`MY problem is procrastination,'' my friend wrote. As I read the letter, those words seemed to jump right out at me. I remembered an incident with some tulips that showed me what a procrastinator I had been and what a fruitless waste of time it is. Here's what happened. My husband, an ardent gardener, was planting tulip bulbs. I was watching. After some time he looked up at me and asked: ``Would you like to plant the rest?'' I had never liked anything about gardening, but to please him I stood there thinking it over. I mentally went inside, changed my clothes, put on different shoes, and finally decided I would do it. Then I looked down to see that the bulbs were all planted. While I had been thinking about doing it, he had finished!
I'm sorry to say that single experience, though the implications of it fascinated me, didn't move me to stop procrastinating. But over the years I began to realize that procrastination was much more than just a harmless time-waster. I learned that it can lead to dishonesty, guilt, and fear; it can even promote self-hatred. I also learned that procrastination can be healed when we learn how to love -- especially how to love ourselves.
Christian Science explains that the true selfhood of each of us is the actual expression of God's being. For example: God is Love, therefore man is loving and beloved. God is divine Principle; so man expresses Principle in every facet of his being; he is naturally orderly and harmonious in all his actions and behavior.
When I first began to learn these truths about man's spiritual identity, I found this concept of myself was indeed easy to love. But I didn't always live up to what I was learning about my true, spiritual selfhood. I needed to do more to reject the false sense of self that would keep me trapped in discordant and self-defeating behavior. I truly wanted to obey Christ Jesus' instructions when he said, ``If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.''1 It seemed hard, however, to deny that the procrastination I had accepted for so long was any part of me.
Then one day I read these words of Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science: ``Tireless Being, patient of man's procrastination, affords him fresh opportunities every hour....''2 They made me so conscious of God as a loving tender Parent, always patient with His children, that I thought: ``Why can't I be more tender and patient with myself?'' That was the beginning of learning to love myself and, as the two were related, of overcoming procrastination as well.
I immediately picked up my checkbook. Months of procrastination had made it a mass of confusion. I decided that instead of condemning myself for having put the task off, I was going to be patient with myself and balance the checkbook. When I finished I found to my delight that there was more money in the account than I had realized. As gratifying as this was -- and it came at a time when it was especially needed -- the ``extra'' money didn't compare with the joy I felt in learning to care for myself enough to resist procrastination.
What a wonderful feeling it is to know there'll always be ``fresh opportunities.'' Not just opportunities to deny procrastination a place in my experience -- but fresh opportunities to be the kind of person even I can love!
1Matthew 16:24. 2Christian Healing, p. 19.