I used to procrastinate, just like any other kid, when there was weeding to do in the garden, or laundry to fold, or asparagus looking at me from the dinner plate…or especially in the winter-time, when it meant sliding out of the warm nest of blankets in our chilly bedroom upstairs and hurrying into my clothes for the day. It wasn’t that I thought anything would change while I put it off– I was just stuck in the moment of dreading it and couldn’t get past that feeling, and it was like a mountain I couldn’t climb over.
But there are causes and effects in life, and if you are stuck in the moment there is no way to get past it to something better. I found out soon enough that the chores just pile up one on top of another, along with Mother’s consequences…and asparagus just keeps getting worse the longer it sits there…and those moments of freezing cold transition are still waiting for you while the getting-ready-for-school minutes are inexorably ticking away. If you want to get over that mountain of resistance, you have to just do it, take the first step… and then the next steps follow much more easily than you thought they would.
Now that we are all grown up the causes and effects are often not as visible as they were back then, and we get fooled into thinking we are in charge of our own lives, and the temptation to put things off lingers…not just the stuff we dread but even good things can get shoved aside for the sake of a more enjoyable Right Now. You can put things off forever if you really want to. Only the issues are more vital and the consequences can last forever if you’re not careful.
And Paul says to those of us Christ-followers who are living on purpose: “Be very careful, then, how you live–not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil.” (Ephesians 5:16) We are ambassadors in an unfriendly foreign land, tasked to carry on Christ’s work here (2 Corinthians 5:20); we are soldiers in a war between good and evil (Ephesians 6:12), and there is an Enemy who wants to distract and destroy us (1 Peter 5:8). Why would anyone live for the moment, without thought for the consequences, in a dangerous land or on a battlefield? We are clay being shaped into Christ’s likeness by the Potter (Romans 9:21), and farmers sowing seeds that only God can grow (2 Corinthians 9:6). Who are we to say what is important and what is ours to squander, if our choices are being used by a sovereign God to shape us and others for eternity?
It really depends on what your purpose is, and whether you have found something worth living and dying for, something eternal that calls you to get up and get moving, beyond the pull of what-is-most-comfortable-for-me, and beyond that moment of dread, into the good He is accomplishing. You can put it off forever, but why would you want to?
“From [Christ] the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work. So I tell you this, and insist on it in the Lord, that you must no longer live as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their thinking.” (Ephesians 4:16-17)