I began something yesterday, something that I knew I needed to do but had continually put off. Have you ever done that? You knew there was no getting around the fact that you needed to get something done, work on something, or focus on a goal, but you just couldn’t bring yourself to start. Why do we do this? What makes us continue to find excuses for not even beginning, let alone finishing, something we realize has to be done? There are many reasons for our procrastination, but for me it usually boils down to two. One, that I feel like I have plenty of time to get it done. Unfortunately, I seem to work well under pressure, so I will procrastinate until I feel the deadline approaching, and I have no choice but to get to work. Two, I put things off because I’m afraid I might fail. If I never start working toward that difficult goal, then I can’t fall short of reaching it. Of course, neither reason is good or even true.
The idea that I have plenty of time is one that takes a lot for granted. There is no way I can possibly know how much time I have. The book of James points out to us that our lives here on earth are like a mist that is here for a little while and then vanishes. None of us knows if we will be here tomorrow, let alone next week. Only God knows how much time we have on this earth, and it is our responsibility to use that time wisely. I should stop taking time for granted and instead, use my time to complete the tasks given me without procrastinating. In this way, I won’t leave things undone and have regrets.
My other excuse, the fear of failure, is just simply untrue. The only way I truly fail, is by not trying at all. As a child, and later as a young adult, my dad kept drilling this into my mind. He used to tell me that not trying was the true failure. He encouraged me to set my goals as high as possible, because then, even if I didn’t reach my goal, I would achieve more than I thought possible just by aiming for it. If we set our goals based only on what we know we can achieve, then we leave out one very important element, God. He wants to use us in ways we can’t even imagine. If we set our goals based only on what we feel confident we can accomplish, we leave no room for Him to amaze us and show others His power. It is scary to step out of our comfort zones, but when we do and God accomplishes something through us, what an amazing feeling we experience. It strengthens our faith and we are able to see God at work. Taking that step in faith, even if we don’t accomplish what we hope, is a victory in itself – there is no failure when we trust God.
So, yesterday I took that first step. I stopped procrastinating, thinking I had plenty of time, and I stopped worrying about failing. In my weakness, I began the journey toward accomplishing what I believe God has called me to do in His strength. It was frightening to take that first step into the unknown, but I’ll tell you a secret. Today, because I took that first step, I feel totally alive. It feels like I have woken up from a very long nap and I’m excited about the time that lies before me. I can’t wait to see what happens next. Surely there will be more scary steps to take ahead, but the adventure they’ll take me on is one I’m eager to experience.