Procrastination takes many forms.
Sometimes it’s surfing the internet to avoid an unpleasant task. Sometimes it’s taking care of a bunch of unimportant things to delay a difficult one.
But there’s a particularly insidious type of procrastination – one that keeps us treading water in the status quo instead of being ambitious with our lives. Rather than tackling projects for the glory of God, we delay action and merely daydream about the way things could be.
God-given dreams planted in our hearts aren’t nourished. Ministries aren’t established. Businesses don’t get started.
And amazingly, remembering the gospel is the cure.
The Mind of a Procrastinator
In Still Procrastinating?, psychologist Joseph Ferrari discusses several studies that reveal the inner thoughts of these chronic procrastinators.
A defining trait among these procrastinators is a strong fear of failure and a strong desire to protect their self-image. As long as a task remains in the realm of theory – as long as it’s not fleshed out into reality – then procrastinators don’t have to confront the possibility of their own shortcomings. They can daydream about success without ever risking failure.
Procrastinators often have what’s known as a diffuse identity. They actively avoid learning more about themselves. They’re so afraid of their own potential weaknesses that they’re willing to leave their strengths undiscovered.
For some, chronic delay is a way of sabotaging their own performance. They’ll put obstacles in their own path (such as a lack of time due to procrastination) so that failure is blamed on their circumstances instead of on them.
It really comes down to one thing: Procrastinators don’t want to have their self-esteems damaged by feelings of inadequacy.
Enter the Gospel
The wonder of the gospel is really the cure for these issues with procrastination.
The gospel says you’re already approved. You’re already accepted.
It doesn’t matter if you try something and fail – or try something and succeed – God will look at you with the exact same amount of approval either way.
We are freed from finding our significance in what we do and how we perform. Our identity is now found in who we are as a follower of Christ. Our standing before God is now based off of Christ’s work and not our own.
Freedom to Engage
This gives us the freedom to stop judging ourselves. This gives us the freedom to stop trying to earn our way into God’s favor.
But it also gives us the freedom to work and to strive for the glory of God without any fear of failure. We can launch ourselves into the largest dreams and tackle the biggest obstacles – because we are loved and accepted regardless of the outcome.
We can risk our standings in the eyes of man, because our standing with God is secure. We are released, as William Carey said, to expect great things from God and to attempt great things for God.
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