Why Do I Procrastinate?
By Rick Warren
— August 18, 2010
Anyone who knows the good he ought to do and doesn't do it, sins. James 4:17 (NIV)
"What have you been postponing? Ask yourself, "What am I afraid of?""
The Bible has a lot to say about procrastination. Just take a minute to read today's verse and really let it sink in. I know the things I ought to do and I don't do them. And I know the things I shouldn't do and I do those. But I procrastinate on the things I really want to change in my life. Why?
The Bible says you procrastinate for one of five reasons.
1. Indecision. "A double minded man is unstable in all he does." (James 1:8 LB) Have you ever sent a waiter away at a restaurant because you couldn't make up your mind? Indecision causes you to postpone buying a car, choosing a college, getting married, buying new clothes, changing a job.
2. Perfectionism. "If you wait for perfect conditions, you'll never get anything done!" (Ecclesiastes 11:4 LB) If you wait for things to be perfect, you're going to wait a long time. You don't have the time or the money for things to be perfect.
3. Fear. "The fear of man is a trap." (Proverbs 29:25 LB) Have you been postponing going to the dentist? Or having that needed surgery? Or getting into marriage counseling? Sharing your faith at work? Ask yourself, "What am I afraid of?"
4. Anger. "A lazy person is as bad as someone who is destructive." (Proverbs 18:9 GNT) Procrastination is a way to get back at people we don't like. We delay. Kids are great at procrastination. You ask them to clean up their room. They do it but they take so long doing it. One of the reasons may be that they're resisting your control. Procrastination is passive resistance. I don't want to do it because I don't like you telling me to do what I have to do. Anger causes us to put things off.
5. Laziness. "Lazy people want much but get little, while the diligent are prospering." (Proverbs 13:4 LB) One of the most popular words in America is "easy." If it's easy, we like it. If it's hard, we don't like it. Can you imagine a best seller titled, "Ten Difficult Steps to Change Your Life" or "Fifteen Difficult Ways to Get in Shape"? If it's easy, we like it. If it's hard, we don't like it.
The next time you find yourself procrastinating, stop and ask yourself why. Then ask God to help you overcome it so you can move forward and do what you need to do.