Just before Easter I checked out a DVD from the seminary library. And…I’m late returning it. I’m sitting in my office at the church staring at the case simply waiting to be taken back to it’s proper place. It’s too late to take it back today, but I will take it back tomorrow. At least that’s the plan. It’s just like the plan I had before Easter. And the plan I had on Monday. And the plan I had for today. And now I’m making plans to take it back tomorrow. I’m sure I’ll follow-through and take it back tomorrow. Then again, I was sure about taking it back on Friday, Saturday, Monday, and today. But tomorrow will be different…won’t it? I want it to be different and I need it to be different, but will it?
Procrastination. We’ve all done it. Most of us had good intentions to get something done or to go somewhere, but for some reason, didn’t. Why is that? Why do we “put off for tomorrow what can be done today”? Do these tasks simply fall lower and lower each day on the priority rankings of all the tasks I have to get done today or is it that I just don’t want to do it, so I put it off over and over again until I receive enough pain (or fines) that I think, “now I better take it back before I have to pay a lot of money for this overdue DVD?”
For some of us, other tasks get in the way…more important tasks. We prioritize our day and it just didn’t make the cut. Others of us simply dread doing the task and so we just don’t do it. Procrastination is just one part of our lives that makes life more difficult. Procrastinating is an act that is seemingly designed not to overload you, but it’s effect actually does overload you. Procrastination appears to keep the load bearable, when it actually just delays the inevitable. Procrastination piles and piles and piles tasks on your plate until all you have are tasks that you’ve put off for days, weeks, months, even years and now you can’t move in the present because of your past.
Procrastination has a rippling effect as well. It not only effects you and all that’s on your plate each and every day, but others’ plates. Procrastinating constipates (forgive the term) the plans of everyone else because they have to wait on you. Procrastination is a selfish act that, although it seems you’re doing nothing, stems from selfishness and self-centeredness. It is not God-focused or others’-focused, it is you focused.
God calls us to live simple lives. He doesn’t want us to live complicated and complex lives that keep us in a state of confusion and panic and frustration. That’s not the life of faith He’s calling you to live. What is it that you’ve put off? What needs to get done, but you keep putting it off? Take out your calendar and find a day or two in which you will commit to spending it getting things done. This will free you up to do more for the present and stop serving the past so much.
Heavenly Father, give me the discipline and determination to be responsible to You in this gift of life You have given me. Show me when and how to get these things done. Help me to not feel overwhelmed because You are in control and now I commit to honoring You through being responsible. Amen.