I pride myself in keeping a clean house. Without notice, someone could stop in and even tour my home without stepping over withering piles of clothes, junk or garbage. No raised eyebrows would I endure from an impromptu guest, shocked at what she sees, because I manage to pick up after myself.
Dishes are washed, laundry is done and my house is mess-free… except for my downstairs workbench, as my picture shows. This area is my eyesore; the one disorganized pile that I haven’t touched. And it keeps getting worse because I use it as my catch-all landing place for house stuff, hidden away in the dark like a dirty secret.
Why? Because like so many of us, I am guilty of the habit of procrastination. This is the mind-game that we play, telling ourselves that we can put off doing something until “later.” Unfortunately, the habitual delay of not completing overdue projects can have a crippling effect on our lives. If we allow ourselves to chronically cave to the lulling promise of “later,” then projects stockpile, bills and paperwork accumulate and the longer we wait, the larger things loom. We eventually find ourselves overwhelmed and totally disheartened.
Overcoming chronic procrastination requires identifying its appeal, denying its root causes and then adopting a “now” mentality. We can then be free from guilty feelings and feel empowered by a sense of accomplishment that propels us forward.
Let’s see what the Bible says about procrastination. “Therefore, to one who knows the right thing to do, and does not do it, to him it is sin.” (James 4:17) This says that we know what we are supposed to do. For some reason, we don’t want to do it though. Fear, disinterest or, downright laziness stops us. So rather than face our sin, we trick our minds into saying “I’ll do it later.” Now we have given ourselves an excuse and we are off the hook. Eventually we have to admit that the longer we wait, the larger the task gets and the guiltier we feel. The Bible says that inaction is as much of a sin as wrong action. Ouch!
So it is a new year and now is our call to action! Muster the self-discipline to call out fear, laziness and guilt. Embrace a desire for healing to move beyond the mountainous piles of projects. The fix is found in this scripture. “For God does not give us a spirit of timidity (fear), but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline.” (2 Timothy 1:7) This says that God will give us the love that we need to overcome our relational procrastination, such as calling to talk to someone that we have avoided. He gives us the power to move on our practical projects, such as finishing that remodeling job. And the self-discipline to carry out the things that we know we need to do. God will give us the ability to exert power even in the little things. By His Spirit, we can have a clear, organized mind. We can become motivated to accomplish our tasks and personal goals. A sense of victory and accomplishment will energize us to complete more on our “to do” list. We can gain a sense of pride when we see ourselves becoming pro-active. We will work to head off problems before they snowball and work smart to save time and money. This is love, power and self-discipline in motion.
Like my workbench, let’s take it piece by piece, put everything in its place and eventually clean it up. Let’s stop giving ourselves the pleasure of procrastination, stop making excuses, and learn to live higher by believing for God’s power to accomplish what we know we need to do.