The Murderous Spirit of Procrastination

When I was a teenager, I procrastinated doing the loads of laundry that my mom asked me to wash and dry.  We were preparing to leave for a youth trip, and it never occurred to me that if I didn’t do the laundry before leaving, she’d stay home to do it.  I just figured it could wait until we got back. Evidently, my mom felt otherwise. She let me go on the choir trip, but she stayed behind.

I have this nagging nemesis.  Maybe you don’t struggle with it, but I do…procrastination.  It’s even easier to fall into the trap of procrastination when the task is something that I dread. 

Ironically, when the Lord prompted me to sit and write about the topic, I was in the middle of a meeting with a friend.  “Remind me later, Lord. It will interrupt the flow if I stop to make note of that now.” It would have, but I should have noted it in the moment.  I procrastinated. The problem with this approach is that 1) it’s sinful because I delayed in my obedience and 2) I might forget.

I’ll do it later

I made it home from my meeting, ate a late lunch, and then was really looking forward to a quick power nap.  That is until the Lord reminded me that I was supposed to be writing on some topic. I was standing in the kitchen doing my dishes and trying to remember what that topic was.   Then it hit me, “procrastination.” So, I opted to forgo the much desired nap and instead chose to sit and write.

I have seen procrastination damage relationships, create chaos, wreak havoc, and delay promise and favor.  I’ve seen it render pastors and church leaders almost ineffective. I’ve lived through the consequences as a pastor’s wife as well.  Because my husband and I have chosen to learn from past mistakes, our advice is often sought out by those in the midst of similar situations.

Procrastination is not Perseverance

We were working with the elders of a small rural church and while they had asked for our counsel they were very slow, almost to the point of being resistant, to implement any of the suggestions. One day, I was chatting with the head elder and suddenly heard myself responding, “You know, the spirit of procrastination that has been permitted is going to kill the church.”

Did I really just say that?  OUT LOUD? Lord, did you use me to get their attention?  

Sadly, the western church has somehow redefined procrastination and now cloaks it as perseverance.  Permit me to state the obvious: just because you relabel or repackage something, it does not change its substance or make a lie true.  

Avoidance and procrastination delay the inevitable.  Likely causing the issue to be more difficult to deal with because of the implied agreement, permission, condoning, etc. that attaches from the initial event. In such circumstances, the delay continues to foster and grow discontentment and resentment the longer the issue remains unaddressed.

Consequences of Procrastination

“Procrastinators wait for just the right moment to decide. If you wait for the perfect moment, you become a security seeker who is running in place, going through the motions, and getting deeper in a rut.” 

(Being the Best, Denis Waitley excerpt quoted in Bits & Pieces, June 22, 1995, pp. 6-7.

Procrastination can cause unpleasant circumstances ranging from missing a deadline to destroying churches and personal witnesses, to the eternal consequence of separation from God due to never accepting the gift of salvation (Isaiah 55:6-7).  Procrastination is not just an inconvenience or bad habit. It is pervasive enough to damage the Bride of Christ if we willingly adorn ourselves with it rather than choose to stand in our authority and challenge it.

Perhaps the statements in the paragraph above make it easier to see how a consequence of procrastination can be death.  Procrastination can end dreams, relationships, and eternally damn one to torment in hell.

Fighting Procrastination

There is the need to operate in restraint and balance of being present in your current season without always moving on to the next big thing.  Rushing ahead of the Lord has it’s own consequences. However, sometimes, we say we are “waiting on the Lord” or “I’ll pray about that” and it becomes an excuse to wait for the perfect opportunity (a.k.a. procrastinate).  This strategy delays our response of obedience. It has the potential of stealing favor and momentum of moving into something else He has designed for our good. Waiting for the perfect opportunity can be a recipe for disaster. 

          “So, whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin.”  James 4:17 ESV

Faithfulness and self-control are fruit of the Spirit which can combat procrastination.  The Lord taught about being faithful in little to prepare for being faithful in managing much.  Self-control and self-discipline can alleviate undue stress as procrastination produces emotional weight and is burdensome until the pending task is addressed and complete. 

Another place that heaviness can attach is when there is a mistaken identity issue.  If you are procrastinating because of feeling unqualified, make sure you are in the parameters of what the Lord has asked you to do.  Once you have verified you are where He wants you, the remedy in this situation is living out of the identity that Christ has given us.  

Don’t Wait

Procrastination is not only dangerous and inconvenient, it can bring death to opportunities and dreams.  Do not put off until tomorrow what you should be doing today.

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