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Procrastination: Part 2

Procrastinating out of Worry


Do you worry that if you do what you know needs to be done that you may be ridiculed? Laughed at? How about that it won't work out the way you would hope, resulting in a bigger mess than you already have? How about this one, "If I ____, I may fail." Oh, I've been there!

I read an article featuring a young lady from our town who is going to a national competition after succeeding at local, district, and state levels. Written in this article was her statement to her parents:

"Last but not least, thank you mom and dad for everything, for pushing me out of my comfort zone, for telling me when I can do better, for being patient with me when I’m stressed and most importantly, for loving me through my wins and my losses—or learning experiences as you like to call them," she said with a smile.

Learning experiences never seem to happen inside our comfort zones, do they? If we go to the gym or strap on some running shoes to hit the local running trails, we don't stop just when we begin to sweat or feel the least bit of exertion. If we do, then what's the point? We aren't building any more muscle than what we had to start with. How about our spiritual muscles? In order to grow in Christ, we have to spend time in the Word and in prayer. This is where we find our tools for success. Where we are able to stop worrying because the closer we draw to God, the more we realize that we are not in control of the future. Yes, we should plan and prepare for what needs may arise through savings and insurance, for example. But, ultimately, if we are to have need of those things tomorrow or if they are for our own peace of mind today is completely up to His plan, not ours.


Here is a procrastination that hits me close to home: To take the job or not to take the job. Let's start with applying. There won't even be a job to take, an offer to consider, if no application is completed. I could spend so much time thinking about it, fretting over the "what if I get the job and it doesn't work out the way I hope", and praying for an answer. Then, when I finally decide, "Okay. I'll do it.", the posting has expired and it is too late. Hmm. Been there with me, have you?


Esther had a job where time was of the essence and if she made a wrong move, she could have lost her life, along with all her people's lives. Talk about having a family depending on you to make the right decision at the right time. No room for procrastination here. However, she did know how to wait on the Lord. Procrastinating and waiting on the Lord are indeed different. One is disobedient while the other is total obedience.


Hopefully, you have heard the story. If not, here is my best synopsis. Esther, having been under the care of her Uncle Mordecai, a Jew, had instructed her to not reveal to King Ahaseurus that she and her people were Jewish. She becomes part of the King's harem, is moved up in stature, loved by the king.


Now Esther was winning favor in the eyes of all who saw her. And when Esther was taken to King Ahasuerus, into his royal palace...the king loved Esther more than all the women, and she won grace and favor in his sight more than all the virgins, so that he set the royal crown on her head and made her queen instead of Vashti. -Esther 2:15-17, ESV

Esther had made a place for herself, had she not? She was Queen Esther. No longer dependent upon her uncle to care for her. She had her own servants and lived in an ornate palace.


Soon, Mordecai learns of a plot to harm the king, shares this threat with Esther, who shares it with King Ahaseurus. The king investigates, learns it to be true and threat is eliminated. (Esther 2:19-23) Now, Haman comes on the scene in Chapter 3 of Esther. This is where Queen Esther is going to be tested. Will she delay for her own safety's sake? Will she procrastinate when the lives of others are at stake?


On into the fourth chapter, Esther learns that Haman has sent out an edict that all Jews are to be killed. Mordecai, and many other Jews in all cities where this edict had been decreed, were tearing away their clothes and putting on sack-clothes, There was great distress and fasting. This is the time when God is going to use Esther in this position in which He has placed her. (Let's go ahead and agree that we are all in positions of fortune only by God's grace and by no means of our own.) What is she to do?

11 “All the king's servants and the people of the king's provinces know that if any man or woman goes to the king inside the inner court without being called, there is but one law—to be put to death, except the one to whom the king holds out the golden scepter so that he may live. But as for me, I have not been called to come in to the king these thirty days.”

Continuing on into chapter 5, after three days of fasting, Esther goes into the king. But she is cautious. She doesn't just go in and blurt out her concern. She invites him and Haman to a feast which she plans to prepare. It is there that she will reveal her wish to the king, a request to save her people, revealing herself as a Jew. Now a bit more happens leading up to the climatic finale of this story but let's jump ahead for this purpose. I encourage you to finish the account of Esther through chapter 7.


Esther could have procrastinated. She could have eaten up her time with worry. Instead, she took her concerns to God in prayer through fasting. She then got up, made herself presentable, and took the first steps towards a solution. Esther could no more see the future than you or I can.


To move forward and to put off the temptation to procrastinate does not mean charging at the problem like a rushing matador. We see that demonstrated here. While we do not read in Esther's story that she heard the voice of God commanding her to do one thing or the other, we also do not read that she ran from one friend to another or one neighbor and another asking for advice and hoping for the one that would sound the best to her for her own life to be spared.


Philippians 4:6-7 says, "Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. and the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus." (ESV)

Esther took her petitions to the Lord, made her requests known to the One who could take her fears and replace them with peace. The One who could turn the tides and save her people, His people.


Romans 8:28- You are called for a purpose. You and I were created for a specific purpose. Unfortunately, we may not know on this side of Heaven what our purpose was in the grand scheme of creation. Each of us is holding a puzzle piece. All we see is what is on our own piece. The watercolor image has no sharp lines revealing to us what the image on it really is, much less how it will look when connected on the table with all the other pieces. All we know, on this side of Heaven, is that it fits and the image, when completed, will be the most magnificent scene you have ever laid your eyes upon.


Procrastinating because you are worried about the end result? If the Holy Spirit is nudging you to move forward, make that call, complete that application, go visit that person.... Whatever it may be that you feel that nudge to do, stop waiting. God has a plan and you are a part of it. Take the first step towards fulfilling your part. He will tell you if you are to take the next step or wait on Him. If you wait too long, the opportunity to serve Him in this capacity may be lost. Procrastinating because you don't agree with God's methods? I have heard it said many times, in various contexts, that delayed obedience is disobedience. Confess this disobedience to God. Present your requests to Him. Answer the call He has placed on your heart.


“God has promised forgiveness to your repentance, but He has not promised tomorrow to your procrastination.” St. Augustine of Hippo
 

Mann, M. (2019, June 21). Mathner ready for DYW National Finals. Southeast Sun. Retrieved June 24, 2019, from http://www.southeastsun.com/home/article_aba77034-9429-11e9-a9c6-8fd26740e778.html

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