Why Do Today What I Can Put Off Until Tomorrow?
A Procrastinator's Blogpost About Procrastination
- Saturday, February 27, 2016
If it wasn't after midnight and if I weren't suffering from terrible insomnia, I would not be writing. No one is expecting me to write. In fact the people closest to me probably expect me not to write. But, it's not that I don't write. I write. Believe me I write. I have written enough to earn four expensive pieces of paper that hang on my wall...two of which required me to write a book (neither will or should ever be published, and one of them should not even be read). So, I write. But I write under duress. I need deadlines. I need threats. I need to know that if I don't complete my writing I will have flushed thousands of dollars down the proverbial toilet. Other than that...I don't write.
I am a procrastinator, and if there is no deadline, then procrastinating never ends. In fact I have intended to write this blog for some time, but I have just never gotten around to it. Some people say that they procrastinate because they work better under pressure. I've definitely used that line. And perhaps there are people out there who actually do perform better under pressure, but I would say that I perform equal to worse under pressure than I would without the pressure. I don't wait until the last minute because I want to do better at my work. I wait until the last minute, because I don't want to do my work. I want to do other things that are more attractive, easier, less meaningful, or more fun. I don't usually fill my non-working hours with productivity, unless you would count watching Justin Timberlake's duet with Chris Stapleton productive (and I can see how you would).
Work is work, and if I don't have to do it right now, then I won't. The parts of my job that don't feel like work don't ever get procrastinated. If you ask me to preach I will drop everything and preach right now. Ask me a question about the Bible or Theology...you will get a timely response. Post something I disagree with on facebook (even if I only disagree slightly) and you will get a dissertation length response (most of which are never posted, because I am learning self-control. Speaking of which, I have become a much kinder and gentler internet arguer over the past few years).
The problem with neglecting the necessary is that much of life involves things that we would rather do later, or not do at all. Genesis 3:19 tells us that life involves labor, toil, strife, heartache, pain, and ultimately death. (What can I say, I have the gift of encouragement). Because of the curse of sin we live by the sweat of our brow. Life is work, and work we must. When we procrastinate we think we are escaping from the result of the fall. In fact our lives are filled with escape attempts. Addiction, greed, envy, anger, pride, gossip, and many other sinful behaviors could be added to sloth (a.k.a procrastination) as attempts to run from the pain and toil of life that is the effect of sin.
So what is the remedy for procrastination? Would it be too preacherly (yes that's a word) of me to suggest that the gospel is the remedy. Christ did not put off the work that he was given. The work he was given is the direct result of sin and yet he embraced it fully. He took on flesh and was obedient even to the point of death on the cross (Phil 2) to pay a debt he did not owe. No hesitation, no procrastination, he embraced the work of defeating sin and death. Because he completed the work he was given, his name is exalted above every name.
Jesus's victory over sin and death means that you do not need to escape the labor of this life. There is no reason to put off until tomorrow what you can accomplish today. When Christ rose from the grave he redeemed work and removed the need for procrastination. Adam worked with the expectation that he would return to dust. Those who are in Christ work with the expectation that they will see Christ face to face and live with him forever. There are no threats or deadlines as motivation. Grace is the motivation. Because Jesus has conquered sin and death we have no need to escape. When you have already won you don't try to escape. Those in Christ have no need to try to escape the work and toil that is associated with this life. No created thing can beat you if you are in Christ. So stop running. Stop procrastinating. Work hard until your work is done, because Christ has completed the work of redemption.
"Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and sin that clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfector of our faith, who, for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God." Hebrews 12:1–2