We all procrastinate; at least I’d like to think so. However, it’s a bit like the flu; some of us have a harder time shaking it than others. Trust me. I’m an EXPERT in procrastination. How can you be sure? Because if I weren’t, this blog would have been posted much earlier.

I’m also an artist. Light and darkness are key elements in my work so I am key-nly aware of them. Here’s my unconventional view of procrastination.

The alarm clock goes off at 5:00 a.m. It’s still dark outside, so I’ll call this the darkest shade of procrastination; the one we encounter first and fight the most. We fumble in the shadows for our waking devise, then hit the snooze button in an act of defiance. Hence, the title of this darkest shade is Rebellion. Perhaps this is a necessary part of the process; a way of proclaiming our freedom.

If you are like me, an involuntary battle begins in the brain. One side searches for a reason to stay in bed… forever. The other side tortures you with “to do” lists and deadlines, orating your obligations like a broken record. Some people blissfully skip this step and silently start to slumber. I’m not one of them. Instead I start the bed-sheet shuffle. While logic is nagging at me about the need for time management, my body just wants a few minutes of comfort. Now that I’m awake, I get a little restless. I shift from one position to another as if trying to trick the brain into thinking I’m doing something important. I push or punch a pillow or two in the process. The room gets a little lighter but this stage of procrastination still feels heavy. We’ll call it The Battle.

This is where we have the opportunity to exercise our mental muscles. At first we are weak, and will remain so if we continue to procrastinate, but each time we throw our feet over the proverbial edge and plant them firmly on the ground, we grow a little stronger. This feels a lot like success and indeed it is. The room feels a little lighter and our confidence builds. We’ll call this shade Half Way There (pause here to envision Bon Jovi singing “Living on a Prayer”).

It’s like a runner on his mark. He’s done a little work to get there, but hasn’t really started the race yet. This stage is the important bridge that carries us from our rebellious battles to acceptance and action.

There’s one more valuable shade and it’s the brightest of all. This should always precede the moment we face that dreaded thing we’ve been procrastinating.  It’s like the runner taking in that deep breath of life-giving oxygen, seconds before the race starts. Now that we are out of the bed with those feet planted on the ground, we turn and fall to our knees. This is when we humbly ask God to guide us and give us strength. His light warms us and lifts us like nothing else can. This is the moment we can turn all fears aside because fear and faith cannot exist together. Now we are ready to go out into the world armed with a power beyond our own.

To defeat procrastination is to step through these different shades. We start in that dark, we sometimes pause til the last possible moment. However, the key to overcoming is understanding. Once we realize this black moment is playing a trick on us, we evolve and move forward onto the next shade. This gray area, between darkness and light, is a needed moment of reflection; counting every small success. Halfway to victory, we can reward ourselves with a little pat on the back; building the confidence to continue.

Now comes the time to be brave.

Faith and bravery are much alike. We must trust that God will give us the strength to do as he would have us do. Bravery brings us to action. Action fosters progression; so we move on regardless of the outcome, even if we feel inadequate. It is time to stop sitting, waiting and fumbling our fingers. Instead, fold them in humble prayer so we can walk in the light of God’s power.

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