Beating procrastination

A Christian Science perspective.

Many of us have felt the drag, the resistance to doing what needs to be done – to procrastinate or move along sluggishly – hoping the need for action will somehow pass us by, or maybe convincing ourselves that sometime in the future will be a better time to do it. But I’ve found that those “take action” times seem to keep drifting just out of reach, into the next moment, the next day, week, or year, and I’m only fooling myself by thinking that in the future I will somehow feel better, have more money, more time, more patience, be more mature, more ready, more.... But always at a later time.

It’s one thing when it involves putting off painting the front porch, changing a light bulb, or washing the car. Much more serious is postponing important things such as considering my life purpose, where I’m going spiritually, what my life goals are, or seriously addressing situations in which my life and happiness or the happiness and well-being of another are concerned.

Ironically, it often feels easier instead to accept the dismal prospect of being sick or sinful, even being dissatisfied with myself, or delaying acts of kindness and consideration for others, resisting or delaying forgiveness, promising myself that in some future time I will do the right thing. Maybe later I will apologize for some hurt or offense, be more helpful to others. I convince myself that I will pray at some time in the future for a better understanding of God’s love and its influence in my life. I have too often followed the reasoning of Felix, as described in the book of Acts in the Bible. When the Apostle Paul came to him to discuss the teachings of Jesus, “Felix trembled, and answered, Go thy way for this time; when I have a convenient season, I will call for thee” (Acts 24:25).

I am fascinated by the lessons taught by Christ Jesus, who knew that we don’t have to wait to see God’s promise to begin to see through earth’s dreary outlook and to grasp the spiritual status as God’s son or daughter, which is ours to claim at this very moment. He encountered many “postponers” as he made his way through the countryside teaching his followers about divine Life and Love – how to understand God and how to live a pure life. And he roused them to action.

In one memorable scene, Jesus came upon a man who’d had an infirmity for 38 years and couldn’t walk. As the Bible has it: “When Jesus saw him lie, and knew that he had been now a long time in that case, he saith unto him, Wilt thou be made whole? The impotent man answered him, Sir, I have no man, when the water is troubled, to put me into the pool: but while I am coming, another steppeth down before me. Jesus saith unto him, Rise, take up thy bed, and walk” (John 5:6-8).

People believed that an angel would come periodically and “trouble the water,” and then whoever entered the water first would be healed. Now this man had waited 38 years for a material solution, someone to help him get into the water, but Jesus said it was time to get up and move. Jesus didn’t touch him; he saw him as God made him, in His own likeness. And the man walked.

A friend told me last month that she had been plagued with problems in the past several years, and she decided to refuse to “drag across the time line of the new year the baggage of problems” that she had been carrying. Wow. I decided that I, too, can refuse to carry over problems from the past and to start now, immediately, right this minute, to accept gratefully my true inheritance as an innocent child of God. It is high time to stop being burdened by worry, all the concerns that seem to flow around us every day, and to begin loving more, caring more for others, focusing on expressing my spiritual qualities instead of being lulled by the temptation to “do it later,” waiting for the “waters to move.”

As Mary Baker Eddy points out in her book Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, referencing the Scriptures, “ ‘Now,’ cried the apostle, ‘is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation,’ – meaning, not that now men must prepare for a future-world salvation, or safety, but that now is the time in which to experience that salvation in spirit and in life” (p. 39).

I am beginning to better understand the Bible’s assertion that “Now [emphasis added] are we the sons of God” (I John 3:2). Right this minute I am telling apathy and resistance to get lost. I have things to do!    

Adapted from the author’s blog.

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