I may be projecting here in asking this question, but do you ever have trouble doing things that you don’t want to do, like cleaning or decluttering the house, planning and cooking meals, or working on a project?
If you’re like me, you may procrastinate a lot – or you might procrastinate just a little – in what’s probably an unconscious effort to avoid things that seem boring, unpleasant or overwhelming.
You may have tried different ways to motivate yourself, such as setting goals, using apps, rewarding yourself or making a game out of it. I know I have, and some of you have even read about my efforts when I discussed them in earlier columns. But sometimes, these methods aren’t enough to break the procrastination habit.
So what can we do when we face this issue? How can we start doing what we need to do? I am believing that the answer is to turn to God and ask for his help. I have done that before, but I am thinking that it has not been wholehearted. I want to change that.
With this in mind, here are some biblical principles that can help us dawdlers stop dillydallying and become more dynamic and faithful stewards of our time and resources.
– Remember that God has a purpose for our lives. Procrastination often comes from a lack of vision or direction. We may feel that what we are doing is meaningless or insignificant. But the Bible tells us that God has a plan for each of us, that he has prepared good works for us to do (Ephesians 2:10) and that we can do them for his glory and honor. When we remember that God has given us a purpose, we can find motivation and joy in doing his will.
– Rely on God’s strength and wisdom. Procrastination often results from a lack of confidence. We may feel that we’re not capable or qualified to do what is needed. But the Bible assures us that God gives us the power to do all things through Christ who strengthens us (Philippians 4:13). He also gives us the wisdom to know how to do things well if we ask him in faith (James 1:5).
– Seek God’s guidance. Procrastination often arises from a lack of clarity or priority. We may not know what to do first or how to do it best. But the Bible teaches us that God is our guide and counselor. He leads us in the right paths for his name’s sake and also instructs us in the way we should go (Psalm 23:3 and Psalm 32:8). When we seek God’s direction, we can discern what is important and urgent and what is not, and we can follow his steps with sureness.
– Submit to God’s authority and accountability. Procrastination often reflects a lack of discipline or responsibility. We may not want to do what we ought to do because we are lazy, rebellious or selfish. Ouch. Those are harsh words, and my index finger is pointed right back at myself.
But the Bible reminds us that God is our authority and judge. He commands us to be diligent and faithful in all that we do (Matthew 25:21). He also holds us accountable for how we use our time and talents (Romans 14:12). When we submit to God in these areas, we can develop a sense of duty and stewardship that compels us to do what is right.
Of course, other factors may contribute to procrastination, such as disorganization or distractions. But these are not insurmountable obstacles if we seek God’s help. He can change our hearts, renew our minds and transform our lives. He can help us stop postponing and start doing what he wants us to do.
So next time procrastination beckons, I am praying that I don’t give in to temptation. If you are among the loiterers, I’m praying for you, too. Instead of delaying, let’s turn to God and ask for his help. He will give us the strength, guidance, drive and discipline we need to accomplish his will for our lives.
Memory verse: “And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him” – Colossians 3:17, NKJV.
Sallie Rose Hollis lives in Ruston and retired from Louisiana Tech as an associate professor of journalism and the assistant director of the News Bureau. She can be contacted at email@example.com.