This is not my title, it has been taken from Tim Chester’s book, ‘The Busy Christians Guide to Busyness.’ To be honest this book has followed me for the past four months, having purchased it on UCCF’s Forum conference only to be vandalised by a IFES worker from Poland (hopefully giving away the identity of this vandal) who managed to drop it in the mud almost instantly after purchase. The mud stained cover does bring a grin to my face bringing back the memories of mud infested Forum.
Anyway, that was in September. It is now January and I still haven’t finished it, very slack. I have however dipped in and out of this book and have found it rather helpful. I gave up on the book about October time, thinking it was no more than a useless handbook on how we are busy, with no real answers to the problem. I was wrong. It took me till December to pick up the book again and continue reading it, and to my delight found it to be a very good book. It is biblically focused, Christ centred and extremely helpful.
I came across chapter 10 this morning and thought that this is a chapter that all students need to read. It’s all about procrastination and how we should approach it. I groaned at the accurate picture that this chapter portrays my life.
“Have you ever worked into the night to meet a deadline? Or got up in the small hours of the morning? Or cancelled appointments in order to work?…I work better under pressure. I’m not busy all the time – just when a deadline looms.”
“The most common excuse for procrastination is: ‘I work better under pressure.’…We can even pride ourselves on our ability to pull it off at the last minute.”
“When the pressures on we think: ‘I have a right to neglect my other responsiblities because I need to get this done.'”
“The question deadline junkies need to ask is: ‘does leaving things to do last minute produce good fruit or bad fruit?”
“There are two common underlying causes of procrastination: my pleasure and my pride.”
I wonder if any of these statements ring true with you? I know it does with me. Just over three weeks ago I had a deadline to meet of 11,000 words. I still had 4,000 to the night before the deadline. This is not something to be proud about. Not only did I have a deadline, on the same day I had my interview for Relay. The next day was a very busy day in Ammanford doing youth work. The day after I would be leaving Swansea at 5am to attend a wedding. None of the above was a surprise, I had known about them for ages, they were noted in the diary. But it all happened in a very stressed last minute worry. Why? Procrastination! I had spent much time on facebook, or the Iplayer, or in the gym etc etc. It got worse. I even had pride in my Relay interview that I had been up all night doing essays and now I was here still standing strong. What an idiot I am. Pride!? I should have been ashamed that I was doing this to myself. I was not treating God as my refuge but myself as my refuge.
The truth is that God is my refuge. So my first action is going to be repent. This should be our reaction when we play with sin is this way. Procrastination is, “self-deception, selfishness, escapism, pride.” Turn away from the sinful heart and place your trust in God.
‘He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High
will abide in the shadow of the Almighty.
I will say to the Lord, My refuge and my fortress,
my God, in whom I trust.’ (Psalm 91:1-2)
So do not get sucked into the deadline junkie ethos. If you find yourself up all night doing a last minute essay, ask yourself if this is satisfying. Am I happy to live like this? Ask yourself why am I in this position. Now I know I am in no position to point the finger. But I know why I am in this position. I do not place my trust in the Lord when I know I should, and more importantly I can place my trust in Him. Never forget that point. Next time you put off work ask yourself where the fruit is in what I am doing?