Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Word Study Wednesday: Procrastination

Joshua 18:3: "And Joshua said unto the children of Israel, how long are ye slack to go to possess the land, which the LORD God of your fathers hath given you?"

Slack (7503 Strong's Exhaustive Concordance): Raphah (raw-faw): forsake, idle, leave, let alone, be slothful

Possess (3423): Yaresh (yaw-raysh): to occupy (by driving out previous tenants, and possessing in their place)

Given (5414): nathan (naw-than): apply, appoint, ascribe, assign, bestow, distribute, give (forth, over, up) (these are just a few of the words given for nathan).

My Take
Though the word procrastination does not appear in the Bible (at least in the KJV), this verse illustrates it perfectly. Most of the Canannites had been conquered and the land now belonged to the Israelites (see Joshua 18:1 - 2). Seven tribes though, had yet to lay claim on their property. Why? Was the job too difficult? Too time consuming? Why didn't they "receive their inheritance?"

Though I'm not claiming any land, the Lord has set before me a purpose for my life. A lot of the time though, I do not work on my purpose. I procrastinate. I know the Lord wants me to write, but there are some days where I prefer to clean my house, run errands, even exercise (gasp!) than to sit down and write. Don't get me wrong, there is a time and a place for me to do these other things, but when I do them instead of writing, I am procrastinating. So now, I must ask myself, why am I so slack? Is the job too difficult? Too time consuming? Why am I not receiving my inheritance. I know some of the answers, but to be honest, they are more like excuses.

So, how do I beat procrastination? In the verses following verse 3, Joshua appoints men from each tribe to map out the land and to divide it. After the mapping is done, Joshua tells the tribes that he will then cast lots in the presence of the Lord. Joshua had a plan. That's what I need - a plan. I need to allot time for chores, errands, exercise, and writing. When it is time to perform these tasks, I need to be disciplined (another word study coming soon) to do them.

He also had the appointed men report back to him. He held them accountable to their purpose, their plan. That's what I need to do as well. Whether it be through a writer's group, a critique group or partner, I need that accountability.

Finally, Joshua cast lots before the Lord. By doing this, he was leaving the division in the Lord's hands. Though I probably won't be casting lots before the Lord, I will dedicate my work to Him. The point here is letting the Lord's will be done.

So, right now I am acknowledging my procastination. I know I do it and do it well. I will, however, create a plan, find someone to hold me accountable, and dedicate my work to the Lord. Now, hopefully, I won't slack in creating my plan.


Melyssa said...

I know sometimes I end up procrastinating because I'm so over whelmed by a job I don't know where to start. I like the idea of a plan. If you have a plan...even if it changes...there's somewhere to go, something to do to make progress.

Robbie Iobst said...

Wow! Great post, Joanna. Especially considering our discussion yesterday. I, too, am SLACK or Raphaw when it comes to making a plan and executing it. It helps to admit it though so thank you. Now to the next step...or should I just wait a while? :0) Just kidding.

denise said...

So true! Great analysis of an OT scripture. Convicting and thought-provoking. Good job, Joanna.

Michele Cushatt said...

Well done, Joanna. I think fear is what keeps me procrastinating ... easier to put off than take a chance at failure. Thanks for the post.

denise said...

I'll leave another comment later.

Joanna said...

Denise - You're not procrastinating, are you?