Avoid Avoidance. Life Gets Too Complicated

I've decided to avoid avoidance. Procrastination complicates life and I don't have time for that. I am moving forward.

To say that I tend to over complicate things would be an understatement. I’ve spent countless nights strategising and worrying about situations that have not yet arisen.  At such times, Google is not  my friend, especially at 3:00 a.m. I am most apt to stumble into stress-induced craziness when it comes to finances. It is my Achilles heel. Not only have I caused myself unnecessary grief, but I have also pulled others into my chaotic strategies.

A family member recently confronted me on this lifelong problem. She is pragmatic, level-headed, honest, and courageous. When she sees a problem, she doesn’t avoid the problem; she walks toward it, looking for a straightforward solution. If she needs an answer and can’t find an answer, she contacts the person or agency directly. She was an excellent advocate for an elderly relative making sure that relative’s voice heard loud and clear. As a result, our relative’s rights as a Canadian citizen were never compromised as she navigated through our health-care system.

I am not as pragmatic or level-headed as my relative. It takes me days to drum up the courage to call the various agencies, doctors, and governmental offices I need to call occasionally. Procrastination and avoidance are my forte. A severe childhood stutter raises its ugly head whenever I need to call anyone I do not know personally. That stutter is much more pronounced when I call a government agency or a doctor’s office. I don’t like to rock the boat. If they don’t hear from me for a while, I reason, perhaps my file will be at the bottom of their pile, and they won’t be bothering me.

Avoidance and procrastination waste my valuable time and energy.

Don’t get me wrong, I am not trying to hide anything from the government or my doctors. I faithfully file my taxes, scrupulously reporting all income received each year. I don’t live a lifestyle that would raise caution flags in the medical community. And yet, I avoid any interaction with officialdom.  Avoidance and procrastination become my jail-keepers. The longer I put things off, the worst the anxiety becomes, and the more I needlessly fear.

When an issue necessitates a dreaded cold call, I put it off as long as possible and do whatever I can do to avoid that contact. Case in point, I recently I made several appointments with health-care specialists that I had put off. I wasn’t overly surprised when every office I visited informed me it had been years since I last saw them. As most medical care is free in Canada, I had no excuse for not making those appointments! I came away with sparkling clean teeth,  a new pair of glasses, a prescription for modified leg-braces, and a large piece of humble pie.

Even as I write this, I shake my head at the inconvenience and worry I have caused myself and others over the years because of this childish behaviour. My relative’s loving confrontation was a wake-up call for me. She graciously dismantled my fears by doing some research about a potential issue I was avoiding concerning my finances. She then contacted the governmental agency in question to receive further clarification. All the fears I had about the situation were based on old legislative guidelines and statutes that were no longer followed.  I could have avoided years of mental gymnastics, sleepless nights, and the nagging burden of false guilt by just making a few phone calls.

I’ve learned my lesson. I have a finite amount of emotional, mental, and physical energy. I have wasted too much of that precious energy by complicating my life through avoidance and procrastination. I listened to the lies of the accuser.  I can never get those sleepless nights back. The days of obsessive strategising on how to avoid what I don’t want to face are gone, and I am moving forward. I have a few calls I need to make this week, I’ll get right on it tomorrow, and I look forward to a restful night.

Personal Application

Study the lives of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and you’ll discover how quickly their lives became complicated when they tried to scheme their way out of potential unpleasant confrontations. Both Abraham and Isaac went as far as to portray their wives as their sisters, purely from a fear toward the rulers of the lands they travelled through. (Genesis 20, Genesis 26). Jacob came up with an elaborate scheme to protect his family and wealth, although there was no sign that Esau was still holding a grudge toward his brother. By the time Jacob returned to his homeland, the brothers were wealthy men and were well established with large families. (Genesis 32)

What are you avoiding? Who are you avoiding? What fears are hiding behind that avoidance? What lies do you believe about God that cause you to try to work things out on your own? Do you trust that he will take care of you as you walk in transparency before him? Is there a part of you that feels you have to have a back up plan in place in case God doesn’t come through? Are you exhausted by all that strategising?

There is a better way.

Micah 6:8 – “He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?’

Take Jesus up on his invitation.
Matthew 11:28-30 (MSG) Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.”

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All Bible verses attributed to the ESV version unless otherwise indicated.

Until Next Week

2019 Katherine Walden

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