I had a random memory the other day… Anyone who grew up in the 70’s remember Psssssst? I have a specific memory of the stuff. When I was about six years old, our family had to go somewhere (church, maybe, or out to eat?), and I had come in from playing outside. My hair was oily and dirty, as a boy’s hair often is, and there wasn’t time to get a bath or shower, so my exasperated mom pulled out an aerosol can and sprayed its contents generously on my hair. As if by magic, my hair was (relatively) clean and no longer oily. I was stunned! I asked my mom what the stuff, which I noticed was called Psssssst, was; she replied, “dry shampoo.”
She might as well have parted the Red Sea. This stuff was a miracle! You probably could have seen the wheels turning in my head. I had it all figured out; there was an easier way. I no longer needed to wash my hair. I decided to put my theory to work: the next night, I took a bath and didn’t wash my hair. When my mom noticed, she asked me why I didn’t wash my hair. My reply was, “I’ll just use that spray stuff.” She marched me right back into the bathroom, where I had to wash my hair.
One night later, I figured I’d beat her at this game; I went ahead and sprayed that junk on my hair before I got out of the tub. Somehow, she was on to me. She asked me what I was doing, as if she didn’t really know, and she proceeded to explain to me that the dry shampoo didn’t really clean your hair, that it just masked the dirt and oil. “It’s a quick fix,” she said. “You still have to wash your hair.” And I did still have to wash my hair that night…and every night of my life since.
What’s the point of this story? I think it’s a natural human tendency to take the easy way, and I think we’re all prone to laziness in some way or another. How many get rich quick schemes are out there? How about quick weight loss scams and quick workouts that just don’t seem to get the job done? The human race is drawn to the easy, lazy way out of too many situations, from Adam and Eve (“You’ll be just like God…just take one bite.”) all the way down to all of us today (“I lost 40 pounds in 6 weeks,” as the fine print on the screen reads: Results Not Typical).
There’s a saying we’ve all heard: “Nothing worthwhile is easy.” It’s not entirely true; some things are easy, but much of the most rewarding and worthwhile things in life take some effort. I know this from personal experience. If I expended as much effort losing weight, getting in better shape, or cleaning the house as I have trying to find easy ways and shortcut to them, I’d be much better looking, and my book and CD shelves wouldn’t be so dusty. And I’d still have clean hair. But I believe the default human position is to look for the easy, comfortable way…and, let’s face it, to be lazy.
Proverbs is chock full of warnings against laziness: “Lazy hands make a man poor, but diligent hands bring wealth” (Proverbs 10:4 NIV), to name but one. To get the most out of this abundant life we’re promised takes effort, diligence, and discipline. We should break out of the cycle of laziness and comfort and stop trying to find the easy way to live our lives.