Saturday, April 27, 2019

Pressing Past Procrastination

Carol L. Green (D.Hon.Causa)

Best Practice Principles from Dr. Chris Thurman's Book: The Lies We Believe

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

Saturday, April 20, 2019

Pressing Past 'People Pleasing'

Carol L. Green (D.Hon.Causa)

Best Practice Principles from Dr. Chris Thurman's Book: The Lies We Believe

In our last Listen, Lift, Launch letter we talked about pressing past the lies regarding perfectionism.

In our continued pursuit to provide tools for people who are trying to rebuild their lives, this week we are going to take the time to expose the lie that is embedded in the thought that we must have everyone’s love and approval.

This thought is connected to a desire to please people. It can cause us to change how we respond to people in any given situation. We will behave in one manner with a certain person or group and then change our behavior to fit in with another person or group. This people-pleasing behavior causes us to put our well being in the hands of others.

This lie also gives power to those with whom we live, work and socialize, who thrive on people pleasers. These are people who easily manipulate people pleasers to gain power over them. They will gladly exercise that power over them.

For people who have a drive to please others, they can open themselves to abuse. They can eventually become resentful because, after all of their efforts, they still can't please everyone.
This can lead to their becoming some pretty bitter human beings.

When I was in junior high school, I walked to and from school with a particular group of girls, but one of them simply did not like me for no reason that I could perceive.  She would make fun of me on the way to school and on the way home. The things she said were hurtful. It also hurt that no one else in the group would defend me.

At first, I tried to ignore her because it didn’t make any sense to me, since I’d done nothing to her.  I tried to make her like me by buying candy to share with her, but she wouldn’t accept it.

I was in a no-win situation. There was nothing I could do to make her accept me, and the other girl's lack of response showed that I wasn't really accepted by them either. I finally had to find another group of girls.

I learned, at that time and in the following years, that there is always going to be someone who chooses not to accept or approve of me, no matter what I do.  We must have the courage to be ourselves and recognize that when someone does not accept us, that it’s their issue and not ours. The disapproval of people is not a problem that we can fix by trying to change ourselves to fit their expectations. It's the other person’s responsibility to take the time to find out who we are, in order to make an informed decision about us.

Of course it’s easier said than done, but having the approval of people, who choose to reject us, isn’t worth becoming divided within your own self and living life without integrity.

Integrity is defined as doing the right thing in a reliable way; to be complete or undivided.
One of the traits most of us like about people of integrity is that they are “real”.  In any given situation they never change their personality and can be relied upon to say and live out what they really feel or think.

Noted psychologist and author, Dr. Chris Thurman said in his book, The Lies We Believe,
“What does it profit to gain the whole world’s approval and lose our own souls?”

There is a saying, “You can’t please all of the people all of the time.”

Galatians 1:10 says, “For do I now persuade men, or God?  Or do I seek to please men, for if I still pleased men, I would not be a bondservant of Christ.”

In other words, whoever you seek to please, you tend to focus on them. Therefore you will be controlled by them.  Do you want to be under the controlling influence of a loving God or by the whims of certain people who's approval we desire? A big part of your growth and success in life will be the ability to press past people pleasing.

Colossians 3:23-24 says, "And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance; for you serve the Lord Christ."

We Listen, We Lift, We Launch,

Carol Green

Saturday, April 13, 2019

Pressing Past Perfectionism

Carol L. Green (D.Hon.Causa)

Best Practice Principles from Dr. Chris Thurman's Book: The Lies We Believe

In our last Listen, Lift, Launch Letter we began talking about the lies we have received and believed. In our continued pursuit to provide tools for people who are trying to rebuild their lives, this week we are going to take the time to expose the lie regarding perfectionism.

What exactly is perfectionism?  Dr. David Burns, a psychiatrist who is a leading expert on the subject, offers a good answer:

I do not mean the highly healthy pursuit of excellence by men and women who take genuine pleasure in striving to meet high standards. Without concern for quality, life would seem shallow; true accomplishment would be rare. The perfectionists I am talking about are those whose standards are high beyond reach or reason; people who strain compulsively and unremittingly toward impossible goals and who measure their self-worth entirely in terms of productivity and accomplishment.

There are many of us who struggle with feelings of inadequacy, not quite measuring up to, not only our own standards, but to the standards of our parents, teachers, professors, bosses, co-workers, and fellow Believers.  We spend time comparing our results to the results of those we admire and respect, or putting expectations on ourselves that are unrealistic. We take on duties or responsibilities that aren’t ours, in order to feel valued.  Some of us even take on a purpose that was not God-given in order to fulfill an unrealized dream of a loved one that we don’t want to disappoint.

When we make mistakes or don’t measure up to the standards of perfection that we have set for ourselves, an unhealthy tape begins to play. We press replay, going over the mistakes again and again in our minds. We find ourselves using phrases like: "How could I have been so stupid?" We find ourselves thinking that we should have known better as we start mentally beating ourselves up, asking how could we have forgotten that detail. 

I admit to being a recovering perfectionist. Before going full-time in our own business, I worked for a state government agency. I had a good experience for a number of years before I took a new position. After I took the new position, for nearly a year I worked as an administrative assistant for a gentleman who was easy going and personable. Then he suddenly retired and I was assigned to a new person, a woman who had a reputation of being very difficult to work for; who was a perfectionist with very unrealistic expectations of her administrative assistants.

This turned out to be true and my life became unbearable as I tried to measure up to the new expectations. When I realized I was working for a perfectionist, and later found out she was on medication, I also saw that she was overcompensating for a chemical imbalance. I lay awake countless nights, stressing and dreading having to go into work the next day. I was constantly fighting to not play the perfectionist tape over and over again in my mind. I knew God wasn’t expecting me to be perfect. He was expecting me to handle the situation maturely and I had done the best I could in that regard.

My boss unrealistically expected me to not make any mistakes. I was in a position where I had to choose not to fixate on the fact that I could not meet the unrealistic expectations of a person who was overcompensating for their personal challenges.  Even though I tried not to fixate on my inability to meet the unrealistic expectations, I just couldn’t completely do so. It still got me from time to time. 

It is said, “To err is human”.  The Bible says it this way in Romans 3:21-23, "...but now the righteousness of God apart from the law is revealed, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets, even the righteousness of God, through faith in Jesus Christ, to all and on all who believe for there is no difference; for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God."

I John 1:8 says, "...if we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us." The basic definition of sin is 'missing the mark.' So I John 1:8 - paraphrased says, “If we say that we do not miss the mark, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us.”

The goal is to understand that perfectionism is harmful to us and to those around us. We must understand that God is not a God of perfectionism. He is not demanding flawless performance from us. He would be violating His own word, where He spoke through the Apostle Paul who admonished fathers to not exasperate their children. Exasperation is the result of placing unrealistic expectations on them. We could never reach God’s standard on our own anyway. Christ met the standards on the cross. We must have a genuine reliance on Christ and live a lifestyle of heartfelt trust in Him rather than ourselves.


We Listen, We Lift, We Launch,

Carol Green

Saturday, April 6, 2019

Erasing the Lies We Believed

Carol L. Green (D.Hon.Causa)

Best Practice Principles from Dr. Chris Thurman's Book: The Lies We Believe

John Milton was an English poet who said, “The mind is its own place, and in itself can make a heaven of hell, and a hell of heaven.”  What a great quote!

As most of you know, we are serving on the front lines as community life coaches. This aspect of our work provides practical tools for people who are trying to rebuild their lives in the midst of great devastation. Part of that recovery process involves helping them see the lies that they have received and believed.

Over the next few weeks, we are going to expose the thoughts that many of us believed were truths; thoughts we built our lives upon that are really lies that the enemy has tricked us to believe; thoughts that cause us to be unhappy, unloving, and unsuccessful.

We have all experienced varying degrees of difficult issues and with each issue and situation, we established a personal belief or thought system.  If that thought system or belief is not based on the Word of God, verbatim or in principal, we run the risk of  inadvertently accepting a lie about what happened in the situation, or about ourselves or someone else.

In 2004, we went through a lay-counseling certificate program from the Center for Biblical Counseling, which is a division of the American Association for Christian Counselors.  One of the professors, Dr. Chris Thurman, is a psychologist who wrote a book titled “The Lies We Believe”. Dr. Thurman states that, “Our brain is like a video recorder.  It can both record and play back thousands of tapes at a moment’s notice.  These tapes hold all the beliefs, attitudes, and expectations that we have 'recorded' during our lives."

One of the tapes of my life began with the separation of my parents. When my parents separated, I didn’t feel as though it was my fault, but I did feel I was supposed to help somehow.  I thought if I could find out WHY it happened, then maybe I could help them get back together.  So, I asked my Dad why they separated.  He felt as though my Mom should have supported him more by getting a job instead of staying at home and raising the children.

It was one of those things they never talked about before they got married, so they both had very different expectations, and the enemy took advantage of them both.

I watched as my mother withdrew from life, my oldest brother responded in anger, and my youngest brother withdrew into a world of his own. God, in His faithfulness to my family, had given the opportunity of salvation just before my parent’s separation, which my mother and I accepted.  I came away from the separation, and eventually the divorce of my parents, with a fear that I would do something that would somehow cause my husband and me to eventually divorce. The response to that painful situation created a fear-filled tape that played over and over again.

The reasoning and conclusions we adopt from painful situations must be subjected to God’s viewpoint. We must bring every perception (tape) into submission of Christ (2 Corinthians 10:5). We must recognize that this spiritual war began in our minds. We must identify every thought that is hostile to God and subject it to the truth, which only God can give.

The key to freedom, health and wholeness is to unearth the lies we have believed about the situations we have experienced. It may be hard work, but we can live in the truth of what happened in any situation that has occurred in life.  The LIE TAPES will try to play, but we must choose not to listen to them, by recording over the lies with the truth that has been exposed by the Holy Spirit through the Word of God.

This is one of the powerful tools that we give to our life coaching clients and we offer it to you today.


We Listen, We Lift, We Launch,

Coach Carol Green