Avoiding the Paralysis of Procrastination

Do you have a problem with procrastination? In all honesty, I think that entirely avoiding procrastination is nearly impossible in our day and age. Why? We have too many choices! Our lives are full of options and distractions. The difficulty multiplies when our choices have long-term ramifications. So much research and energy goes into making the “right choice” that we endlessly delay making any choices at all.

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photo credit: That Hartford Guy via flickr cc

For example, I have begun to think about replacing my 1998 Honda CRV. It’s been one the best vehicles that I’ve ever owned, but, as life in this world goes, age is beginning to exact its toll. Now, I must reluctantly consider issues of affordability, safety, reliability, maintenance, longevity, usefulness, and appearance—not to mention steering clear of lemons and rip-offs. And, personally, I’d prefer to never own a white vehicle.

From experience, I have learned that making a bad car-buying decision will cost me dearly in time, money, and aggravation. I know I need to make a good choice, but all of these combined issues will probably hinder me from making a decision any time soon.

Procrastination. It often results when we have a vast array of choices—each of which carries the potential for pain or for pleasure. So many options give us the freedom to fill our lives with busyness and activity while trying to avoid pain and discomfort.

What are we to do? I think that the overall path to avoid procrastination is relatively simple, although the actual application will be more involved.

First, we begin by deciding what is most important. In principle, this should be easy because the Bible has already provided us with a love-designed blueprint. We love God first and foremost and we also love others. Our materialistic culture will tell us differently, but something like a tragedy or serious illness will bring the picture clearly into focus. A powerful secret to life is to learn to see clearly when times are good.

We all make value judgments on a daily basis, but are we conscious of what we are doing? Feelings of self-preservation may tell me to avoid conflict at costs, but love will dictate otherwise. All too often, we unconsciously choose self-preservation even though we do genuinely care about others.

photo credit: holisticmonkey via photopin cc
photo credit: holisticmonkey via photopin cc

Second—and this also quite important—we must realize that the idea of perfection is a total myth. If our happiness is dependent upon our circumstances being exactly what we want—getting all of our ducks in a row, so to speak—we’ll never be happy—at least not for very long. If we are afraid of failure, or of simply looking bad, we will fade into the shadows of passivity. Our goal should be to seek the best course of action, not the perfect course of action. The need for perfection will always fuel the paralysis of procrastination.

Finally, we must learn to trust our Lord and Savior if we are to keep moving forward in life. If our hearts are sincere and our desires surrendered to God, He will use even our imperfect choices for His eternal purposes. Active faith—not some form of shallow belief—is required. Rash decisions are never wise, but neither is double-mindedness.

Those who learn to trust God to guide their imperfect steps will soon live in victory over the paralysis of procrastination!