Rest and Procrastination

One of my problems is that I can’t easily tell the difference between rest and procrastination. Yesterday I wanted to get work done on an assignment, but I did not. I was tired and really did not feel like working on it. At the end of the day I felt somewhat disappointed in myself. My will was too weak to overcome the desire to be idle.

Fortunately for me, I have a fiancee who is wiser than I am. She interpreted things differently. According to her, I was tired, and I needed to rest. It’s not that my will was overcome by laziness; it’s that I was just too tired to get anything done anyway, and the best thing for me to do was to take a break.

I tend to mischaracterize rest as procrastination. I assume that, with enough will power, I can do anything that I set my mind to. But I have limitations besides a lack of will power. I have limited physical energy, emotional energy, and creativity. And if those limitations are stopping me from getting things done, then trying to force it is unlikely to help. Stepping back and letting myself recharge is all I can do.

I’m sure it’s possible to go the other way, too. People might think that they’re just resting when, in reality, they’re putting things off because they don’t feel like working. It’s not always easy to draw the line between rest, which is absolutely necessary, and procrastination, which is best avoided. In fact, where the line should be drawn probably varies significantly among different persons and different circumstances.

So it requires wisdom to tell the difference. And it also often requires an outside perspective. One of the reasons we can’t do life without the help of others is because we often fail to see what’s really going on. I interpreted my lack of progress on the assignment as a sign of laziness or weakness of will. But there were other interpretations available that I could not see without help.

I am blessed to have people in my life who show me grace even when I am not disposed to receive it. Hopefully I start to internalize that grace and stop viewing myself in a harsher light than is helpful.


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