LEARNING NOT TO PUT THINGS OFF
'Go to the ant, you sluggard'; consider its ways and be wise!' - Proverbs 6:6
In pursuit of your destiny, you have the responsibility to ensure that everything you do drives you to that desired future. It is your duty to embrace time and let it be your best friend in your journey to your destiny.
'No more limits to your destiny' can only be a reality when you acknowledge the power in your hands to change the way you approach things regarding your future. One thing I have personally learnt over the years is not to have the attitude of procrastination – putting things off.
Developing the right attitude is everything you need to be able to overcome the limitations of life. Ziz Ziglar once said that 'others can stop you temporarily, but you are the one who can stop yourself permanently'. This means that situations will try to limit your progress in life, but develop the right attitude of not giving up in the midst of it all; then you can overcome those limits and get to your destiny in Jesus' Name.
'To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven' - Ecclesiastes 3:1
There is time for everything we do, and it is to your detriment that you waste time because time does not wait for anyone. Therefore in this chapter, we are going to explore some of the reasons why we procrastinate and put limits on our progress in life. We also see some of the best possible ways of overcoming this killer of time.
Procrastination simply means to put off, lay off or postpone an important act or event that should be done in a particular time. This is one of the areas that affect many of us time after time.
In fact what differentiates a successful person from a failure is that successful individuals have the ability to recognize what, when, where, why and how to do something to add value to people around them. A failure on the other hand may not even acknowledge that time is ticking off, but leave everything to time and chance.
Whatever and wherever you may want to get, you have the power to get there through the grace of God, available to all mankind. Until you begin to take some action to fight any form of procrastination, this habit will only steal your opportunities, damage your career and pride or destroy your relationships and ministries.
'Procrastination is the thief of time' - Edward Young
The word of God made an account in the book of Proverbs chapter 6:1-11; encouraging us to observe and acquire some vital knowledge from the ant – 'Go to the ant, you sluggard; consider its ways and be wise'. The ant has no commander, no overseer or ruler, yet it stores its provisions in summer and gathers its food at harvest.
'How long will you lie there, you sluggard? When will you get up from your sleep? A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest—and poverty will come on you like a bandit and scarcity like an armed man.' Proverbs 6:1-11
Sluggards are those who always enjoy saying 'I will do it later, give me more time to rest' Each and every one of us faces the temptation to procrastinate, thinking we can do something a bit later on and forget that the next thing to come to us is laziness.
The way things are going in the world today and the pressure to meet all demands may pose problems, especially family lives, college works, business meetings to attend, and others are likely to drive you into the habit of procrastination. You may be giving excuses like 'I am waiting for the right time' or 'I am not in the right mood'. These are signs of procrastination which you need to check and avoid.
Many people have their own reasons for procrastination, so you need to examine yourself to see what makes you feel lazy when it s time to do something very important. These habits can be in the form of lack of clear goals, underestimating the difficulty of tasks and not being aware of the time required to complete them. One of the main reasons people tend to procrastinate is that they do not have a clear understanding of a particular task, and sometimes think it has been imposed on them by somebody. Often the fear of failure or of success is the reason people are limited in getting to their desired destiny.
In his book how to 'How to defeat procrastination', Steven Cutler explained that procrastination is a behavioral problem which most of the time, people suffer without realzing it is already 'eating them alive'. Procrastination can make you unproductive, stressed and guilty about the things you failed to do. More importantly, it can cause people around you to dismiss you as uncooperative and obstructive to the group's progress. This now affects your social relations.
It is a sad fact that many of us have the tendency to procrastinate. Even though it is something that is regarded as unhelpful or even harmful, it may be very hard to find the strength within not to yield to its temptation. However, keep in mind that overcoming procrastination is possible. It can be easy and is highly recommendable to cast out procrastination from your system if you are serious in getting to your destiny.
'You may delay, but time will not' - Benjamin Franklin
Ladders to climb to overcome procrastination
There are many ways to overcome the habit of procrastination in order to get to your destiny. It takes the spirit of concentration and commitment to do this. Do not waste time you could have used in building wealth, happiness and life contentment to add value to your generation.
The followings are some ladders to climb to overcome procrastination. Ladders are used typically for reaching heights. When you are not tall enough, the ladder is strategically placed to ensure safety. Therefore in order to overcome and climb over your limitations, you need the ladders to empower you to get your height of destiny. These are the ladders:
1. MOTIVATE YOURSELF
We read in proverbs 6:7 that the ants have no leaders or instructors to push them into greatness. That is, they have to motivate themselves ('It has no commander, overseer, or ruler'). What is motivating you in life? What is your motivation in studying, working or serving God? Are you doing it because you think you have to do it? Do you do what you do because someone told you to? Are you serving God because you are expecting a miracle from Him, or going to church because you do not want your church leaders to be calling you and asking you questions - so you go to church to warm the benches?
What is driving you to do what you are doing in the first place? Let your motivation come from inside you as you read the word of God and not from the outside, to please men. My brethren, it doesn't depend on your situation, feelings or who you are working with or for. You may not be appreciated for what you may be doing in your employment, school, university, church, house or among the family, but you need to motivate yourself to keep the faith and press on to the prize awaiting for you. Your salary may have been delayed by your boss, but as you are motivated to work hard and smartly, you will begin to see that you are progressing in life because what the enemy meant for evil, God will turn to your favour.
It is interesting to know that the ants do not need anybody to motivate them. They do not need a Prime Minister or NATO, neither do they need United Nations to motivate them. Who are you waiting to motivate you? Let the word of God motivate you in all you do.
The Bible tells of David's return from the land of the Philistines with his 600-man army to the village of Ziklag. Upon arrival they saw that the Amalekites had invaded, burning their houses to the ground and kidnapping their wives and children. This horrible news caused David's small army to turn on him and talk of stoning him to death. With no one to turn to for advice, David could just accept his fate. One thing we know is that David was greatly distressed; for the people spoke of stoning him, because the soul of all the people was grieved, every man for his sons and for his daughters: but David encouraged (motivated) himself in the LORD his God.
'Whatever you are doing, work at it with enthusiasm, as to the Lord and not for people' - Colossians 3:23
2. PLAN AHEAD
Planning ahead is one of the ladders you need to overcome procrastination. It can help organize your day and your busy schedule. To be able to be all that the Lord has called you to be and get to your destiny, planning ahead is a great way to prioritize and schedule those events and activities in a strategic manner.
No matter how busy your life, work, family and children make you, you still need to plan ahead. Don't wait until the last minute. Maybe you see others procrastinating until the last minute, and it makes you worry that things will never get done in time. Regardless of which of these profiles suits you, planning helps everyone work together while still getting everything done in a team.
From the passage we read in proverbs 6:1-11, we discovered that the ants always plan ahead. We learned that they gather their food in preparation for the winter. They work hard during the summer when food supplies are abundant and enjoy them during the winter, when supplies are scarce.
Do you know when your 'summer' and your 'winter' season are, to gather the things you may be needing when the time arises? Do you know when to work or study hard and when you need to rest? Have you planned for the future? Have you done your best in whatever you are doing at the moment? Are you studying hard to get a job in the future, to work hard for your savings, to serve God wholeheartedly for your 'heavenly investment?'
Did you know that effective planning saves hours of headache and worries? Planning ahead helps you overcome hours of confusion and gives you enough energy to tackle tasks, helping you to maximize your full potentials to step into your desired future. Anybody who is addicted to planning is able to maintain focus on specific objectives and direct resources on the most important things in creating their sure future.
Know that whatever you do now will not be in vain, no matter how silly or irrelevant it may seem to you. Maybe you are working part time in a restaurant, or maybe you are studying something that you think is unrelated to your course - whatever it may be, God can always make something good come out of it. You'll learn something that you would never have thought before, without realizing it! Whatever it is, plan ahead.
3. BE DECISIVE
Every great leap forward in your life comes after you have made a clear decision of some kind. Decisiveness is about making a decision or a choice. A person who is decisive is able to make a clear distinction between options. In Deuteronomy 30:19, we read that God spoke through Moses to the children of Israel regarding their choice of decision: 'I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live.'
Again in Joshua 1:8, we saw that Joshua was instructed to make the choice to meditate on the word of God for his success. 'This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success.'
Joshua 24:15: 'And if it seem evil unto you to serve the LORD, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.'
The ants made a decision to prepare and gather food at the right time. They searched for and discovered the right moment for them to get out of their nests and hiding places to search for what was needful and important to their destiny. They were not too lazy to get out from their so-called comfort zone. I am very sure that they were faced with fire and dangerous events which could have limited them from chasing their sure future. They were not hindered by the rocks, blocks, lizards, snakes and other things that could have posed a threat to them. The ants were fully determined to attain their destiny.
'No power in the sky above or in the earth below - indeed, nothing in all creation - will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord' - Romans 8:39
Are you always in your comfort zone, too lazy or too scared to go out because your mind tells you that there is a lion in street or snow on the road? In Proverbs 22: 13 ; the sluggard says, 'There is a lion outside! I shall be killed in the streets!' My brothers and sister in the Lord; do not be too scared to try something that you have not done before. Take the step of faith and get into that field and take the initiative like the ants. Each and every creature created by God is likely to face challenges, but we are admonished by the word of God not to be dismayed or discouraged.
I have also discovered that ants are the most delicate because of their sizes and, are prone to fatality as they are too small to notice. Therefore they can be trampled upon, but they are not scared to take chances to come out of their nests to achieve their goals and purpose.
'And there were four leprous men at the entrance of the gate: and they said one to another, why sit we here until we die?' - 2 kings7:3
These were individuals who made a strong decision to get up to pursue their destiny and not allow their leprosy to hinder or limit them. They were fully determined that whatever their situation, they would go and get something. In those days any person with such an infectious disease had to wear torn clothes, let his hair be unkempt, cover the lower part of his face and cry out, 'Unclean! Unclean!' They did not allow public ridicule to stop them - they believed in the power of decisiveness.
The choice you make on a daily basis affects what you will have, be or do in the tomorrows of your life.
It is very important that you do not postpone decisions you need to make today for your family, children, job, marriage, relationship and your future, because it could have dire consequences future. Be decisive!
4. FOCUS ON YOUR ASSIGNMENT
Life is a journey which must be travelled with focus. You cannot get to your destination safely without focusing on the road to success. You cannot get to the mountain top without focus. The higher you climb the mountain of success, the more you need to train your mind to focus. A pilot or a driver cannot get his passengers to where he is going safely without remaining focused.
In my field of work, you cannot be a surgeon or a nurse undertaking the responsibility of caring for patients unless you focus on the particular patient allocated to you in the intensive care unit. This makes it clear that we all need the spirit of focus to enable us to overcome any limitations that may face us.
On the road to your destiny, you need to understand that there may be some obstacles and challenges. Jesus Christ and His disciples were faced with a severe storm (Mark 6:45-56), but they survived. This means that with the power of focus, you can achieve your dream. You only get to your destination or your future when you are willing to remain steadfast and focused. I have decoded the word FOCUS into two statements which really make sense.
Fight Obstacles Continuously Until you Succeed: Ferdinard Lawson
When you want to be a high achiever, you need to fight continuously until you succeed in life. When examining the movement an ant, we see that they all move in one direction irrespective of distraction.
Focusing on an assignment is very important in overcoming the habit of procrastination. We can observe that all ants focus on one thing, such as preparing and gathering food for the winter season. Are you equally focused on your God-given assignment? Remain focused and do not look at what is happening around you to distract you from getting to your destiny. You must search through yourself to see what threatens to take your focus away from your assignment.
Be like the ants and do not give up easily. Successful people are never satisfied with their current level of achievement, neither are they limited by any form of disability. No matter what terrain they are going through, the ants keep on carrying the food without ever giving up. The Lord is on their side and yours.
'Success is a result of good decision making - failure is as a result of bad decision making'
5. DEVELOP A SPIRIT OF SELF-DISCIPLINE
I head Bishop Michael Hutton-Wood once say that 'self discipline is the ability to make yourself do what you should do, when you should do it, whether you feel like it or not'. Developing a spirit of self-discipline is actually mastering your self-confidence, self-esteem and inner strength, to produce self satisfaction. It is sometimes said that people with lack of self-discipline often become failures. In view of this, it is possible to say that self-discipline is one of the ladders that will enable you to remain focused on your destiny.
When you look at the way an automobile works, its relies on its parts to be reliable. For example, you need the gearbox, clutch, brakes, wheels, headlights, hazard lights, just to mention a few to enable it to function. So it is also vital that you have self-discipline as a vital part in your life to be able to overcome any limitations before you. Self-discipline should be the fuel in your petrol tank to get you to your destiny.
This life is full challenges, and sometimes a challenge tends to distract your focus and purpose for a particular day. However, when you are disciplined enough to remain on track you will surely get to that place of fulfillment. Imagine travelling on a highway and coming across a number of lights indicating that you should reduce your speed. You do not change your mind about the journey but discipline yourself to continue it. The journey into your destiny will be limited by so many road works, traffic lights and sometimes other drivers pulling in front or across you, so it will take discipline to remain the driver you were when you first began the journey without getting upset and angry.
In my field of work I have seen this demonstrated when an individual decide to quit smoking or other health-related problem like drinking and drug addiction. It takes self-discipline to overcome them. Do not allow the flood of procrastination to creep into your life or take you by surprise. Use these ladders to overcome the tsunami of procrastination. You can do it.
'Discipline is the power that fuels the systems that LEAD you to larger goals.' (unknown)
6. LET THE WORD OF GOD DWELL IN YOU
'Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.' Colossians 3:16 and Romans 15:4 inform us that for everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through endurance and the encouragement of the scriptures we might have hope. Make yourself get into the word of God. Even if it seems dry and lifeless to you, keep reading and you will be encouraged and uplifted.
When we allow God's Word to dwell in our lives, it changes and transforms us unto the image of God himself. It also becomes treasured in our lives. 'All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.' - Timothy 3:16
Furthermore, the word of God allows us to shed negative things that disturbed us at one time, and in many cases, overcame us. Amazingly, the word of God makes you healthy in your physical appearance, with the glory of the Lord shining in your face. Meditating on God's word creates calmness in your inner spirit and even eliminates or reduces the symptoms of many illnesses. 'Do not let this Book of the Law depart from your mouth; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful' - Joshua 1:8 (New International Version)
IF YOU DON'T MAKE A MOVE TO PURSUE YOUR DREAM; YOU WILL BE REMOVED FROM ACHIEVING IT IN LIFE
MAKE THAT MOVE NOW.............
Disclaimer: "The views/contents expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect those of Modern Ghana. Modern Ghana will not be responsible or liable for any inaccurate or incorrect statements contained in this article."