I’m a big procrastinator. I’m trying to get better about it, but I’m still not where I want to be yet. Today was a good case in point.
I happen to have one of the most hard-headed teenage boys on the face of the planet (my husband lovingly reminds me that he takes after his mom, but I think surely he must be joking…maybe). He’s on the wrestling team, and really enjoys telling me about the different types of wrestling holds (I think he told me about one the other day called the Chicken Wing or something, and all I could think about was KFC). I’ve been having to prod this same child to turn in his homework assignments and keep his grades up in order for me to continue letting him participate in wrestling. Some days I just have to say, “God, I need the patience of Job not to lose my temper because I’ve already told him the same thing four times!“
So, he has a wrestling duel tonight, and reminded me again (yes, he reminded me earlier this week and maybe the end of last week too) that we needed to have his doctor sign a paper stating that he is cleared to wrestle since he has a body fat percentage of less than 7% (eats like a horse, but has the metabolism of an elephant, essentially). This is a school requirement. Oh, and I didn’t mention that I have had the paper sitting in my e-mail folder for over three weeks, but just hadn’t gotten around to taking it to the doctor’s office to get it signed because, I mean, there are so many more important things to think about, like getting the Christmas tree decorated and paying the gas bill for Pete’s sake!
Anyway, I spent the better part of three hours today going to the doctor’s office, who informed me that they needed a copy of the sports physical he had done at the chiropractor’s office back in September, and that it was also time for his well-child exam, and then making a trip to the school, and then back again to the doctor’s office. We finally, through much deliberation and having to clarify exactly what the paper was for, were able to get it signed (thank You, God for letting me jump through this hoop for my son today, even though I should have done it two or three weeks ago!). And he’ll get to participate tonight, never knowing that it has been like an episode of the Amazing Race for me, except without the prospect of winning the million dollars.
I think I’m often a procrastinator with God too. I sense He wants me to do something, or I know His Word tells me to do something, like forgive when I’m still angry, for example, and I’m like, “Come again? Did you really say that?” or, “Oh, yeah, about that…um, I forgot?”
Then there have been times too when I’ve been like Jonah and just flat out run from God. Jonah, if you recall, was told to go to Ninevah and preach the Word to the people there. But in Jonah 1:3, it says, “But Jonah arose to flee to Tarshish from the presence of the Lord. He went down to Joppa, and found a ship going to Tarshish; so he paid the fare, and went down into it, to go with them to Tarshish from the presence of the Lord.”
That was Jonah’s way of saying, “Time for me to bounce.” When God was first asking me to try to reconcile with my husband after our divorce, that was my first reaction. I was like, “Is that really God telling me to do that?” And then later, I was like, “Lord, I don’t think I can do that. What if it doesn’t work out? I’d rather just fly to Africa or somewhere. Put me on a plane far away from here and it’s all good.”
Later on in Jonah’s story, the men on that ship ended up throwing him overboard once they realized that God sent the storm because of Jonah’s disobedience. Then Jonah was swallowed whole by a whale and ended up in the whale’s belly. From the whale’s belly, Jonah prayed. He says,
“I cried out to the Lord because of my affliction and He answered me. Out of the belly of Sheol I cried, and You heard my voice. For You cast me into the deep, into the heart of the seas, and the floods surrounded me. All Your billows and Your waves passed over me. Then I said, ‘I have been cast out of Your sight; Yet I will look again toward Your holy temple.’ The waters surrounded me, even to my soul.
The deep closed around me; weeds were wrapped around my head. I went down to the moorings of the mountains; The earth with its bars closed behind me forever. Yet You have brought up my life from the pit, O Lord, my God (Jonah 2:1-6).”
Jonah was ultimately vomited out onto dry land after calling upon God, and when God asked him a second time to go to Ninevah and preach, he got up and went.
Sometimes the Lord has to give me a swift kick in the rear or a wake-up call to get me to do what He wants me to do. Yet, even when I procrastinate, or just flat-out run from God’s calling like Jonah did, He might have to get my attention if I’m going the wrong way, but He’ll ultimately lead me safely back to dry land just as He did with Jonah, and this is because He loves me. It’s during those times in my life that I’ve been able to say with Jonah, “Yet You have brought up my life from the pit, O Lord, my God.”
I like the song “Waiting for Tomorrow” by Mandisa. If any song is a motivator, it’s definitely this one. The first verse and the chorus goes like this:
“Maybe tomorrow I’ll start over/ Maybe tomorrow I will finally change my ways/Said the same thing yesterday/Don’t know why I’m so afraid/To let You in, to let You win, to let You have all of me
I can’t live my whole life wasting/All the grace that I know You’ve given/’Cause You made me for so much more than sitting on the sidelines/Don’t wanna look back and wonder if good enough could’ve been better/Every day’s a day that’s borrowed/So why am I waiting for tomorrow?”
Procrastinators, let’s unite! Time to get up and follow the leading of the Lord. What are we waiting for?
“Father, help me not to procrastinate when it comes to being obedient to You and Your Word. Help us to realize the time is now and the time is today to do what You would have us to do. I pray that if anyone reading this doesn’t know of Your great salvation through Jesus Christ, that they won’t wait a minute longer to ask Jesus into their heart and begin a relationship with You, Lord. Every day is truly borrowed, and all that we have is on loan from You. Help us to use our gifts, our time and all that we are and have for Your glory. Thank You for the many times that You’ve reached down and rescued me from the pit of darkness and despair. Help me to seize today and use it to make a difference for Your kingdom. In Jesus’ name, Amen.”