|Carol L. Green (D.Hon.Causa)|
Welcome to Listen, Lift, Launch Letters!
In our continued pursuit as Life Coaches, to provide tools for people who are trying to rebuild their lives, this week we are going to return to our series of lessons where we are exposing the lies that we believe that hinder our ability to fulfill God's purpose for our lives. This week we're going to talk about how to press past procrastination. We're going to expose the lie that it’s easier to avoid problems than to face them.
Psychiatrist Scott Peck noted in the book, The Road Less Traveled, “Fearing the pain involved, almost all of us, to a greater or lesser degree, attempt to avoid problems. We procrastinate, hoping that they will go away. We ignore them, forget them, pretend they do not exist… We attempt to get out of them rather than suffer through them. This tendency to avoid problems and the emotional suffering inherent in them is the primary basis of all human mental illness."
That's a profound revelation that this tendency (toward procrastination) is the primary basis of mental illness. There are those of us who would prefer problems to just go away or have someone else deal with the issues we face on a daily basis. We know the problem won’t disappear so we hide our head in the sand like the ostrich. Something happens to us on a deep emotional and mental level as we try to avoid issues.
Problems don’t go away just because we choose not to face them. As most of us know, they worsen and grow until we deal with them. I was a professional procrastinator in my twenties.
It usually occurred when someone asked me to do something that I didn’t really want to do and I just didn’t know how to say so. I didn’t want the requesting person to be angry with me, so I’d put off making my true feelings known. I would avoid the person or avoid their phone calls until I could no longer put it off. Of course the person would end up being angry with me anyway because I could have just said how I felt when they first asked. Making a decision or responding quickly to a request was something I had to start learning to do in time. It wasn’t something I was taught growing up in my household.
I know first-hand why it is so important that we must live as examples before our children by facing our problems. This teaches them how to face theirs. We can’t run from our problems because they’re difficult. Each day has enough problems of its own, and these problems can blow up in our faces if we don’t deal with them as they happen. Those who avoid their problems usually end up with those problems becoming more complicated and harder to solve. Those who face their problems each day, save themselves a great deal of unnecessary suffering by working on and resolving the issues.
The truth is, problems usually get worse when avoided, but handling issues as they arise saves you from unnecessary pain and aggravation. Your children will learn to avoid unnecessary pain and aggravation by watching how you handle your problems.
Dr. Chris Thurman, author of the book, The Lies We Believe, expressed that he is concerned that far too many parents damage their children by rescuing them from facing their problems.
He calls it misguided “love” empowered by this lie that life is easier if you avoid problems.
We can leave our children ill prepared to face life if we don’t train them to be forthright in confronting problems. We have seen many young adults, through our years of ministry, who were not prepared for real life because their parents bailed them out of troubles in order to avoid the consequences that their child's decisions were bringing upon the entire family.
One of the observations my husband and I have made about the present generation is that they have no intestinal fortitude. They don't have the mental and emotional strength and endurance to work through problems and see things through to the point of resolution.
As we were raising our sons in what the Bible refers to as "the way they should go", there were many times when we had to allow them to face the consequences of their decisions; even when those consequences inconvenienced the entire household.
We did not try to shield them from what was happening in the world, especially in a world filled with fear, misunderstanding and hatred against young Black men. We gave them God’s point of view concerning what was happening, not only in their lives and their circle of influence, but in the world at large, so that it would not seem so overwhelming to them.
No, they weren’t always happy about this direct approach, but they have told us how much they have come to appreciate the way they were raised. In fact one of my sons said to me this past Mother’s Day, “Thank you Mom for your guidance and support through so many annoying and ignorant phases in my life. You're the best.”
We had to be forthright and direct. The problems were not going to go away. We took the raising of African American men in God’s purpose, very seriously. We raised them to have their dependence on God. Of course the conversations were always age appropriate, so as not to discuss an issue they weren’t ready for, but we weren’t afraid to discuss the hard, ugly and dangerous realities of life.
When parents make a habit of rescuing their children from problems, the child does not have the chance to develop the appropriate coping skills they’ll need for handling life later on. The child has the potential of turning into an adult who is incompetent, lacks confidence, and constantly looks to other people to solve their problems.
By pressing past procrastination ourselves, we established a pattern in our family that has helped our sons have confidence to face the issues of life, knowing they have the provision of God the Father and their parents' support.
Philippians 3:13-14 says, “Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.”
We must press past the procrastination inclinations that will cause us even greater hardship while trying to reach the goal of the prize of God’s calling, purpose and destiny for our lives and families.
We Listen, We Lift, We Launch,
Coach Carol Green