by Nikki Elliott
“Lazy people want and crave much but will get little, but those who are diligent and work hard will prosper and have something to show for their lives.”
- Proverbs 13:4
I am a master of procrastination. I have the hardest time getting started on things and as a result I am often scrambling at the last minute to meet due dates and deadlines. I seem to employ my greatest procrastination tactics when I have a writing assignment due. Instead of refocusing my efforts when I hit a writer’s block, I will waste time changing the font, reformatting the heading, or creating an unnecessary cover page. I know my writing assignment is in real trouble, though, when I leave my work altogether and procrastinate by baking, cleaning, or, my personal favorite, working out.
As much as I like to tell myself that reorganizing my desk drawers, going to the gym, and changing the typeface from Times New Roman will get my paper done faster, I know that these are just aversion schemes derived from my own indecision and fear of failure, and that sooner or later I am going to have to get down to business.
I often procrastinate when it comes to my faith life too—holding grudges against those who have hurt me instead of first forgiving them, telling myself that next year I will give up sweets for Lent, making excuses that I am too busy to go on a retreat right now, or promising that someday I will give more priority to the time I devote to God. I instinctively hesitate to act on the things that I am uncertain about or that I fear I might fail at, and sometimes I let procrastination keep me from doing what I know I should do right away. What I don’t always realize, though, is that this behavior takes advantage of God’s precious gift of time and impedes opportunities to grow closer to Him. Fortunately, God is supremely generous and infinitely patient. He gives us all that we need to respond to His loving call but lets us do so in our own way and on our own time. Now I cannot promise that I won’t still wait to write a paper until the night before it is due, but my procrastination tendencies don’t seem as tempting when I remember that God gives me exactly what I need to get started, move ahead, and finish in due time.
Dear Lord, I ask for the strength to live with confidence, the obedience to work with diligence, and the courage to turn my back on procrastination so that I may make the most of Your precious gift of time. Help me remember that You are with me and will give me all that I need as I work through my own fear, doubt, and uncertainty. May everything that I do be done in Your name and with the purpose to praise You and love You more fully. Amen.