Archive | October 2014

Procrastination Lessons

Happy Thankful Thursday everyone!  It has been so long since I’ve written a Thankful Thursday post.  I’m still practicing being grateful though, and with November 1st in just two days, it is a good time to focus on it even more!  Today I’m thankful that I’ve had this blog for one full year!  I love my blog, and I’m so glad I started writing it.  I’m also thankful for some lessons that I learned as a result of my own procrastination a  few weeks ago.  I’ve been wanting to share them, and today is the perfect day to do that!  So here goes….

Every year on the first day of school, after my family leaves the house I have to pause for a moment and enjoy the quiet.  I love my family, but I love quiet and stillness too – and I just don’t get a lot of that during the summer.

This year was no different.  The house was perfectly quiet and perfectly still for quite awhile because my youngest one slept in a bit that first day.  It was lovely…

…until the telephone rang.

My husband was calling to tell me that my daughter’s school had not received a record of her vaccinations and that she was not supposed to be in school without it.  However, he also said that the school’s phones were down, so I couldn’t just have the doctor’s office fax them over.  So I had to call the doctor’s office, get my little one ready, pick up the record, and drive them over to school.  Since I live 20 minutes away, and my daughter is not very fast when it comes to getting ready or at running errands, this was not a quick process.  When I got to the school I learned that my daughter had not been allowed to attend class and instead was sitting in the Principle’s office, just waiting for me to arrive.

You can imagine that I felt pretty bad.  Yes it would have been better for everyone if the phone had been working, but I had received a letter a few weeks before school started telling me they didn’t have those records and needed them before the first day.  I could have (and should have) taken care of it prior to the first day of school, making the non-working phones a non-issue, but I just put it off for one day, and then another and another.  Then the doctor’s office was closed for the weekend, and suddenly it was the first day of school.  Yeah – talk about mommy guilt.

But it was OK – my daughter got through it and so did the school officials.  Even though it was stressful in the moment, as far as I can tell, we were all able to move on from my mistake pretty quickly.

However – the next day I learned of another thing that I had procrastinated over the summer.  I won’t go into detail, because it would be difficult to explain everything adequately.  But I will say the consequence was a certain amount of confusion, embarrassment, and wasted money.  And it was all 100% my fault – once again due to my procrastination.

Especially at the height of confusion and frustration, I had a very difficult time forgiving myself.  If only I had someone else to blame or could just chalk it up to “that’s just the way things go sometimes.”  But no, it was my own doing (or rather, not doing).

That evening when I was home, my stress level reached it’s peak, and all I could do was cry.  Recently I’ve been making a bigger effort to turn to the scriptures when I feel unhappy or stressed, and so when I had a chance, this is what I chose to do.  I just started reading from where I was (Mosiah 26), not looking for anything in particular, but as I read I felt the message was personalized just for me.  Here is what I learned:

  1. The Lord will forgive us as many times as we choose to repent (Mosiah 26:30).  I was mad at myself because procrastinating important things is a habit for me, which means I’m guilty of it over and over and over again!  But I could see here, that the Lord wasn’t holding that against me, and that he would continue to forgive me.  In fact, I felt in my heart that He had already forgiven me of both of these instances!
  2. I am required to forgive everyone, including myself! (Mosiah 26:31).   To me forgiveness doesn’t mean going into denial and pretending a mistake wasn’t made.  But rather it means letting go of the anger, blame, and other negative thoughts and words that seem to always appear along with the mistake.  And I truly believe that when the Lord says that He requires us to forgive everyone, that He means ourselves as well.
  3. I should “give thanks in all things” (Mosiah 26:39).  Give thanks in ALL things?!  Here I was, feeling like this moment in my life was the worst thing ever, and I’m supposed give thanks!  Except luckily I was starting to feel a little better from my earlier reading, and so I was able to do it.  I said a silent prayer thanking my Heavenly Father for the experience and the lessons I was learning from it.  And guess what?  My stress nearly melted away!  I felt so much better!  I could see that while it was something that needed to be dealt with, it was really not the end of the world.
  4. Replace my fear with faith (Elder M. Russell Ballard).  At this point I had switched my reading over to talks from General Conference.  The talk I was reading was about missionary work, and again chosen simply because I was reading them in order.  But when I read the words, “…by replacing our fear with real faith,” I knew they applied to my situation too!  My anxiety was a result of fear – fear of embarrassment, fear of inconveniencing others, fear of wasting money that was in short supply – but I could choose to have faith instead!  At this point I realized that I was not alone; I did not have to solve the problem I had created all by myself, but instead could rely on the Lord to help me through it.

And now, about two months later, I can honestly say that He did help us.  Just about everything has been resolved; and the situation is behind us. But the lessons remain, and I’ve found myself using these strategies in other stressful situations as well.  After-all, as much as I would like the lesson to have been to never procrastinate or make any similar mistake again, I’m getting better, but I’m not there yet.


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What are some positive ways you have learned to cope with mistakes?