My entire house was spotless. I had cleaned and cleaned and cleaned. I even took each potted plant and cleaned its pot, freshened up its soil and wiped down each leaf individually.
Granted that isn’t the way my house looks right now but there are moments when it definitely shines, and this was one of those times.
I tend to obsess about cleaning when I’m overly stressed or overwhelmed about projects or assignments that are weighing heavily on me. The closer the deadline comes for the project, the bigger and more impossible it seems. That’s when I can only focus on cleaning.
Odd ways to procrastinate
It’s actually kind of humorous to me how I will procrastinate on cleaning my house or organizing my office because both of those projects seem overwhelming at the time. It is only when I’m procrastinating on an even bigger project that I’m all of a sudden ready to tackle the cleaning project that should have already been done anyway.
I’m sure you have experienced those moments from time to time — staying busy working on something but not necessarily what should be priority at the time.
For instance, I’m writing this column several weeks ahead of the deadline, which is good in and of itself, but not the best idea because I set aside this time to write a paper for my Old Testament continuing education class at Samford’s Ministry Training Institute. (Ahem, don’t mention that part to our instructor, Dr. Norris.)
Comes down to discipline for me
While there are likely as many different reasons for procrastination as there are different personality types who procrastinate, I know for me it comes down to discipline.
One of my mentors in my mid-20s (the late Eleanor Terry) taught me about backcasting and how to start with the end date of a project and work backward with small goals to achieve between now and then. Working on a project in bite-size pieces is much more manageable and less stressful. It also keeps you focused so you are working efficiently and in proper order and allows for lots of moments of achievement rather than waiting for that one large moment that seems so impossible to reach. It also prevents the famous all-nighter so many of us have pulled more than once to meet a deadline.
Living the D-Life
The same concept can be applied to our Bible-reading plan. My pastor is currently challenging all of us at NorthPark Baptist Church, Trussville, to embrace that concept. We are calling it D-Life and wrapping it around the concept of living a full life of discipleship where we commit to becoming disciples who make disciples.
The idea is that we will join or start a discipleship group that meets weekly anywhere, anytime and follow a Bible-reading plan together — one chapter of the New Testament five days a week. Read the Scripture, meditate on what you read and jot down a few things that come to mind about what it said to you. Meet together with your group and discuss a set of study questions.
The goal is that each member of the group will eventually start his or her own discipleship group and continue the same routine, which means the members of the new group will eventually start his or her own group, and on it goes. A larger goal is that each person will develop and grow through the process, leading him or her to deeper studies of Scripture as well as expanded opportunities of service for the Kingdom. And the ultimate goal is that we learn to live out the gospel in all aspects of life, sharing with others as we go about our daily routines.
It’s not the same as a life group or Sunday School class. It’s strictly focused on reading the Scriptures together, growing in the Word and keeping each other accountable. And it’s working — one chapter a day, one discussion a week, one group at a time.
—Jennifer Davis Rash