Daily Beauty, Day #27: Release
I am an anti-procrastinator.
It’s a strange label to assign oneself. I do not mean that I never procrastinate, because there are certain duties that I prefer to delay until later. By anti-procrastination, I am referring to a desire- a compulsion even, to finish. To be finished with an undesirable task so that the “bad” can be out of the way and the “good” left to enjoy.
There are a number of things wrong with this philosophy. Although the aptitude for focus and the ability to work hard are not negative qualities, they can easily be taken too far. They are only good when they are life giving, and when they lead to obsessive thought patterns and excessive self-discipline, they actually remove us from life’s momentary flow, from its joys and its beauties.
It is easy to become obsessed about anything. Our mind latches on to one particular worry and spins it into oblivion. We can’t seem to eradicate the thought… so much so that it torments us even when we aren’t consciously thinking at all. We feel that until this problem (no matter how petty) is solved, until this worry is answered, we cannot be happy. We have to finish before we can move on, and until we do finish, the thought that we haven’t will lurk in wait in our minds, surely preventing us from feeling any peace or sense of inner calm.
All of this stems from the lie that we are in control, that we must keep a careful grip on the outcomes of events in our life and that we are responsible for ensuring their success. This mindset is certainly stress-inducing. Under its logic, we must do everything on our own and are bound to experience guilt, regret, failure and shame.
And yet this is not the kind of life we have to live. We don’t have ultimate control and we don’t always have a say in how things turn out in our lives. What we do have is a choice. We can choose to rely on our own strength, searching vainly for guarantees that do not exist, or we can choose to let go of our worries and fears, and even our dreams and ambitions. We can choose to give these instead to God and to allow Him to lead us through this life day by day, moment by moment.
This is not an easy choice to make. And I am not under the illusion that choosing the latter option immediately makes life easy and erases all struggles. You can know the source of true comfort and peace and find hope and love from it, and still turn away from it later. This is a choice that we must make continually, a choice to position our focus on He who does not change rather than on mortal cares that flee from day to day.
I do not think there will ever be a time when I don’t struggle with anxiety and anti-procrastination. But I do know that there is hope, and that recognizing my weaknesses and realizing that He is bigger than them, leads to true freedom. Although we need to allow this truth to continually sink into our soul, we can grow and we can learn that there is happiness and beauty right now that we can appreciate and rejoice in no matter where we are, where we’re coming from or where we’re going.
We don’t need to finish to start living. We just need to trust, to trust that we may not see far in front of us, but the path will be made clear once we get there.
Sometimes I feel like I can guarantee that things will be alright by mentally rehearsing the way I think they’ll go and expending time and energy on things I am not doing and cannot change. It feels safer this way. But it is not happy. It is not peaceful and it is certainly not beautiful. And I don’t want to live in my own self-made constraints. Letting go feels like a risk (every time). But in this release of responsibility, release of stress, release of fear, release of control, release of worry… there is true beauty.
And I want to be a part of it.