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What I’ve learned about procrastination

From the teen series: Trending - April 17, 2019

TeenConnect: Trending

I had a huge project due for one of my classes, and I had procrastinated so much that I ended up having to do it all in one night. It was a big part of my grade and involved creating a slide show and a script plus presenting the project to several people before turning it in.

The night before the due date, I was stressed out but still working on it steadily, when the Wi-Fi in my dorm shut off. I wasn’t even halfway done! Normally, whenever this happened, I would just use my phone as a hot spot, but that wasn’t working either. I broke down. I called my parents and told them everything. They weren’t able to help me with my presentation, since they live in another state, but they did help me in another way. They reminded me that I could get quiet and listen for an answer from God, just like I’d learned to do in the Christian Science Sunday School. 

After I hung up the phone, I did get quiet. This is very hard when you’re living in a dorm with sixty other girls! But it was like this total silence just descended. That’s when I got a reassuring thought that there wasn’t anything I couldn’t do with God by my side. No matter how much I had procrastinated, God was still caring for me and giving me all the ideas I needed.

No matter how much I had procrastinated, God was still caring for me and giving me all the ideas I needed.

Right after that, my mom texted me with an idea about how to keep working on my project even though I didn’t have an internet connection. It was exactly what I needed, and I was able to complete most of my slides even without Wi-Fi.

I was trying to stay clear about the fact that God was providing for me, but every time I looked at the clock, I would get stressed out again and feel afraid that I wouldn’t have enough time to finish. At around two in the morning, I realized that the stress was preventing me from working efficiently. So I decided I needed to cover the clock on my computer. That might sound strange, but my decision to cover the clock was based on the spiritual definition of time in Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures by Mary Baker Eddy: “Mortal measurements; limits, in which are summed up all human acts, thoughts, beliefs, opinions, knowledge; …” (p. 595). 

I realized that time isn’t something solid and inflexible, but is simply a suggestion that there are limits. I knew that the opposite is true—that in God there are no limits, and I “live, and move, and have [my] being” in God (Acts 17:28). After covering my clock and reaffirming that God was with me and providing for me, I was able to work on my project efficiently.

A little while later, I was close to finishing. But I still had a few pieces that required internet access, plus I needed to present to two peers. I didn’t know how this would be possible, so I prayed again. That’s when it occurred to me that I could sleep for a couple of hours and finish the rest in the morning.  

When I woke up at around 6 a.m., I realized that the Wi-Fi was back on and I could complete my project. I was also able to find two people to present to before I rushed off to school. Later, when I gave my presentation in class, I felt calm, and I knew God was with me. A few weeks later, I found out I got an A on the project!

I learned how good it feels to listen to God and to do what I’m supposed to be doing.

This experience was a huge lesson for several reasons. For example, it taught me that nothing we do or fail to do can ever separate us from God. Maybe we feel separated from God because we haven’t been following His guidance (like the nudges to work on stuff before the last minute). But the moment we become receptive and turn back to Him, and acknowledge that He is here and that we are listening, we can feel His care, support, and direction.

I also learned how good it feels to listen to God and to do what I’m supposed to be doing. Sometimes I think about the hymn from the Christian Science Hymnal that begins, “I walk with Love along the way” (Minnie M. H. Ayers, No. 139), and I replace walk with work. That helps me remember that I’m not doing anything on my own, but am feeling God’s love and expressing His qualities as I do my work—without procrastinating!

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