“For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I do. Now if I do what I do not want, it is no longer I that do it, but sin that dwells within me… Wretched man that I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord!” (Rom 7: 19-20, 24-25)
Here St. Paul expresses the kind of exasperation I feel about my procrastination; when I put off the things I should be doing, and instead do things I should not be doing. But St. Paul does not just exasperatedly talk about “the problem”; he moves on to identify “the solution,” exclaiming, “Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord!” In other words, he gratefully recognizes “the solution” is not in himself, but in the Power and Wisdom of God, Jesus Christ.
In practical terms, this means I need His help, and that His help is there for me. When I examine the reasons for my procrastination, at the top of the list are: 1. Self-Reliance (leaving God’s help out of the picture), which leads to 2. Fear (of failure or success), 3. Perfectionism (i.e., waiting for more perfect conditions or a more perfect time for tackling the task at hand), 4. Laziness (wanting the outcome without the effort), 5. Dishonesty (e.g., telling myself that I need to clean the refrigerator right now, rather than making that dentist's appointment), or even 6. Resentment (like a passive resistance to an authority that gave me the task in the first place). All these spiritual “diseases” can be identified and healed, little by little, through God’s grace, if I humbly accept His help and shed the light of His word on my procrastination.
Today let me open up to God’s help, co-operating with Him as I face my immediate responsibilities, one by one. They are never the insurmountable mountains they seemed to be, when I approach them with a bit of faith. “Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, 'Move from here to there,' and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.” (Mt 17: 20)