into so few hours.

Two months ago I meant it.

But I’m learning something about my need to say YES—it comes from a deeply rooted need to prove I’m enough. I need to prove I’m not lazy. I need to prove I’m worth having around.

You know what I want to say yes to more often? Nap time. I want to shut down my computer all the way because I have completed my work and I can rest. I want to say yes to rest.

I want to continue being generous with people and adventurous and going along with whatever plans are being made around me, because I really do love cramming my life absolutely full to the brim.

But I think I’ll start all that up again in October. Because right now I’m going on a break. Not a vacation, but a furlough. I’m taking a sabbatical from trying to be enough. I’ll still go to my two jobs every day and that will still take up 50+ hours of my week, but for the other 60 to 70 waking hours I’m going to drink tea and kayak and read novels and finalize the blueprints for my tiny house. And that’s not lazy. Lazy is a bad word—I think I’d rather learn how to use the word Sabbath.

If you need something from me, ask again in October.

Sarah Joslyn
I’m more likely to answer to Sars than Sarah. That’s because years ago my brothers started calling me Sars and, as the name implies, it was infectious. I’m a self-proclaimed writer-photographer-Jesuslover-painter-adventurer-foodie. I have a near obsession with ending injustice and I’m a sucker for a good cause. I blog about life and building a tiny house at
Sarah Joslyn
Sarah Joslyn

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  • Hey, this is beautiful and so true. I’m going through a similar season of practicing rest, and trusting God that he can do quite well at saving the world without my finger in every single pie! Your sisters sound like amazing people!

    • Sarah Joslyn

      Amen, sister!

      And, yes, my sisters are amazing. I am so lucky to be sharing life with them every day.

  • Bev Murrill

    People say I’ve got more energy than someone half my age…

    but I’ll let you in on a secret, Sars….

    Most afternoons….

    I have a sleep, on my bed… for at least half an hour…

    Sometimes even longer!

    I’ve got to know you from your writings and I think you’re so beautiful, so fun, so energetic, so crazy, so enthusiastic…

    One word that never crossed my mind was … lazy…

    Your history is lying to you… again.

    You’re awesome, Sars! Pure, full-blooded AWESOME.

    • Sarah Joslyn

      Bev, you’re the best. And I’m planning on taking a nap today when I’m off work. I think it’s what I need right now. 🙂

  • Holly

    A to the Men! I can’t tell you how much this thrills me to see you walk into this, on your own volition, all the while, understanding how very, very important it is. Sarah, you are many beautiful things to many, many people and projects and I am so glad that you grace the world, especially one that includes me! But one can only go-go-go for so long, no matter how much they may will it. You NEED this in so many ways and for so many reasons. I pray that you will be enriched and enlivened during this intentional time of REST. You’ve lived life to the brim for so long that there is still plenty enough for you to enjoy and soak up from the overflow of your living. Go swim in it.

    • Sarah Joslyn

      Your words. Your beautiful words. Holly, your comments are entire blog posts on their own. Thank you for encouraging me over and over. A to the MEN! xoxo

    • Yes, to everything Holly said! 😉

      • Bethany Olsen

        I third everything that Holly said!! Amen.

  • It takes a lot if faith (& practice) to truly believe that we’re enough – right now, just like this. I think sometimes we’re uncomfortable with the idea that we can’t earn God’s love because it makes us feel powerless. But the truth is that we are loved and we are in the family and that’s incredibly powerful.

    • Sarah Joslyn

      “I think sometimes we’re uncomfortable with the idea that we can’t earn God’s love because it makes us feel powerless.” Yep. This.

      For me, it is taking forming new habits about rest and allowing grace to actually be enough.

      Thank you, Claire.

  • Sandy Hay

    Yes and Amen at the end of every sentence. I’ve learned to look bust although most of the time I am. Like Bev i have LOTS of energy (thanks to 8 full hours of sleep and wonderful genes). Yet that’s not a green light to fill every waking minute. this summer I’ve forced myself to read LOTS of fiction and to make a specific time every day to sit down and read (not just stand at my counter while stirring dinner). Although I don’t use the term lazy, i use other synonyms . They have to go. Thank you Sarah for helping me take a closer look at the four letter words in my head.

    • Sarah Joslyn

      Sandy, I love this. I’m so glad you are taking time to rest and read. That’s what I’m going to do most. 🙂


  • This is fantastic. Sabbath is weaving its way into your heart and your days. You are MORE more and MORE than enough, Beautiful One … We love you for who you are which includes your incredible talents and your heart to serve, but you are more than that even … You are adored simply for being Sarah. I am so grateful that this is becoming revelation for you.

    My mom is one of the most hardworking women I know and yet … she knows when to stop. She happily sits down and reads a magazine and makes a cup of tea. She lives a beautiful balance. I have been wondering, What is her secret? I think we are inching closer to understand this ebb and flow.

    • Sarah Joslyn

      Fearless Leader, you have no idea how much this means to me. Thank you for calling this out in me over and over. *I’m learning.*

      Going to nap today and drink tea and channel your mom. 🙂

  • I wish you could have been a fly on the wall at my house the other day, Sarah. My daughter asked me if a certain expression for “getting mad” that begins with a “p” and ends with an “issed off” was bad to say. I told her it might not be appropriate for every situation. Like school. And around certain relatives. But she thoughtfully replied “how can words be bad? They’re just combinations of letters … ” And she has a point.
    It takes a special kind of thinker to see past the pedantic path laid out for us by both society’s concept of swear words and the ones our inward voices speak to us. I see that you are that kind of thinker – of challenger – and so is my daughter. Walking with you both strengthens me profoundly.
    And with that, I shall have my nap.

    • Sarah Joslyn

      Kelli, that’s fantastic! I hadn’t thought about it that way. I only know there are words that I enjoy exclaiming after a very hard day and words I think tear our little commune apart. And they aren’t the words I was conditioned to use in either situation. 🙂

  • You know how much I love this, Sarah Joslyn. I am so grateful for all that you do, but I am most grateful that you are YOU, and you are ENOUGH. Your worth is inherent; it can’t be added to or subtracted from. Rest in that, love. <3

    • Sarah Joslyn

      You made me cry happy tears. Wahhhhh. I love you, Bethany. Oh so much.

  • Saskia Wishart

    Woot woot! Say yes to REST…

    • Sarah Joslyn


  • I recommend Finding Spiritual Whitespace by Bonnie Gray as a wonderful guidebook for learning how to rest when it’s a four-letter word especially if the tendency to believe that rest=lazy comes from childhood. Love you all sheladylovelies

    • Sarah Joslyn

      Ooooooh. Thank you for the recommendation!!

  • pastordt

    Amen, amen. This scarcity thinking and the fear behind it – well, it’s deadly. Good for you. Enjoy the kayak!

    • Sarah Joslyn

      Thanks Diana!!

  • Megan Gahan

    This piece is stunning my friend. My heart felt a bit raw reading the words spoken over your precious young soul, but I am so freaking proud of the steps you’re taking to rid yourself of the real four letter words. So puh-lease nap and rest and say no and Sabbath and all that goodness. All those things make life rich and worth savoring.

    • Sarah Joslyn

      Thank you, Megs. Thank you so much. xoxo

  • yes, yes, yes. You are one of the hardest working people I know. You don’t just deserve rest (because everyone deserves rest), you need it. Blueprints, coffee and kayaking. Living. Yes!
    You are so valued in your role here, and appreciated, and enough. Oh. Just love you.

    • Sarah Joslyn

      Oh Michaela, how I love you. Thank you. Xoxo

  • Jesus H. Christ

    Jesus Christ said, “Children, I feel the need to tell you that I have just masturbated to Miley Cyrus. And, I’m deeply sorry to admit that it felt good.

    And I mean god fucking damn good!!!!

    So my question to you is, my blessed children, can the Savior of humankind masturbate to a second rate media whore with a flat ass and stinky pussy and still be admired as much as George Bush and Sarah Palin are?

    Because, otherwise, I’ll just have to go back to fucking Judas in his scrawny, hairy ass.”

    Yours in Christ,


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