Skating Toward Self Control
Then Joshua asked them, “How long are you going to wait before taking possession of the remaining land the Lord, the God of your ancestors has given to you?” Joshua 18:3
My mother used to always tell me to ‘never put off until tomorrow what you can accomplish today.’ I can always think of a hundred things that need to be done in the house and the yard alone. Our adorable little Chihuahua, Salsa, needs a bath. The rose bushes are in desperate need of a good trimming. Paint is chipping on the old garage door, the pool is full of June bugs and this is October. And that is exactly my problem. I can always think of a multitude of other tasks in order to avoid the one thing I need to do the most. Yes, sadly it’s true. I am a procrastinator. There should be an organization similar to AA for people like me who always want to put off until tomorrow the thing we need to do today. Procrastinator’s Anonymous. I could be the President.
I’m always telling my husband, ‘Look at everything I accomplished today!’ And he sits in wonder at the tasks that have been finished. I actually make lists in the evening before the next day and check them off one by one as I complete them. How could a person this organized be a procrastinator? Sounds impossible, doesn’t it? But it’s the one thing I don’t want to do that stands ominously in the way of my peace of mind and truest success. It’s the thing I most need to do that slips through my fingers day after day. And that thing I need to do, but don’t is what keeps me awake at night, haunts me during the day and makes me a certified member of PA whether I want to be or not.
I bet you’re laughing right now, because you see yourself in precisely the same light. There are numerous members of Procrastinators Anonymous. I’ve met many souls of similar persuasion whose closets are running over with clothes that are crying to be boxed up for Good Will, newspapers from years ago they’ve never read that should be in the recycle bin, documents that still have not been signed but are collecting dust instead on the corner of some desk with a broken drawer.
Procrastinators have a moral code they live by and rarely is it broken- Never do today what can wait until tomorrow. Since I’m the rightful President of this club let me be the first to tell you this important truth; self control is the virtue which all true procrastinators lack; the one they need the most.
People often ask me where I got my musical talent. I have vivid childhood memories of my father sitting at the piano, teaching me to play “Little Brown Jug.” It’s a short, simple song with no more then three chords, the lyrics portraying the life of a fellow more interested in his booze than his wife. My Dad, who never took a drop of liquor himself, sang this song like he was auditioning for American Idol, and it was interesting how he could take those same three chords and apply them to any hymn you’d ever want to sing. Ingenious. My mother, on the other hand, sang in the church choir….and everyone could pick her out, because she was the person who enthusiastically belted out every song on the same note, regardless of the key of the music.
This was my musical heritage. “Little Brown Jug,” however, didn’t get me very far in college when I needed to play a Beethoven Sonata or a Bach Fugue. My Mother’s monotone voice did little for me when it came to singing Operatic Arias, and German Art Songs. I had much to learn and the discipline of time and effort required was monumental. Each week, there was a new piano piece to perfect and a new art song to learn, and worst of all, I had to perform them in front of the Webster University music faculty and other students.
When time came for final exams, they usually entailed a recital performance as a large part of our final grade. I cleaned my dorm room. I cleaned it six times. I worked on my other non-pertinent classes- studied psychology, memorized history facts, volunteered in the lunchroom- anything at all to avoid facing the workload I knew I needed to attack.
What was wrong with me? When finally I got down to business and hit the practice room to prepare for my recital, I had only days left to complete the task. Now, unless one is a genius, it’s quite impossible to memorize twenty to thirty pages of music in just a few days. Needless to say, my performance was less than stellar, and my German Art Song, took on a familiar monotone, reminiscent of my mother’s glory days in the church choir.
I have to admit, it was an enlightening moment for this bonafide procrastinator. I had to weigh the consequences of my lack of discipline, and self-control. Like it or not, there is a painful price to pay for putting off until tomorrow what needs to be done today.
Paul addressed this particular issue in the second book of Timothy, the second chapter, starting at verse 5 when he says this; “Follow the Lord’s rules for doing his work, just as an athlete either follows the rules or is disqualified and wins no prize. The hardworking farmers are the first to enjoy the fruit of their labor.” When we can grasp the discipline of priority, and gain through God’s enablement the power to tackle those tasks that are most needful and necessary in our lives, we reap the benefits of that self control.
I honestly never gave myself license to procrastinate practice for another recital after the painful lesson I learned at Webster University. I decided the humiliation wasn’t worth dragging my heels. Of course, applying that precept to all the other areas of my life has been a challenge. Once a procrastinator……
If I knew how to defeat the demon of delay, I’d reveal the secret in this book. But, I know the One who is ready and able to help us prioritize our lives and who genuinely wants us to win the prize of purpose fulfilled. I now start each morning requesting God’s assistance in my quest to order my day and seek his collaboration in my effort to accomplish those tasks most needful. It’s amazing how simple the mission can be when the Lord puts his particular spin on it. What seemed daunting suddenly appears attainable. God has this miraculous way of turning mountains into molehills. Don’t you love that?
So, “How long are you going to wait before taking possession of the remaining land the Lord the God of your ancestors has given to you?” Well Lord, by your grace, I’ll get to it first thing tomorrow.
- Tamra Nashman
- Florida, United States
- I'm a mother of two children, an inspirational and motivational Author and Minister. My greatest joy is to see people gain new insight and understanding about the amazing possibilities that life holds when we put put our faith to action. 'Shoes For The Spirit, is a book filled with real-life stories of people who have walked through great difficulty and have found the right pair of shoes for their personal journey. Whether or not you are a person of faith, there is something uplifting, guiding and compelling in this little book, for everyone. The accompanying CD, 'Songs For the Soul,' is a compliation of original orchestrated tunes, with voice-over verse layered on top of the music. This CD has great encouragement for all who take the time to listen. I hope all of you bloggers will read the new sequel to 'Shoes For The Spirit,' listed in the blog posts below, and if you're so inclined, will purchase my book and CD. You won't be sorry! Be blessed. Love, Tamra
- ► 2008 (11)