by Kathy Collard Miller @KathyCMiller
Do not despise these small beginnings, for the Lord rejoices to see the work begin. Zechariah 4:10 NLT
Just the other day I figuratively shook myself by my lapels and asked, “Kathy, why do you let the dishes stack up? It looks so messy!”
As I faced my problem of procrastination about messiness and other challenging tasks, the Holy Spirit led me to make some commitments.
Institute the 30 Second Rule. Even though so much can get done in 30 seconds or one minute, I still put things off. For instance, I pull up my email account on my phone and receive a message that I could easily answer in 30 seconds or a minute. I tell myself I’ll wait to answer when I get to my desk. But then when I get to my desktop computer, so many emails have added up I have a big job—and I delay responding!
That’s why I’ve been telling myself if something can be done within 30 seconds or a minute, even two minutes, do it right then. Sometimes we don’t recognize the value of little things but God does. He says in Zechariah 4:10: “Do not despise these small beginnings, for the LORD rejoices to see the work begin” (NLT).
Recognize your motive for wanting to put things off. I often wondered why I neglected doing the dishes. After all, instead of putting a dish into the sink or onto the counter, I could have used the same energy and time to stick it into the dishwasher—and it would be done!
Then one day after loading the dishwasher, I paid attention to my emotions. I recognized the sense of achievement in that moment. It felt good to transform the kitchen from messy to clean. But in a sense that anticipation of satisfaction was keeping me from acting in the moment at other times. I knew I if I waited for things to pile up, my accomplishment would yield a higher reward.
To combat procrastination, pay attention to your emotions. Look to God for your satisfaction and joy. Anything that replaces Him is an idol. His approval is what we should seek because He wants to tell us, “Well done, good and faithful servant” (Matthew 25:21).
Acknowledge any fear about the response you’ll receive for your actions. Whereas we just talked about the satisfaction of success, we can also procrastinate because we fear the potential “pain” that will result from taking action.
Maybe you’ve been putting off responding to that email because you’re convinced whoever receives it will become angry. Or you don’t know exactly what to say to your friend and so you delay—waiting for just the right words to show up in your mind.
But in avoiding these things we aren’t trusting God. We’re leaning on our own ideas and expectations, which is contrary to Proverbs 3:5-6: “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths” (ESV).
If we recognize our procrastination as not trusting God, then we can see our faulty thinking, that He isn’t in charge of the results. Since He’s sovereign and therefore in charge of everything, He could literally bring a good result from our poorly worded correspondence and bring an unexpectedly positive result. We can’t control what happens, but we can seek Him for wisdom. Then as we take action, we can trust Him for the resulting “straightened path.”
Which of those three insights could help you to resist procrastination? For me, they have been instrumental in recognizing God at work and empowerment in me, as I have learned to take action and increase my trust in Him.
About the author: Kathy Collard Miller loves to help women trust God more through her 55 books and her speaking in over 30 states and 8 foreign countries. Her website is www.KathyCollardMiller.com.
Her latest latest release is , Heart Wisdom, a part of her women’s Daughters of the King Bible study series. Heart Wisdom includes ten lessons about the different topics included in The Proverbs, and is perfect for individual or group study. Reach Kathy at www.KathyCollardMiller.com
Join the conversation: What keeps you procrastinating?