This post was written in collaboration with Marie Williams whose remarks are highlighted. Marie blogs at Come Fly with Me, https://mariewilliams53.wordpress.com.
“Most of my life has been spent circling or avoiding important things that I need to do and I get very frustrated with myself. Sometimes, I find myself trying to locate passports or important papers at the 11th hour, when I’ve had ample time to deal with matters like this.”
Procrastination and perfectionism are patterns of behavior well familiar to abuse victims, twin destructive forces that have deep meaning for those who have suffered abuse.
We invest the necessary (the “shoulds” and “musts” of life) with the power to annihilate us, or at least demolish the fragile image we have of ourselves. Then we defer, delay, and defer again – certain that we will fail to meet our own expectations.
Failure is a foregone conclusion, given that our expectations are, by definition, unattainable.
Let’s unpack that dynamic.
Real Deadline/Chaotic Life
“To everything there is a season, A time for every purpose under heaven…” (Eccl. 3: 1 NKJV).
Federal income taxes are due April 15. This is a real deadline – not a secret and not a surprise. Still, we delay gathering our tax receipts and other records together.
“You live in a state of confusion, and therefore mundane ‘every day’ matters become muddled and murky. You cannot quite get to grips with simple but important tasks. You know that you have to present your driving licence for identity and you know it’s in a box somewhere, but it really is too much trouble trying to locate it in good time. So you (at the last minute) hunt around like crazy trying to find it – it happens not to be in the box you thought it was in, and you have to turn everything upside down to find it – and all this adds to the chaos of your already chaotic life.”
“Anxiety in a man’s heart weighs him down…” (Prov. 12: 25 ESV).
We may dither over whether to rely on our long-time accountant; visit a less costly tax preparation agency; or use one of the computer programs which now allow us to do the taxes, ourselves. We may put off making copies or doing something else insignificant, related to tax preparation. What that is does not matter.
We, in other words, create the dilemma. Continue reading