“The appetite of the lazy craves, and gets nothing, while the appetite of the diligent is richly supplied.” Proverbs 13:4 (NRSV)
My husband and I used to laugh and say if it weren’t for the last minute, nothing would get done. Then we’d stay up all night to finish a project due the next day or make the whole family stressed because of our stress.
I laughed it off at the time because I didn’t really think it was a problem. Everyone procrastinates on something, I reasoned. Plus, what more could I do? The problem certainly wasn’t with me.
On the surface, there were always reasons why I couldn’t get everything done. Good, solid reasons, like I’d taken on too much work or my family needs were too demanding. And the technology which should have made my life easier, actually made it harder sometimes. Who couldn’t understand that? I reassured myself.
Faced with a deadline, I snapped at everyone, stayed up late, and rushed to finish what needed to be done. Consequently, everything suffered. My family was shortchanged, my work was subpar, and I became a person I didn’t like very much.
Those issues affecting me were all legitimate. But there was still another issue afoot. One that took some soul searching to identify. And that was an internal desire for ease rather than a challenge.
This truth about myself hit hard when I read Proverbs 13:4, today’s key verse: “The appetite of the lazy craves, and gets nothing, while the appetite of the diligent is richly supplied.”
At first, I didn’t think this verse applied to me. How could I be lazy when I’m always busy? When my whole life is too busy?
In fact, I didn’t know any woman around me who was actually lazy. So why did we all tend to complain about not being able to get things done?
But then it hit me: Faced with a choice between two tasks, my tendency is to choose whichever seems easier. I tend to put off what’s difficult until I “feel like it.” But that day never comes — because I never feel like organizing my tax information or tackling projects that highlight my weak areas.
So my days were filled, but filled with less challenging work.
And my to-do list got longer, overflowing with tasks and projects I’d much rather avoid. The crazy thing is I will even avoid good things if I think it will make me address an issue I’d rather not face — like choosing not to clothes shop to avoid admitting my size isn’t what it once was.
At some point, I got around to doing my work, but usually with a wrong heart and only a shadow of the quality I could produce. Or, it was filled with so much frustration that it affected everything else. I even abandoned some fabulous opportunities. How can I follow a dream if I can’t even keep my kitchen counters clear?
Eventually, I realized I was disobedient to God in some areas. Of course, they were the hard things God asked me to do. I’d much rather obey God in the easy areas — but step out and take a risk? I’ll do that another day, thank you very much.
However, realizing my tendency to avoid discomfort, to choose ease over challenge, helped me finally address my busyness.
Each time I caught myself thinking I’ll do that later, I tried to identify my resistance for each task and face it. It’s not always easy, because my reasons for procrastinating are often complicated and overlapping.
But when I address my resistance and don't give in to it, I get stronger. It’s just like going to the gym and lifting weights. It might hurt, but the only way to strengthen anything is to face resistance.
God’s Word did reveal a lazy tendency in me. And honestly, it’s still there. But with His help, I’m not avoiding it anymore. And with His strength in me, I can face it and get more of the right things done.
Heavenly Father, thank You for loving me and seeing my potential in spite of my many weaknesses. My heart longs to follow You with abandon, but my flesh is weak. Help me trust You more as I step into areas that are uncomfortable. I need Your bravery and strength. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
TRUTH FOR TODAY
Hebrews 12:11, “No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.” (NIV)
Glynnis Whitwer’s book, Taming Your To-Do List, helps you get more of the right things done by facing your resistance to unpleasant tasks and overcoming them.
For more encouragement, stop by Glynnis’ Facebook page.
REFLECT AND RESPOND
What tasks do you tend to avoid most? What resistance are you facing for these dreaded tasks? Identify it and ask for God’s help to make it happen.
How does procrastination affect you? We’d love to hear your thoughts in our comments section!
© 2019 by Glynnis Whitwer. All rights reserved.