A couple months ago, the Flickr app on my phone updated. No big deal. A short time later, I had a photo I wanted to post, so I headed over to the app. Well, it seems that when the app updates, it logs you out. Totally understandable. So I pull out my password book (my brain can only remember so much, you know), only to find that I had not written the password for Flickr down.
*sigh of frustration* All right, then. That must mean that it’s one of my easier passwords, that I use for less secure sites and don’t bother writing down because they’re easy to remember.
Of course, it’s none of those.
Okay. Breathe. I’ll just tell the app that I forgot my password. I do so, and it tells me that it sent a new password to my email. Wonderful! I retrieve the password from my inbox and head back to the app, which in my absence, has re-set. Which means that the password they sent to me is no longer valid. So I attempt to get it to send a new password again. I’ll just check my email on my computer, so I don’t mess the app up again.
However (what did I expect?), it will no longer cooperate with me. At all. And there are few things more frustrating than an app that just won’t listen..
Tired of the whole thing, I decided to get back to it tomorrow.
As I said in the beginning, that was over two months ago.
So you can see, I have a little problem with procrastination. I often feel like such a hypocrite. I’ll write posts against procrastination, only to find myself falling behind in school because of that very thing.
While the story above is rather amusing, it’s also ridiculous. The whole episode took less than half an hour–an admittedly very frustrating half hour. After all that, however, my next step was clear. Get on my computer to tell Flickr that I’d forgotten my password, and bypass the app fiasco (what a fun word!) entirely.
And yet, I still haven’t done it.
Procrastination has a certain lure. We all have things we’d rather not do now. The solution? Don’t do it now! Genius, I know.
It is human nature to live for the present. We want to be happy now. We want to popular now. We want our stats on WordPress to top a thousand every day now (let’s be honest, a hundred would be wonderful). And we don’t want to do whatever we don’t want to do now.
The answer most of us come to is to put it off. (By the way, did you like the word play in the title? lol.) The world tells us that if we want to do something, do it! Similarly, if we don’t, don’t! But in putting off problems and responsibilities for tomorrow (or next month or next year), our future self is still going to have to deal with whatever it is.
The thing is, we don’t like to think about our future self. It just seems so… far away. “I’ll deal with this better next week,” we tell ourselves. “I just don’t even want to think about it right now.” While occasionally we might be able to handle something better later on, most of the time it’s just as bad as before. In fact, it’s often worse!
When we put things off, they won’t stay away forever. They often, I find, like to cluster in a small area of your life, unseen until you hit it head on. Suddenly, instead of having the one or two things you thought you’d have to deal with, you have one or two dozen things that have to be done right now! Because there comes a point when you can’t procrastinate anymore. To procrastinate doesn’t mean to get rid of something. It means to put something off until a later date. At some point, however, it’ll catch up to you–or perhaps it’s better said that you’ll catch up to it!
There’s a couple of lessons here. The first and most obvious, don’t procrastinate! I’m living proof, however, that just knowing that doesn’t get you off the hook. I’ve always known that if you procrastinate, it’ll come back and hit you on the back of the head. Hard. And yet I do it again and again and again, often in much more worrisome ways than the Flickr incident.
What I’ve had to learn, and what I’m sure will be of more benefit to you, is how to get out once you’re stuck in the pit of procrastination.
One of the most debilitating aspects of procrastination is worry. Once all of those procrastinated things catch up to you, it’s very easy to become freaked out. “How am I going to deal with all of this?!” we fret. “It’s too much!” After worry has us in its grasp, we find ourselves unable to deal with everything we feel like we’re drowning in.
In Matthew 6:25 and 27, Jesus says to us (and I’m paraphrasing), “I tell you, don’t worry about your everyday life. Can all of your worrying add a single moment to your life?” It’s a convicting thought. We worry and worry like we’re actually accomplishing something through our worry, when we’re really just digging ourselves deeper into the hole we’re worrying about. Worry never fixed anything.
This isn’t to say that when we have to deal with our procrastinations, we should just chill and pretend like it’s nothing. The Bible also says:
A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest–and poverty will come on you like a thief and scarcity like an armed man. (Proverbs 6:10-11)
This is procrastination, defined. Put off what we don’t want to do to catch a nap, or hang out with friends, or whatever else you like to do–and troubles will be upon us before we know it.
So, first off, the Bible teaches against procrastination. We’ve got that. But Jesus also doesn’t want us to worry when we do happen to get caught in the aftermath of procrastination. We all mess up and make mistakes. However, if we let ourselves succumb to worry, we’re not letting Jesus use those mistakes for good.
Finding yourself caught in procrastination? First and foremost, pray. Spend time with Jesus! Read your Bible. Share your troubles with mature Christian friends and ask them to pray for you. In essence, Jesus is the answer.
Let me give you a bit of advice: don’t try to overcome the effects of procrastination on your own. Even if you succeed in getting yourself out of that pit, you’ll have gotten so dirty in the process that it’ll take you ages to get clean again. Instead, why not grasp the hand that’s reaching out to you and escape procrastination, today?
In other words, go to Jesus for help. This applies to all things. When we try to do things on our own, we often fail; and if we don’t, we tend to make a mess of things in the process. However, even if you may feel like you’re in the biggest mess ever made in the history of mankind, run to Jesus. He’s an expert at turning our messes into things of beauty.
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. (1 John 1:9)