IT may seem harmless. But the easygoing habit of never doing today what you can put off till tomorrow is at best the pointless postponement of progress. Procrastination is not a virtue, and it can show up in world events as delay, needless waiting, lack of progress. The way to deal with it is not willfully to whip ourselves into action but to heal it with Christliness. Christ Jesus was not one to defer work till a more convenient time. He instantly turned to God in everything he did, and healing resulted. He found opportunities to do good wherever he went and never failed to take advantage of them. Weddings, hillsides, fishing boats, became immediate settings for inspired teaching and compassionate healing. He did not waste moments, yet the Scriptures never give the impression that he rushed around in a frantic attempt to get everything done. With serenity he patiently persevered. Explaining the reason for his unequaled success, he said, ``The Son can do nothing of himself, but what he seeth the Father do: for what things soever he doeth, these also doeth the Son likewise.''1
Christian Science, in accord with Jesus' example, emphasizes the necessity of making God the center of our actions and attitudes. In writing of God in the Christian Science textbook, Mary Baker Eddy2 crystallizes the Biblical revelation of God's nature in these synonymous terms for Deity: Principle, Mind, Soul, Spirit, Life, Truth, Love.3 Consider the vitality of the all-acting God, the power of Spirit, and the infinite ability of the one Mind. Divine Life radiates energy, and Love loves its creation without limits.
The divine nature, discerned in prayer and expressed more fully in our thoughts and actions, casts the light of its healing power on the dark shadows of fear, self-doubt, and selfishness that sometimes hide behind the more sophisticated faade of procrastination. When such traits are exposed and destroyed, the tendency to procrastinate goes with them. The divine impetus of a Godcentered life gives animation to one's endeavors, and worthwhile accomplishments are undertaken without resistance. Normal duties are attended to without burden. Progress becomes natural and tomorrow does not become a bottleneck for today's unfinished business.
Conquering procrastination does not mean becoming a windmill of relentless motion. Mrs. Eddy observes, ``Rushing around smartly is no proof of accomplishing much.''4 Quiet periods of rest and spiritual refreshment through prayer are desirable and necessary, but these are not times of delayed action. They are action --the Christly action of prayer that breaks through webs of aimlessness or laziness and brings into focus the economy of motivation that accomplishes much in little time. This activity of Christliness keeps us ``instant in season, out of season.''5 Whether it is convenient or not, we're ready for action when action is needed.
Because, as the Bible teaches, man is the image of God, it's natural for us to reflect the all-acting divine nature in promptness and productivity. Procrastination has nothing to do with our true selfhood.
Mrs. Eddy, who knew well that needless delay had no part in forwarding a good purpose, wrote: ``Success in life depends upon persistent effort, upon the improvement of moments more than upon any other one thing.... If one would be successful in the future, let him make the most of the present.''6
Christian Science underscores St. Paul's pattern for Christian living. He said, ``Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honour preferring one another; not slothful in business; fervent in spirit; serving the Lord; rejoicing in hope; patient in tribulation; continuing instant in prayer.''7
Habitual procrastination need not put progress on hold. Satisfaction, joy, and peace with ourselves replace the dullness of do-nothing days when we claim Christly dominion--our right to move in accordance with God's effortless will.
1John 5:19. 2The Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science. 3See Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, p. 587. 4Miscellaneous Writings, p. 230. 5II Timothy 4:2. 6Miscellaneous Writings, p. 230. 7Romans 12:10-12. You can find more articles like this one in the Christian Science Sentinel, a weekly magazine. Daily Bible Verse: Now it is high time to awake out of sleep: for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed. Romans 13:11