Why is it that we struggle so much with doing what we are supposed to? Or should I say why do I struggle so much with doing what I’m supposed to… when I’m supposed to do it?
Why am I a procrastinator? It’s one of those “a strength taken to excess becomes a weakness” deals. You see, I’m pretty flexible and can improvise my way through a lot of stuff.
You need someone to teach a Bible story to the kids in five minutes? No problem, what’s the topic? The computer locked up and we need to throw in a song with simpler lyrics? No problemo, what key do you want it in? Would you like fries with that?
Sometimes this ability to fly by the seat of my pants comes back to bite me… well, in the seat of my pants! This weekend was an example. I had the privilege and
honor of leading a worship team at a retreat for foster kids from Fri-Sun: one 20-minute set of music each morning. It went well, and we had a great time. BUT, Saturday wasn’t as smooth as it could have been, and it was primarily my fault because of the whole procrastination thing.
You see, although I’m “Mr. Fly by the Seat of Your Pants”, the rest of our worship team could use a little more notice about the music we’re doing. In particular, our bass player, Anna, likes to have a little extra lead time – she still feels like a novice since she just started playing a few years ago for our “KidZTown” team.
Anna is also an artist (a really great painter actually) and she knew she was going to be busy at an art show all week. She told me weeks ago that she would appreciate if I could get her the song list (and the keys I was planning on playing in) a little early.
So, you can probably guess what happened. Although I knew the batch of songs that I was picking from, I didn’t nail down Saturday’s and Sunday’s sets until Friday afternoon, after we’d already played Friday morning. Dohhhhh!
The Saturday morning set actually went fine and everyone told us we did a good job, but we (Anna and I) felt out of synch. You ever have that happen? You feel like you are floundering, yet people tell you later what a great job you did? It was like that… and I hate that floundering feeling, because I know I did it to myself!
Sometimes I wonder if the Apostle Paul struggled with procrastination too. Maybe this was one of the issues he was talking about in Romans 7:15-25 where he went on his famous “what I want to do, I do not do, but what I hate I do” rant? (If Paul had television available, I would guess that really may have been the case!)
Paul understood that we have a choice daily whether to do what comes easy and natural (even if it’s good) or that which might be harder work, but is ultimately more important. He was onto something when he wrote:
“Be very careful, then, how you live – not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish but understand what the Lord’s will is.” Eph. 5:15-17
The days being “evil” doesn’t necessarily mean we’re doing wicked stuff – it can just mean we’ve replaced “the best” with “good enough”. I know those times when I’m being “unwise” and not making “the most of every opportunity”:
- I leave comments on someone else’s blog post instead of working on my own
- I work on filing and cleaning my desk rather than putting time into the planning I need for my day job and/or the website I want to setup
- I hang out on Facebook and Twitter instead of working on the book that I’m trying to write (I can’t really say I’m “writing” it yet — I have the outline and not much else)
- I spend time watching TV instead of… well, pretty much anything would be an improvement over watching TV!
Yes, I procrastinate. Yes, my procrastination is partially rooted in fear – I don’t want to make a mistake on the important stuff, so I don’t even start. And yes, I beat myself up when I fail. Thankfully, this isn’t how the story has to end:
“What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death? Thanks be to God – through Jesus Christ our Lord.” Romans 7:24-25
“Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death.” Romans 8:1-2
In God’s timing, my failure can be used for good. Did you catch that earlier? Though I felt like I was struggling Saturday, those that were being ministered to really appreciated what our team was doing. God was still working HIS PURPOSES even when I felt like a failure.
Sort of like Jesus, who cried out “my God, my God… why have you forsaken me?” as he was hanging on the cross, doing the most incredible work ever in history.
With God’s power, I can stop procrastinating. I really should do that. Maybe I’ll start tomorrow…..
Do you suffer from the procrastination bug? What do you do to get over it?