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Healing Procrastination

March 21, 1989



PROCRASTINATION is something with which many of us battle in one form or another. Maybe we tend to put off a fairly minor duty such as writing thank-you notes. But procrastination can also be a habit that weaves its way through the fabric of our lives so that we put off paying bills, getting needed work done, spending time with the family, or making time for the spiritual study and prayer so essential to our progress and well-being. Procrastination, when carried to extremes, can have heartbreaking results. A friend once said to me in jest, ``One day I'm going to do something about my habit of procrastination.'' Her joking hit the mark -- procrastinating the overcoming of procrastination!

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Of course, the desire to stop procrastinating is not of itself enough. The Apostle Paul said: ``To will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not. For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do.''

But Paul doesn't leave the issue there. He goes on to say, ``Now if I do that I would not, it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me.'' And he says that deliverance from this evil is by God ``through Jesus Christ our Lord.''1 Paul helps us to see that it is the ``carnal mind'' that is the procrastinator and not our true selfhood, which is the spiritual image of the one God.

Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, affirms that ``man is, and forever has been, God's reflection.''2 And she says, ``As the reflection of yourself appears in the mirror, so you, being spiritual, are the reflection of God.''3 It is in this fact of spiritual reflection that we can find a scientific basis for freedom from procrastination.

A reflection cannot procrastinate. It doesn't possess a mind of its own to be willful, lazy, disobedient, or disorganized. It corresponds effortlessly and immediately to the original.

Similarly, the man of God's creating -- our true selfhood -- has no opinion, will, ego, or mind separate from God. Rather, he corresponds effortlessly and instantly to the action of the divine Mind. Reflection, then, is not pressured but natural.

Yet the demands and obligations we're facing right now may seem anything but unpressured. How can we apply the idea of spiritual reflection in a practical way to our activities?

Everyday tasks can be translated into qualities of Godlike re-flection. For instance, paying the bills can be seen as reflecting gratitude, dependability, orderliness, and so forth. Facing the demands of a tough job can impel us to reflect more of our God-derived strength, wisdom, patience.

Understanding reflection as the basis of our daily activities helps to lift a feeling of dislike or heaviness or trepidation about certain tasks. And isn't this what is at the bottom of putting off doing something? Since we generally find time to do what we love to do, it may be some form of fear and/or dislike that causes us to procrastinate. If we can see each worthwhile activity in terms of Godlike reflection, then each activity will be deserving of our best efforts, and we can feel increasingly joyful about it.

To the human sense of things our days are frequently filled with tasks we'd rather not do. But a clearer understanding of man as the reflection of God can heal an attitude of procrastination and make our work more enjoyable as well as beneficial.

1Romans 7:18-20, 25. 2Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, p. 471. 3Ibid., p. 516.