I know this is a subject that a lot if not everyone, can relate to because we ALL do it….on various levels. The person with a severe case of this self-inflicted disease will immediately curl up like a ball and wish the earth would open under them. I’ve been known to curl up a few times in my life but somehow that hole that everyone speaks about never opens – that’s just a prayer the good Lord won’t answer so all I’m left with is the SHAME. LOL.
Procrastination, to me is like a barter we “attempt” to make with time – with the expectation that it will slow down just enough to give us an opportunity to do the things that we need to do. But time waits on no one and you are hit with the sudden blow when you realize that five years later, the thing you wanted or were supposed to do is still not done. Many of us try to fool ourselves into believing that we had valid excuses and we try to pass the blame, but really and truly the only person to blame is ourselves.
The repercussions of procrastination can range from being minor to being very severe.
But chances are if you procrastinate in little things and it’s a way of life for you, then you will also procrastinate in things that can have lasting effect on your temporal and even eternal life. Usually, people who live with regret admittedly confess that it’s because they’ve failed to do this or that.
Time is a revealer of things.
The same “time” you tried to barter with, will play back in your mind to show that you missed countless opportunities to complete the task that you had initially set out to do.
Here’s an example of procrastinating over a seemingly small matter. Currently, there are 6-8 weeks (I’ve lost count) of laundry on my bed that need to be folded. Each week, my mom (with narrowed eyes) will pile on the clothes, and I look at her with a sheepish grin and mutter ‘Oh…I was meaning to get to that Mom…I’ll do it before next week”. And don’t you dare judge me because I have the best mom in the world who chooses out of the goodness of her heart to do my laundry…on occasion.
Next week comes and of course I don’t do it (I’m too busy being tired from work and school – both “good excuses”). The sad thing is now I’m sleeping literally on the edge of the bed and seriously contemplating offering my sis a small stipend to downsize that mountain. However, from past experiences, I fear she will say no unless I up my wager, which I think I may have to do because every morning I’m going through the “flinging clothes routine” in a frenzy to get ready for work. Which brings me to another point…..procrastination can cost you money – sometimes a lot of it and most times unnecessarily.
The longer you wait the bigger the task gets (picture the laundry on my bed).
And if you are saying, “Chrisal, you should be ashamed of yourself”, then take a look at your own bed and then lecture me on the merits of “keeping house”…. LOL. I’m generally a very neat person and sometimes even a bit OCD about putting things in a specific place (especially my desk at work), but do you see how procrastination can make me seem? – like a slob. Somehow, I get the feeling I’m not the only one out there…..am I right? LOL.
Another thing I delay in doing is washing the healthy mound of wares after a lavish Sunday lunch. First I say I need time to digest, this takes about 3 hours in front of the TV. After that time, I begin to feel the eyes of my mom piercing into the back of my head because she’s fighting to hold back some choice words. When she can’t take it anymore, she opens her mouth and I then use one of the most exhausted excuses ever spoken – “Mom, I’ll get to it…..you don’t ever give me a chance”. After this, I usually fall asleep on the couch (I blame this on her exceptional cooking, you can’t move a stitch after).
So between “digesting” and sleeping, about 7 hours has passed and I find myself at 11pm (while everyone else is sleeping) washing the dishes…Oh joy.
I know that when we have an innumerable amount of things to do, we feel overwhelmed thinking we will never be able to finish.
Then you go around telling everyone “oh there is so much on my plate right now – blah blah blah”. This sucks you into a vortex that has you “looking” busy but in fact you are busy doing nothing. When I have a lot of things to do, I make a list and its not just something I scribble on a piece of paper that gets swept away. I either email myself or use a phone app (like Evernote), and this helps me see everything that I have to do in one place, prioritize and check off as I go along. If you are like me, and you don’t like to have things outstanding, then you want to check off items quickly. Strangely enough, I never add laundry and dish washing to the list…come on, that would just be unseemly! LOL.
Now these scenarios don’t happen all of the time, but let’s just say if I were to count on one hand how many times it has happened, I would be able to hold a glass with ease. The Holy Spirit talks to us even in the littlest areas in our lives. He has told me already, “Chrisal….why don’t you just wash the wares earlier?” When this happens, my mom will usually look at me with saucer shaped eyes, a sly grin and say in an almost sing-song tone – “Don’t forget to use the brillo pads on the baking pans Chris.” I must admit though, the dishes are a lot more co-operative at 5pm than they are at midnight………it’s a good thing dishes can’t talk :-/
Now these can be considered very minor issues to procrastinate over – however if I were a wife with kids, then this would be totally unacceptable. Here are some more serious matters that people tend to procrastinate over….
1) A business idea
A lot of people have business ideas that only exist in their head. Some manage to transfer it to paper but it doesn’t develop beyond that. I think some people enjoy the high they get from starting a thing but lose zeal and never finish. One thing is true, while you are busy doing nothing with that idea, someone else is busy developing the same idea. Consider this, you are walking down the street, thinking happy thoughts then your eye catches the name of a store that immediately rocks you to your core. You stop in amazement because the person you see behind the cash register should be you – of course the business name is different but the concept is indeed the idea that you had, being a reality for someone else. Word gets outs and everyone is raving about this “new store” and you are itching to tell everyone “I thought of it first” but better sense prevails because it just sounds pathetic and is better left unsaid.
2) Living a life sold out for the Lord Jesus Christ.
People procrastinate in giving their lives over to God – they say “tomorrow, I’ll do it or next year”, “After I finish school or get married or settle down.” Hmmm, these are indeed very presumptuous statements to make. How do you know that you will live to see tomorrow?
Tomorrow is not promised to anyone – repent and serve the Lord now while you still have life.
3) Sometimes we procrastinate because of sheer laziness.
I’m not referring to the times where we are genuinely tired and just can’t be bothered – I’m referring to the habit of being lazy and slothful. The Bible cautions us about this type of behaviour. Proverbs 10:26 reads “As vinegar to the teeth and smoke to the eyes, So is the lazy man to those who send him” Ouch!! Have you ever tasted vinegar – where the edge you feel on your teeth makes your face contort with long lasting blood-shot effects of tear filled eyes?? Imagine, God compares a lazy man to this.
Let’s face it, when you want to get a job done, you look for the best and brightest because you know they would put out their best. No one wants the “lazy man” – ask yourself…..”am I that man?” If you are truthful and your response is yes then no need to fear, there is hope for you. I will share with you the secret of overcoming laziness. Ok listen up, come closer, yes closer so I can whisper it in your ear….just “STOP IT”. LOL. Stop doing nothing and start doing something. Now for some, laziness is as a result of a spiritual issue like depression or heaviness but even in this case, prayer can deliver you from ALL bondages of the enemy so don’t accept it…EVER!
4) Fulfilling your purpose
Now there are some of us who know exactly what God has called us to do and some of us may have a fair idea. In my experience, God reveals His purpose to you along the way as you walk in faith. You would find that persons may approach you to do certain things – it can be as simple as being an usher, doing the announcements, teaching Sunday school, lecturing a class or even writing an article. I’m not saying that everything someone asks you to do is part of your purpose, but I’m saying as an individual that you would know when a particular task has merit and gives you fulfillment, and I’m saying don’t take those tasks lightly and don’t delay in doing them but accept them with joy, knowing that they play a part in God’s work in and through your life.
The things God will have us to do are for our benefit, but more so for the benefit of others.
As a wise friend once told me, “we find time for the things we really wanna do.” This a very true statement and worthy of all acceptance. Be thankful if you have family and friends in your life that can “give it to your straight”. So, if you keep asking God “Lord, what will you have me do, I don’t know what my purpose is,” stop and think about the opportunities that have gone, the times when you said you were too busy or “just not feeling it” or the things you never got around to finishing. Maybe, just maybe God was in it and consider that all this time you had God “on hold.” If that be the case, pick up now – He’s still on the line.
A word of encouragement on Christian behaviour: Romans 12:11 states we should “not be lagging in diligence but be fervent in spirit – serving the Lord”.
I hope these pointers help you and if per chance you’re wondering how long it took for me to write this article…..let’s just say I’m still looking for ‘the hole’ to fall into so I won’t have to answer that question.
Image 1 Credit: shutterstock/PathDoc
Image 2 Credit: shutterstock/Anson0618