Procrastination and perfectionism go hand in hand. They are the two sides of a dual-edged sword which frequently attacks me. The perfectionist in me wants everything, and I mean everything to be just so, and since it rarely can be, because, let's be honest, I can only do a handful of things really well, I just put off doing what I can't do to my perfectionistic satisfaction. What a miserable way to live! My closest friends would be the first to tell you that I have a HUGE tendency to do things big or not at all. They are helping me find middle ground.
My perfectionism also causes me to plan, tremendously plan (not like my mom plans, much to her dismay). As a homeschool mom, school has to be planned, but I started planning the 2011-2012 school year in March of 2011. We weren't even done with the 2010-2011 school year yet! I wasn't planning it "officially" on paper, but my gears were turning way back in March. I tried to stop them, but it didn't work well for me. Some days, I was so busy planning things in my head, and sometimes on paper when it got to be too much for my head to contain, that I missed a large portion of the day I was in...planning almost 6 months in advance! I know the old saying, "Yesterday is history; tomorrow is a mystery; today is a gift; that's why it's called the present." It's easy to say. It even sounds cutesy, but it's so common that it means nothing to me. I recently read it worded differently however, and this time, it made me think.
I am slowly reading Let Me Be Woman by Elisabeth Elliot. It is a collection of letters she wrote to her daughter. So far, all of the ones I've read have been while her daughter was engaged. They may all be that way, I'm not sure because I haven't finished it yet. (I'm reading several books right now, as usual.) One of the things that she shares with her daughter is that today is all we are responsible for, God still owns tomorrow. Now, that sounds similar to the above saying, but at the same time, it is profoundly different. The above statement is all about you, your choices, and your responsibility to yourself. Her statement is about God and our responsibility to Him. If I'm thinking about today as a gift, I'm thinking about myself. When I receive a gift, I can do whatever I want with it. The giver has no say in how the gift is used, or even if it's returned. (Come on, I know you've done it too! We've all received gifts we didn't want or need.) However, if I'm thinking about God owning my tomorrow and I'm borrowing today from Him, the way I treat borrowed things is different. I am more careful with other people's things than I am my own.
Also, she's not really talking about worrying about tomorrow. Jesus told us not to, and we shouldn't. That's easy for me to say, because worry isn't my struggle. What Elisabeth Elliot is talking about is living. Is planning a sin? No, I don't believe it is in and of itself, but what if your planning tomorrow keeps you from living today? What if you put something off, saying, "Oh, I'll just do it tomorrow." That's okay sometimes, but what if it's a habit? Hmmm...now it's getting interesting. God still owns tomorrow. What if He chooses not to give it to us? Did we live today, or are we planning to live tomorrow? Were we responsible with today? Did we do what we should have? We truly are living on borrowed time. Are we acting like it?
Please don't think that I have arrived at this yet. God is just beginning to plant the seeds of this truth in my heart, but I think it's important. Will you travel this road with me? Can we live together on our borrowed time being responsible with what doesn't truly belong to us?