about a 6 minute read
This is My command-be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the Lord, your God is with you wherever you go. – Joshua 1:9
Joshua was given a task that when you stop and think about the scale of the future with this responsibility, the feeling of being overwhelmed only scratches the surface. Maybe, there is something you want to achieve but the enormity of the project flattens your hopes in accomplishing your desire. I speak from experience as I write this post as I am in the process of letting go of procrastinating when it comes to being creative. In this post, I want to call out the root of procrastination that has been holding me hostage and small steps to creating a new routine.
If you are unfamiliar with the story of Joshua, I’ll catch you up real quick. Israel had just been freed of their hard life in Egypt. Joshua was one of ten people who would go and search out the new land, known as the ‘Promised Land’, to report back to Moses and the people. It was only Joshua and Caleb who had faith in the Lord that they could take the land (see Numbers13:30-14:9). When we meet Joshua in the self-titled book, the mantle of which Moses had been carrying to lead the people through the wilderness into their Promised Land was now given to him. The thing is, Joshua had been the assistant leader for his entire career in the wilderness and now Moses was dead which meant …promotion!
Of course, this meant taking on new responsibilities, but the congregation Joshua was leading were very different to Moses’. Moses had dealt with people who’d moan at any given chance which literally caused them to die in this in-between stage whereas Joshua was dealing with their children; those who had seen the damage sticking to what they had known rather than allow God to change their hearts. This new generation was ready to work through the uncomfortable stages to get to a place of peace WITH God. So Joshua had a foot up on Moses if you want to compare but it didn’t make the job itself lighter. Joshua still had his challenges and evidently fears but God gave Joshua very precise instructions we can still follow today.
In every industry, there is a need for creativity – maybe I am stating the obvious, but most people think creativity is limited to the arts – but as society adapts and changes so should the industry… one hopes. For me, creating and producing a product that is very different to the trend instantly brings out doubt because it is so ‘out there,’ ‘weird’ or whatever demeaning adjective you can attach to yourself. Of course, you may need to reel it back if it is not actually helpful but I’m guessing you’re here because you have an actual niche.
I realised that my doubt didn’t appear when I wasn’t creating anything – when I was just ‘doing’ life and not going hard after the things I have been dreaming to come into fruition. I would just wallow in my self-pity as to why I wasn’t satisfied with anything. But I knew whenever I would create something, I would crash into a large wall of low self-esteem, hesitation, uncertainty, the list goes on.
For me, this roots back to my school days.
If you have read my other posts, I point the finger a lot a school, but I am realising, personally, how damaging the words of teachers (and people) can be at such a young age. I was usually told, ‘that’s not good enough’ or ‘it doesn’t convey the message’ i.e. the message that they wanted to me portray when I clearly did not see it that way. Yet my peers had been received in a less harsh manner. My perspective was still developing during my secondary school years, but it put so many dampers on it, how could one fully flourish? And so, I began to find some of the roots to my procrastination or better yet, hesitation to create. So, I ask you what I ask myself or more accurately, what the Holy Spirit has pointed out:
Why does everything you do need man’s approval? Am I not enough for you?
Let’s imagine Joshua using this logic. He’s got millions of displaced people living in practically inhabitable terrain and he needs to keep their focus off their surroundings and onto God. What if Joshua checked out and hid away because of the pressures of this nation’s future? What if Joshua measured up to Moses’ standard and felt inadequate? What if Joshua disqualified himself from the task God had assigned only to him. What if he thought, he wouldn’t be able to do this task the way Moses had?
Joshua had to take a moment and realise, God’s repeated himself here. That’s an indication this must be important. Though he had to keep going even if the task looked like it’d swallow him up, he realised that this nation and others to come were reliant on the outcome of this situation.
Nowhere does the scriptures mention that Joshua needed man’s thumbs up to keep proceeding. He had all he needed but needed a fresh reminder. Joshua was commanded to not be afraid or discouraged. You know what’s the most ironic part of this post is the title because even me trying to write and upload this post, I have been through some serious procrastinating. I have been wondering if it is the right time to post or whether it would be better to start working on another post, putting this one off. Doubt, doubt, doubt. Fear, fear, fear. But what did God say to ME to do? I have realised and still learning that creativity and procrastination cannot live in the same environment, that being my mind, comfortably one of them has got to go.
Being strong and courageous though… they don’t just blossom overnight – so where does that come from? Well again, if we look at the scripture, Joshua has been told his strength and courage are rooted in God and if we look closer at the last sentences, Joshua is always being led by God.
For me, I had surrounded my creativity with walls to protect it being damaged any further so when you think about an English castle where it has huge walls or gates around it and nothing can get out, the flip side to that is nothing can get in. I had thought I’m protecting myself against everyone’s opinions, however, I didn’t realise I was also blocking my creative connection to the Main source, God. I had severed my creative ties with Yeshua and so when I had I run out of ideas I would have to wait for another “muse” to enlighten me somewhere down the line. Yeshua wanted no part of my life separate from Him. He reminded me that I must remain in me, and I will remain in you. For a branch cannot produce fruit if it is severed from the vine, and you cannot be fruitful unless you remain in me. “Yes, I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from me you can do nothing. John 15:4-5
I’ll be honest, it takes real humility to say, I need help from anyone but from God? It shouldn’t be a ‘shameful’ thing or be associated with helplessness. But let’s be honest as Christian creatives, we always look to outside sources for inspo when really, we overlook the most creative Trinity to have ever existed. Think of it like this: He delights in us! For the Lord your God is living among you. He is a mighty saviour. He will take delight in you with gladness. With his love, he will calm all your fears. He will rejoice over you with joyful songs. Zephaniah 3:17
So, what is preventing us from allowing Him into our imaginations and ask for creativity for the business, blog, project ideas you have?
This post does not end here. As much as it’d be great to give you things to mull on, I think you and I are pros in that. How about actively doing something to combat this procrastination?