The P Word: Understanding and Overcoming ProcrastinationThoughts, Feelings, and Behaviors Thursday
Each Thursday I will take a look at common irrational thoughts, unfounded feelings, and abnormal behavior in a realistic and practical manner with a biblical solution. Today we will take a look at procrastination.
What does it mean?
procrastinate: (verb) to put off intentionally and habitually the doing of something that should be done.
A Few Facts about Procrastinators (Marano, 2003)
1. An estimate of 20% of individuals refer to themselves as procrastinators
2. It is a maladaptive behavior which manifest into one’s life by:
• Not paying bills on time
• Missing the opportunity to buy tickets to concerts and events
• Not cashing gift certificates or checks
• Filing tax returns late
• Leaving Christmas shopping to Christmas Eve
3. Lies they believe
• “I’ll feel more like doing this tomorrow.”
• “I work better under pressure.”
• “It’s not that important.”
• “I’m more creative.”
4. Find other meaningless distractions (i.e. like checking email, getting on facebook, twitter, etc.)
• Thoughts of Inadequacy/Self-Doubt/Wrong Beliefs
• Lack of Motivation
• Indecisive/Inability to Prioritize
In a nutshell, it really appears to be rooted in anxiety and fear. All the reasons can be interconnected in many ways, but let’s look at a few. Perfectionist wants approval and must prove their worth by being perfect. They fear that if they perform and make a mistake everyone will find out they are not perfect and will be rejected. It’s very similar for the confused. Confusion means to misunderstand and to be uncertain. The fear is that someone will know they did not understand something and doesn’t know everything. All, of which may lead to other feelings and thoughts of inadequacy and self-doubt, and make one indecisive, loose motivation, and become lazy and idle.
What must be done?
Ten ways to overcome procrastination could be listed. However, fear and anxiety must be addressed.
1. Pray, ask for what you need, and give thanks.
Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God.
Philippines 4:6 NKJV
2. Trust and praise God.
In God, whose word I praise, in the LORD, whose word I praise—in God I trust and am not afraid. What can man do to me?
Psalm 56:11 NIV
3. Know that your worth and value is in God’s perfect love and not your performance.
There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.
1 John 4:18 NIV
4. Know simply God did not give you fear.
For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.
2 Timothy 1:7 KJV
Personal Note: I can personally say each of those factors described me in one way or another. I can also remember stating each lie while in school and even at work every now and then. When the Lord gave me the assignment to start writing, it was some time back, and it took me until now to really be obedient to the vision. When completing my thesis for graduate school, it took eight months of procrastination because of anxiety and fear of rejection to submit my work that received rave reviews. A while back I posted "Don't lose the vision by procrastinating." Right after that, I was challenged by the Holy Spirit "you would likely over-think and underestimate. If you wait, the message will become irrelevant, and/or outdated. So, let's get to work so that God will be glorified." I challenge myself now when I find myself being unproductive, by pursuing the goals and purposes that God has designed and planned for me. I also, challenge myself with "be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil" (Ephesians 5:15, 16 NIV).
1. Marano, H.E. (2003). Procrastination: Ten things to know. Psychology Today. Retrieved from http://www.psychologytoday.com/node/24800
There are many situations that plague the lives of many individuals. My desire as a counselor is to help individuals heal and live an abundant life! One approach, is to look at these situations through the lenses of scripture and become acquainted with The Most Wonderful Counselor.
Why Wonderful Counselor?
Webster defines wonderful as exciting wonder, marvelous, astonishing, unusually good, and admirable. According to Strong’s, wonderful is Hebrew for pele’, which means wonder, marvel, extraordinarily hard to understand.
While counselor, according to Webster, is described as a person who gives advice or counseling. The Hebrew, according to Strong’s, word for counselor is ya`ats which means to advise, consult, give counsel, purpose, devise, plan. While, in Greek the word is parakletos, which means an intercessor, consoler, advocate, and comforter.
Counseling, as defined by Webster, is a professional guidance of the individual by utilizing psychological methods especially in collecting case history data, using various techniques of the personal interview, and testing interests and aptitudes. As a Counselor myself, I use all of those methods to provide guidance to people who experience a variety of distressing life situations. But, wouldn’t it be even better to find purpose and advice by consulting the Great Intercessor, Consoler, Advocate, and Comforter.
Jesus, in John 14:16 KJV states “And I will pray to the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you forever.” Later in verse 26 He reiterates “But the Comforter, which is the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said to you.”
Jesus is described as the Wonderful Counselor in Isaiah 9:6, and teaches the disciples of another Counselor, the Holy Spirit, in the Gospel of John. Paul writes the Corinthians “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.” 2 Corinthians 1:3,4 NIV
Thus, I pray that Wonderful Counselor finds your heart and that it does not be troubled by the distressing cares and concerns of this world because we have an Excellent and Wonderful Counselor that brings us unusually good and astonishing consolation, advocacy, comfort and care.
Crystal S. Zanders is a Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor who works in private practice in Suburban Chicago. Crystal obtained her Bachelor of Arts in Communication from the University of Illinois at Chicago and Master of Arts in Counseling from Concordia University-Chicago in River Forest, IL. Crystal has over 8 years of experience providing counseling, advising, and coaching to individuals seeking to restore their lives. Crystal is actively involve in ministry. Crystal serves on the leadership team alongside her husband at Prayer City Church in Wheaton, IL. Additionally, Crystal is the co-founder of The Oasis Ministry, a women's ministry designed to encourage women in their growth in faith, purpose, and wholeness! Crystal’s favorite pastimes include: reading, writing, crocheting/knitting skills, and going to the movies. Her heart’s desire is to see individuals gain insight into their God-given identity and live a life of wholeness and purpose! Crystal loves to bring clarity and understanding through the truth of God’s Word and enjoys utilizing writing as a teaching modality.