Bad Intentions

Pro•cras•ti•nate: To put off intentionally and habitually . . .
to put off the doing of something that should be done. —
Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary, 11th Edition

Most of us know the meaning of this word all too well, but a concise definition helps clarify the issue. The procrastinator usually has logical reasons, valid excuses, and plausible explanations for inaction. Webster’s straightforward definition, however, helps us push excuses aside and focuses us on the core problem: The procrastinator does not do what should be done. A procrastinator says, “Later,” while thinking, “Never.” Fulfillment comes tomorrow, tomorrow, . . . always tomorrow. “Someday, we gotta get this garage organized” really means, “Everything I choose to do today is more important than getting the garage in order.” People who procrastinate have no definite plans to accomplish the necessary objective. They simply push it into the slimy ooze of time indefinite, that murky swamp where every good intention drowns in excuses.

Let’s be honest: procrastination is really self-delusion. The fact is, we have a set of priorities, and we do indeed accomplish whatever we genuinely deem important. In truth, how we spend our time clearly reveals our priorities. We encounter a problem when our deeds reflect a less than honorable set of priorities. So we cover our tracks with excuses and call it “procrastination.” Here’s what that looks like in real life:

A man says his health is a priority. He knows he should devote no less than forty minutes a day to walking, biking, or some form of moderate exercise. Instead, he spends that time on the couch, watching television, eating baked potato chips, and sipping diet soda. His choices reveal his priorities. In truth, he believes that relaxing in front of the television is a better use of his time than working up a good sweat. Because he can’t fully admit to himself his misplaced priorities, he soothes his conscience with the procrastinator’s rallying cry: “I’ll get serious about this tomorrow.”

This, by the way, is a real person’s story. He barely survived a widow-maker heart attack. Now he runs no less than twenty-five miles each week! Before his brush with death, he didn’t really believe regular exercise is more important than watching television; he only said so. The consequences of his procrastination rearranged his priorities. His words and actions no longer live in tension with one another.

Is your daily grind procrastination? Fear not. Solomon’s sayings to the rescue!

From Living the Proverbs by Charles R. Swindoll, copyright © 2012. Reprinted by permission of Worthy Inspired., an imprint of Hachette Book Group, Inc.

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