If procrastination was a talent, I’d win every talent show. I like deadlines and I work best when a deadline is dangling mere hours (or minutes) away. It’s just the way I work. Until the deadline is close enough to see, I will bide my time with other tasks.
I’m not the only one who works like this. In the (in)courage blog “The Faithful Lesson in Procrastination,” Tsh Oxenreider says that she has been struggling with procrastination as the deadline of her book approaches.
She writes, “I suddenly need to scrub the bathroom sink, menu plan for an entire month, look into that itchy spot on my back, change my desktop wallpaper. Anything but, you know, write.”
How many of us can relate to that?
Crosswalk writer Glynnis Whitwer absolutely understands. “...faced with a choice between two tasks, my tendency is to choose whichever seems easier. I tend to put off what’s difficult until I ‘feel more like it.’ But that day never comes because I never feel like organizing my tax information or tackling projects that highlight my weak areas."
Why is it that we cannot bring ourselves to progress with the most pressing things, choosing instead to procrastinate with tasks of less importance?
Oxenreider answers, “Because big things — like book-writing, or sending our kids to a new school, or saying no to an opportunity that will most likely disappoint someone — ask us to risk.”
She then gives the best definition of “risk” I have ever heard: “Risk: To take action with big faith.”
This concept, while beautiful, is also scary. To take on those the big things requires faith bigger than yourself.
As Oxenreider writes, “...I put off those things that ask of me big risk, because it requires of me a faith that is bigger than me. It’s as though Jesus really knew how hard this is for us mortals when He asked His disciples in the boat: “Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?”
Do we still have no faith? After all that Jesus has done for us, our faith should be unlimited. And yet we still struggle and doubt, offering only our small, human faith.
But God will take our “minuscule, mustard seed-sized faith” and use it to His glory. “God loves to work wonders with whatever we bring,” Oxenreider says.
If you are a procrastinator, it will go against every natural impulse to get started on one of those big projects. But when we do, we are giving God an opening to provide us with what we need, whether it is the words, courage, wisdom, or discernment.
Oxenreider says, “Taking action, even with tiny faith, is giving God an opportunity to show up.”
Stop procrastinating and step out in faith by letting God in. Only then will He be able to show you his goodness and give His good gifts.
Your Turn: Do you tend to shy away from important tasks? What motivates you to stop procrastinating and get started?
Carrie Dedrick is the Family Editor of Crosswalk.com.
Publication date: October 30, 2015