Saturday, June 22, 2013

Writings from 2011: Balancing Haste With Procrastination

One of the verses in the Bible that often comes to mind during times of change is found in Isaiah 52:12.

"For ye shall not go out with haste, nor go by flight: for the Lord will go before you; and the God of Israel will be your rereward." (sic)

I include the second half because it helped me understand the first half. I'd always read it to mean, much in Treebeard's manner, "Don't be hasty." Take proper time to prepare and act without rushing about in a foolish frenzy as that can cause mistakes. I also saw it as a call for patience as I tend to get anxious if I can't get things accomplished soon after I realize it's needed. That verse helped me realize that things are in God's hands and to let myself have peace while waiting on His timetable.

Then, a year ago, I connected both parts. The second talks of the Lord preparing where you are going (what is 'before you') but also managing what is left behind. Tying up loose ends, so to speak. Seeing the duality of the last part, it finally registered that the first could also be talking of two things.

Instead of 'haste' and 'flight' being synonymous, both warning against impulsiveness in important situations, these words are also bookends. Where 'haste' could be seen as jumping the gun, could not 'flight' be the result of delay, of leaving yourself without enough time to act, to live?

While I am inclined to be hasty at times, I am not a procrastinator by nature. However, balancing these two elements is still difficult. It is much the same as balancing faith and action. You must employ faith to avoid a hasty over-reaction, and you must employ action to avoid the necessity of fleeing at the last minute in an unprepared frenzy. It is learning to keep this balance which gives a greater peace, and therefore fullness, to life.

In accepting that life happens at its own speed, we come to recognize that peace. By embracing change and our own responsibility to act and make choices for ourselves, we learn and grow. And if we will trust in a God of love and power who has our best interests at heart, we will find greater peace, strength, and wisdom than we ever could manage on our own.

[Stories with related elements: The prodigal son - impatient to receive his inheritance and pursuant troubles; Last Holiday with Queen Latifah - finally starts living after being told she only had one month left to live.]

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