I’m a procrastinator. Yep, there, I said it. This trait doesn’t describe me generally, but its one of the hidden struggles those nearest and dearest see all too frequently. I’ve become comfortable with it in my life. In many ways, procrastination walks with me like an old friend but instead of encouraging he belittles and tears me down.
I spent the last month trying to capture my thoughts and allowing the Holy Spirit to renew my mind. During that time, He began to reveal some areas in my life that needed to be cleaned out. My close companion, procrastination, needed to go.
When I was in college, Dr. Falwell loved to quote Lk. 9:62. “Put your hand to the plow and don’t look back,” he’d say. He was encouraging us to stay on task. Warning us to not get distracted by life, but to stay focused on the prize before us.
I like to think of myself as a pretty focused person. I have goals set and I’m running toward them. I have plans that I’m working to fulfill. And, I’m pretty good at hiding procrastination in a closet when there’s a time crunch.
As much as I’d like to see myself as focused, I also know that I am a master when it comes to distractions. Opposites, I know. I guess I’m a confused person. I’m in pretty good company. The apostle Paul once said, “I am not practicing what I would like to do, but I am doing the very thing I hate.” That’s me! I don’t want to procrastinate. I want to accomplish, I want to complete projects and goals. Not start something and leave it sitting on a shelf.
Paul goes on to say, “The wishing is present in me, but the doing of the good is not. For the good that I wish (to do) I do not do; but I practice the very evil that I do not wish.” I see areas in my life that are not healthy for me and yet I often choose to nourish those areas instead of starve them out.
Here’s an embarrassing confession. About 10 years ago, I made the cutest dolls for my girls. That is, if you consider headless dolls to be cute. For 10 years, these dolls, minus heads, have been in a box reminding me of my failure. I have reasons (fear of ruining the project, an international move, language school, homeschooling, starting and running a business, ministry, etc.) for not completing this task, none of them good. Making or not making dolls isn’t the issue, but the symptom of something I’ve allowed to run wild and free in my life. And I don’t like it.
It gets really personal and hard hitting when Paul adds, “But if I am doing the very thing I do not wish, I am no longer the one doing it, but sin which dwells in me.” When I know there is something I ought to be doing but fail to do it, that is my sinful nature at work and I am willfully allowing it. I am no longer walking in victory, but defeat. Too often I find myself at this place, held hostage by the war inside of me.
This month, I’ve challenged myself not to just clean, but to rip out the closet where procrastination has made its home. This means I have to recognize those triggers which lead me to put things off. I may have to confront laziness and personal desire. I may have to say no to new activities and projects so that I can safeguard my time. I may have get up earlier or stay up later to accomplish certain tasks. I may even have to remove distractions, like the internet, for a short time. But I’m ready to put my hands to the plow and not look back.