Procrastination: The Wide Open Window of Missed Opportunity

Sleeping

Ephesians 5:15 -17: Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is.

I woke up the other morning with the most bizarre image stuck in my brain. I’m not sure if it was the tail-end of a dream, or if it was the morning musings of my thoughts as I was waking up, but here it is:

I was looking at a man sitting in a row of seats in a movie theater.  He was totally alone in the theater, stuffing his face with popcorn.  Some of the popcorn was missing his mouth because he was so engrossed in the film on the screen that he didn’t always make the hand-to-mouth connection.  As I looked to the screen, I realized that he was watching his own life being played out onscreen.  He was enthralled just watching it all play out.  In my mind, I remember thinking to myself how sad it is that he was a spectator of his own story.  He should have playing the role of Actor/ Writer/ Director, like many of the famous Hollywood actors of today.

All morning long I could not get that image of the man watching his life onscreen out of my head.

Flash forward about 8 hours.  I had made a commitment to myself that on Saturday I was going to write for two hours.  But then something happened.  I didn’t “feel it”.  I had no inspiration or great ‘wowsy’ ideas of what to write about.  And instead of cultivating a good writer’s habit, I procrastinated and did something else.

Instead of being diligent and making myself go write, I decided to do this instead:

Mulching.jpg

Wow, you gotta’ be desperate to rake mulch over sitting on a comfy couch with a cup of tea and write for an hour or two!

So what is the takeaway here?

“If you wait for perfect conditions, you’ll never get anything done!”(Ecclesiastes 11:4 LB)

I should have pressed past the imperfect condition of lack of inspiration and just gone upstairs to write.  Waiting for the ethereal moment caused me more pain in the end!

If we know that we are prone to procrastination, how can we overcome it? What is going to be the hook that keeps us on the line of our inner commitments?

I believe that the solution is two-fold: 1) We need a vision for what we will accomplish when we follow through and 2) We need to remember why we made the commitment in the first place.

For me, the entire time I was raking mulch, I was having an inner argument with myself. I was being double minded.  I knew what I should be doing, but I was choosing something that fought against my inner commitments.

“A double minded man is unstable in all he does.”  (James 1:8 LB)

If I had kept the vision of my goal in the forefront of my mind, I wouldn’t have waffled when decision time came.  My vision is that I want post at least twice a week on my blog.  If I don’t write on the weekends, posts don’t happen.

And if that vision wasn’t enough, I could have reminded myself why I need to write regularly – it keeps the juices flowing, it keeps my blog populated with current posts, and it cultivates the lifelong habit of writing.

“Lazy people want much but get little, while the diligent are prospering.”(Proverbs 13:4 LB)

(Boy, I wish had this blog written before the weekend!  I could have talked myself out of mulching if I had given this all more thought at the time!)

Procrastination turns us into bystanders in our own life, like the man in my “dream”.  While we should be making purposeful decisions, we end up weakly surrendering to the easy way out of what challenges or frustrates us.  Where we could be charting our course, we find ourselves being tossed around like a beach ball caught in the surf.  The Lord has opened the way for us to be able to get our road map from Him and then make conscious movement toward our goals. But we must determinedly choose the path of self-discipline in place of procrastination.  It’s not easy, but it’s do-able.

Now you:

  • Would you classify yourself as an occasional procrastinator or is this your default?
  • What are you afraid of? What about the thing you’re putting off do you dread?
  • If you find that putting things off to a later date is your modus operandi, you might need some accountability in this area.  I encourage you to bring a friend into your accountability circle and tell them what you struggle with.  You might want to share some of your goals ask them to hold you accountable for following through on your plans.

I love this commercial because I can totally relate to the attempt to put off everything that seems like it might be distasteful or difficult.

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