Thursday, July 2, 2009

Wearing God goggles...tomorrow

Sometimes I feel like a hypocrite when I'm teaching.  I give out discipline hours for texting in class though I illegally text while driving all the time.  I mark kids tardy on a daily basis though I struggle with habitual tardiness myself.  I tell them to be kind to each other though I am not always kind.  I tell them not to do homework at the last minute though I am a notorious procrastinator.  In the middle of a "you shouldn't procrastinate" lecture, I caught myself and changed the tune of my lecture so it sounded more like this.  

"OK, I realize that no matter what I say a lot of you are going to wait until midnight to even think about this assignment.  Go ahead.  Drink lots of Mountain Dew and eat donuts.  That kept me awake in college while I pounded out last minute papers.  Some may tell you that you won't get as good of a grade if you do it at the last minute, but that's not necessarily true.  I used to thrive on the pressure of a deadline and pulled many all-nighters because of my procrastinating nature.  So go ahead.  Wait till the last minute.  However, if you are not good under pressure like I was, your work might suck and your grade will suffer.  Your computer might fail and I'll show no mercy because it should have been done sooner.  You might not be able to finish it on time and I'll mark it half off if it's late.  I'm not against procrastinating.  I myself do it all the time.  But if you procrastinate, be prepared to suffer the consequences.  All-nighters aren't as glamorous as they sound.  You'll look terrible the next day and fall asleep in your classes.  So think about it and you be the judge if you want to save this assignment for the night before."

As I lectured, I couldn't help but think of the "assignments" I was currently procrastinating on: writing a thank-you letter to my Mozambique supporters and updating this blog.  "I'll work on it tomorrow" was a thought that I had EVERY SINGLE DAY for about 7 months.  That is some hard-core procrastinating.  I started writing my "update letter" which you can find in the margins of this blog if you didn't get it, literally in December.  My student aide addressed the letters in March.  The letters went out in June.  Without a deadline, I had no pressure motivating me and took one year to send out a simple thank-you letter.   Geesh.

Same story with this blog.  I'll update tomorrow.  Okay, maybe this weekend.  When I get home from school.  Alright, tomorrow...for sure.  I'll just wait till summer... And so the battle continued but again, with the lack of motivation and accountability, I can put things off for literally a year.  Can think about it every day and still not do it.  I think I've taken procrastination to a new level.   I saw the pictured mug at my parents' house and laughed.  I should have stolen it because it is so perfect for me.  Maybe I'll take it tomorrow.
This "do it tomorrow" philosophy can become dangerous however, when there is no deadline.  Sadly, this mentality hinders my relationship with God.  "I'll read this afternoon.  Okay tonight.  Well now I'm too tired to focus so I'll read tomorrow."  And so on and so on and pretty soon it's been a week and I haven't cracked open the Bible once.  Hypocrite Katie.  I spoke in chapel about the importance of reading the word.  About how God took the time to send us this amazing note which can apply to every situation we're in.  About how if we really want to grow as Christians, we must be reading what He has to say to us every single day.  And yet, I don't.  I want to.  I truly desire to grow in my faith, to understand the Lord more, to love Him more passionately and serve Him more faithfully.  And yet I am still plagued by the "I'll do it tomorrow" mentality.  It makes me question myself.  Do I really want to grow?  If I do, why am I procrastinating in reading God's note to me?  Why am I putting off until tomorrow talking with my supposed best friend?  Is this truly procrastination or a bigger issue: a lack of faith?  I can't answer that right now but I do know that I am going to crack open the Bible right now and start reading.  I do believe that His word has transforming power so I refuse to procrastinate any longer in getting to know my Savior more intimately.

One lesson I'm continuing to learn is the importance and necessity of accountability.  I need friends to ask me what I'm reading and learning to ensure that I am constantly reading the word.  I rely on Heidi as a running partner or I would rarely lace up my shoes.  (side note: yesterday she swallowed a bug while running and made thee funniest gasping/wheezing/hurling type screech that I couldn't stop laughing for a good five minutes.) I'm writing this entry right now because my friend Katie called me out on my procrastinating problem.  I need that.  Thanks Katie.  I need people to call me out on things.  The other day my mom did it.  In the course of an evening I said, "Oh man, so-and-so drives me crazy."  "Oh gosh, they are soooo obnoxious."  "He is a major tool and drives me bonkers."  (Yes, I did use the word bonkers and if you're curious about the definition of a tool, click on the word to see Urban Dictionary definition.  The third definition is most applicable)  After my third comment, my mom said, "Seems like a lot of people are annoying you lately."  

That's all it took.  One insightful sentence to cut me to the core.  You're right mom.  The issue wasn't with the annoying people around me (because they are indeed plain obnoxious).  The issue was with me.  How am I seeing others and treating them?  Do I see them as God does or through Katie lenses?  Katie lenses are kinda terrible.  I can be easily peeved if I look at people through them.  Years ago God started teaching me to see people as He does.  When I'm annoyed, I need to slip on His lenses or rather, my "God goggles" and ask that He would help me see them as He does.  It changes everything.  The tool of a man that I want to slap appears as a beloved son of God who finds himself funnier than he is but is dearly loved and made for God's purposes.  The mean, old lady whose smile looks like a snarl softens dramatically when I have on my God goggles.  The annoying aren't so annoying when I wear these goggles.  

In order to be an effective teacher and enjoy every day, it is crucial to have a pair of God goggles.  My students are sweet and entertaining but if I forget to remove my Katie lenses, they can be awful little monsters.  

This post was supposed to be about procrastination.  I was trying to apologize for my negligence with this blog and promise to update more often.  At some point I forgot why I was writing and went off on a tangent.  Clearly I'm out of practice.  Now it's time for me to quit procrastinating and go read.