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Procrastination – A Survivor’s Guide

4th in the Five Fires of Life series

Video – 10 Tips to Fight Procrastination

Are you a Procrastinator?

Do you put off till tomorrow or the next day or the next day or the next what you should’ve done today?

Doctors and Psychologist tell us that two of the leading causes of both physical and mental destruction are the partners of procrastination and anxiety.

A survival guide for anxiety has already been discussed but the irony is procrastination ultimately leads to anxiety.

The frustration of knowing that one has unfinished business in his life leads to “high anxiety”; not just another anxious moment but clinical anxiety requiring anything from medication to hospitalization for control of the anxiety.

Putting off what needs to be done now is unhealthy physically, mentally and spiritually.

Failure to see a doctor when you’re sick can only worsen your condition, failure to see a counselor when  you’re emotionally troubled just  complicates your ability to stabilize your emotions and your failure to pray, seek Christian fellowship and study the Bible regularly depletes your  spiritual power and ability.

Procrastination is one the most dangerous and disastrous fires of life.

The writer of the book of Hebrews (either the Apostle Paul or his friend Priscilla) is very concerned with the well being of the child of God and besides the central issue of faith which Hebrews is primarily about the writer seems to be concerned with the issue of “procrastination”.

Hebrews 3:13, says “But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called “Today,” so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness.”

In general, the writer is interested in Christians not being procrastinators and insistent that procrastination is sin.

The Bible is very aware that human beings are plagued by the problem of procrastination and it is not just procrastination itself but results of procrastination which are of great concern.

Although many, there are four specific problems procrastination causes:

  1. Procrastination PETRIFIES – that is, it hardens your heart.  As we continually postpone what we should have done, it becomes easier and easier to put off more and more until we develop calluses of contrite upon our heart.  This often makes us unloving, less compassionate, and full of misery, malice and bad memories.
  2. Procrastination POISONS – it slowly but surely kills individuals, homes, marriages and even churches. Just like someone who has ingested a lethal dose of a slow killing poison, PROCRASTINATION can so convince a person that continually putting off is so normal that  before the full effects are felt, “baam” your life is destroyed.
  3. Procrastination PENETRATES – the lives of others; friends, family and even people we might not even know. If your employer is depending on you to do something today and it doesn’t get done, your procrastination penetrates your employer’s business.  Your failure to help your child with their home work can penetrate their life and possibly cause them a bad grade in school. Your failure to pay your power bill penetrates your entire family and results in misery for you and your family.
  4. Procrastination PARALYZES – When things need to be done today but get put off until tomorrow lives become stagnant and many times go nowhere.

It’s much like needing a new car battery. You keep trying to charge it over and again until one day you find the battery will no longer take a charge and your car won’t start, you’re stuck standing still and going nowhere.

The Bible gives a 4-Fold approach to getting rid of Procrastination:

 

  1. Don’t procrastinate getting rid of PROCRASTINATION. Don’t doubt God. Hebrews 3:12 states, “12 See to it, brothers and sisters, that none of you has a sinful, unbelieving heart that turns away from the living God.”
  2. Begin IMMEDIATELY – Turn idleness into encouragement. 13 But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called “Today,” so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness.” Hebrews 3:13
  3. Live your life with CONFIDENCE………confidence in Christ. 14 “We have come to share in Christ, if indeed we hold our original conviction firmly to the very end”. Hebrews 3:14
  4. Proceed Immediately (in God’s will) so as NOT to change and NOT to rebel. “Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts as you did in the rebellion.”  Hebrews 3:15

The fact is that most people procrastinate.

The great paradox of procrastination is that most people procrastinate getting rid of procrastination.

Begin a new today by making a commitment to rid yourself of procrastination, attempt to finish those unfinished things in your life, develop a strong confidence about your life and be quick to encourage and help others eliminate procrastination in their lives as well.

©Copyright 2012 Dr. Lee W. Outlaw III

By Popular Demand

I have been very excited by so many readers of this blog as well as FaceBook, Twitter and Google plus as well as private email who have had positive comments about this series which I preached back in the 1980’s and later revised in the mid 1990’s.

There have been two complaints however, which I would like to address and hopefully have begun to solve.

The first is that I have not finished posting the final two articles in the series on “Procrastination” and “Temptation” and many have asked  if and when I was going to post the articles.

The answer to this question is YES, the final two articles will be posted. Along with the holidays and taking on  new writing responsibilities (for one, the new Brownsville, Texas Political writer/reporter for The Examiner.com), I have simply gotten behind with post.

The final two articles should be posted by the end of the week of January 20th, 2012 and if you are a subscriber or follow me on FaceBook, Twitter, or Google plus you will be automatically notified.

The second complaint was that the three previous articles on Anxiety/Fear, Anger and Jealousy had become difficult to find for reference due to my utilization of WordPress during the holidays as a distribution point for my Examiner.com articles.

I believe I have now solved that problem by dedicating an entire page entitled, “The Five Fires of Life”  with it’s very own tab next to the “About Dr Lee Outlaw” tab. Just click the tab or you can sample the first three by clicking the  link or photo above. The entire series will be duplicated in the order they are posted as well as the original post.

Again, I am delighted that this blog has become the ministry site I had prayed it would become in offering genuine, professional yet Christian answers to many of the struggles and difficulties we all face in life.

Many thanks to all of you who read, click the star ratings, LIKE and other social network buttons and a special thanks to those who comment and send emails.

By the way to those of you who have suggested I write a series on the Seven Deadly Sins, it is already in the works and it too will have a special page.

Thank you for reading.

©Copyright 2012 Dr. Lee W. Outlaw III

Another sad teen shooting

Another sad teen shooting – Brownsville Christianity | Examiner.com.

Please  ↑CLICK ABOVE↑  for

My latest Brownsville Christianity Article from The Examiner

My report and commentary on the sad killing of Jaime Gonzalez

2012 – Does the end begin

2012 – Does the end begin – Brownsville Christianity | Examiner.com.

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My latest article from The Examiner on

The potential of 2012 being the end time.

The Christmas testimony – Brownsville Christianity | Examiner.com

Wise men testify

The Christmas testimony – Brownsville Christianity | Examiner.com.

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The Christmas testimony My latest Christmas article from The examiner.com on being a Christian testimony.

Jealousy: A Survival Guide

The second of  five articles on “The Five Fires of Life”

Anger-Jealousy-Fear-Procrastination-Temptation

In the second of the series on the Five Fires of Life, we look at one of the most serious of life’s “sunburn sensitive” issues, jealousy; a.k.a. “the green eyed monster”.

Although normally associated with love and romance between men and women, jealousy expands far beyond romance.

Loosely defined, jealousy is resentment against a rival, a person enjoying success or advantage, etc., or against another’s success or advantage itself.

Jealousy can also be mental and emotional uneasiness from suspicion or the fear of rivalry, unfaithfulness,etc. as in love, romance or aims.

The difficulty with jealousy is that it can set off a host of other “sunburn sensitive”  (i.e. so sensitive you can’t even touch it) areas of life such as anger and temptation in general.

As a result, it is an absolute for sound spiritual, emotional, mental and physical well being to learn how to recognize when jealousy occurs and then to avoid and even eliminate it completely from our lives.

This is one are where Christian and secular/traditional psychology disagree. Mainstream psychology says in general that everyone gets jealous to an extent; there is no way to avoid it, you cannot eliminate and at best, you can only hope to control it.

Christian psychology agrees that everyone gets jealous on occasion, however, there is a Biblical basis for avoiding and even eliminating jealousy if we follow God’s word.

In order to overcome jealousy, it’s essential  to understand that biblical basis on how jealousy occurs and how to avoid or eliminate it from our lives.

Cain kills Abel out of JEALOUSY

One of the  greatest overall depictions of jealousy in the Bible actually occurs not between lovers but between two family members; the story of the the two brothers Cain and Abel.

From this story in Genesis we find a basic understanding of jealousy.

There are five Biblical Guidelines for understanding, avoiding and eliminating JEALOUSY.

Jealousy occurs when:

  1. There is DISAPPOINTMENT (Genesis 4:5)

            God was disappointed in Cain and Cain was disappointed in

            God’s displeasure.

            Disappointment only occurs when man keeps his eyes on man and material

            gain.

      2.   An UN-GODLY ATTITUDE is present  (Genesis 4:3; 5-7)

            An attitude not conducive to God or the things of God must be eliminated.

            Cain did things his way and not God’s way.

      3.   Man fails to see God as who and what GOD really is (Genesis 4:3; 10-14)

            God is omnipotent, omni-scient and omnipresent.

            Man MUST be totally dependent on God; to do otherwise diminishes the power and

            effectiveness of God.

            Cain thought he could fool God and lie to God. Man can do neither.

      4.   Man fails to see Himself as who and what He really is. (Genesis 4:5-7)

            Man is nothing more than DUST and man will return to dust.

            Somehow Cain failed to see the power of God and the limitation of himself as a man

            resulting in God banishing him from the garden of Eden.

      5.   Man is UNFAITHFUL to God (Genesis 4:3;4-6)

            Man disobeys God directly, gives to God with the WRONG attitude and then tries to

            avoid and lie to God.

            Cain did and we so often do this today. We disobey God directly and then try to make

            amends through penitence rather than repentance. Doing rather than actually

            turning from and changing completely.

Jealousy The Green Eyed Monster

So the bottom line is, if we constantly look to, completely obey and depend solely on God, we will be less app to resent others or be mentally and emotionally uneasy from suspicion or the fear of rivalry. We will more easily recognize and then avoid or even eliminate the old “green eyed monster” of jealousy from our lives and have one less “sunburn sensitive” area of life to be concerned about.

The apostle Paul instructed his young protege Timothy in this matter by saying, “For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline.” 2Timothy 1:7.

©copyright 2011  Lee Outlaw III, PhD

Anger: A Survival Guide

The next five articles will deal with “The Five Fires of Life”

Anger-Jealousy-Fear-Procrastination-Temptation

Like any disaster of life, the ability to survive is closely associated with the knowledge of both how and when the event occurs. Make no mistake; Anger can become a major disaster of life.

The knowledge of how, gives one the advantage of possible prevention of the event and the knowledge of when, allows time to prepare or even avoid the disaster.

The following information can be extremely beneficial in learning how and when ANGER occurs increasing greatly your chances for survival or even avoidance of anger.

The basic Biblical basis on how to deal with anger is found in Ephesians 4:26 where the Apostle Paul tells us “In your anger do not sin”.

A Biblical Imperative

Like jealousy (which we will cover in our next article) ANGER in and of itself is NOT Sin. In Fact, Jealousy will lead to Anger and most jealous people become angry.

There are Biblical accounts of God getting ANGRY as well as Jesus (as a man) becoming angry; God cannot sin and Jesus although completely man was completely God and He did NOT sin although He did get angry.  Again, ANGER is not sin. (Mtt.21:11 -13)

God however, can control ANGER. He knows when and how to release it.

Anger is a Godly emotion and as such, human beings need God’s guidance to help them control their anger.

ANGER always results in human judgment and can lead people to sin (and often does); even for believers.

How and When ANGER Occurs:

        1. When there has been human conflict. (Matthew 5:23-24)

            Anger is easily triggered when two people are in disagreement without any resolution.

        2. When matters of conflict are not settled quickly. (Matthew 5:25)

             Anger sets in and rash decisions and judgments are made.

        3. When there is separation from God. (Eph. 4:18)

            A deliberate separation from God and His people can change one’s attitude leading to anger.

        4. When hearts are “hardened”. (Eph.4:18) (A “mean spirit”; lack of compassion)

            Continual separation from God will reduce or eliminate one’s Godly passion and lead to a “mean

            Spirit” and the ultimate anger.

        5. When sensuality rules. (Eph. 4:19)

             Once the heart is hardened, sensitivity to God’s will is lost; anger sets in and overtakes the actual

             will of God. What we often assume is the will of God is not.  We are blinded by our own anger.

             Generally speaking, anger can cause Christians to think for years they have been following God’s

             will when in reality they have only been following the status quo.

Below is a 5-fold approach on:

How to Prevent and Control Anger and Avoid Sin

1. Constantly renew your attitude. (Eph.4:22-24) Don’t think you have all of the answers all of the time. You don’t.

2. Seek the truth and BE truthful. (Eph. 4:25) Nothing seems to fuel anger like untruth. Be truthful with yourself as well.  If you surround yourself with angry people, the anger will ultimately infect you. You might ultimately have to eliminate friends or even family from your life.  You might even have to change jobs or a career. God’s will is that you be happy and live life to the fullest. You cannot live happily or at peace with anger all around you.

3. Don‘t allow anger to “brew”.  Give it a time limit. NEVER continue your anger overnight.

   (Eph. 4:26-27) Anger is indeed like wine, the longer it brews, the more potent it gets.

4. Don‘t enter into senseless or degrading conversation (Eph. 4:29) Anger often results from what first appears as “innocent conversation”. Be careful who you talk, listen to and believe. Avoid like the plague those who would give you advice so freely and think they are looking out for your own good.  Chances are they are living vicariously through your life.

5. Settle ALL conflictual matters quickly! (Mtt.5:24—25) Don’t let conflict persist and those, whom you know who breed on conflict must be confronted, asked to cease their conflictual nature and attitude and if they don’t, cut them out of your life as fast as you would turn a light switch off.

We should remember that anger can actually be a good thing.  It motivates us many times to stand up for important aspects of our life such as family, friends, God and country.

Jesus tells us in Matthews’s gospel that ANGER is OK in general when:

1. People are taken advantage of in the name of God. (Mtt.21:11-13) and

2. Necessary expectations are not met. (Mtt.21:18-19)

The bottom line is seek God and He will guide your emotions and move you away from the danger of yourself.

Proverbs 3:5-6 says it best, 5 Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; 6 in all your ways submit to him, and he will direct your paths.”

Are internet friends genuine?

Nothing separates genuine friendships Graphic: Susan Joyner-Stumpf

Friends or not?

To be sure, the topic of friendship has been discussed with some detail in recent years due to the popularity of social networking.

Recently on one of the more prominent social networking sights, the topic seems to have gained new life and as such, it seems appropriate to once again visit this entire topic.

One important fact of life as any counselor, sociologist or psychologist will tell you is, people have a need for personal interaction and friendships.

The need for friendship starts almost from birth with children interacting with others in nurseries and day care and especially when they start school for the first time or begin a new school year. When one child goes up to the other for the first time and begins exchanging names, comparing clothes and even facial features the attempt at friendship begins.

Somewhere along the way however, people can lose sight of their need for friends and friendship, they become isolated and draw into themselves.

The need for human interaction is as necessary as breathing. We need one another.

Large corporations and Churches have learned long ago that principle well enough to introduce the concept of “small groups”. These are groups small enough that allow and attract people specifically for making better human interaction.

Businesses do this for think tank purposes and most evangelical churches in America now have some form of ‘small group’ concept in their church ministry for better personal interaction.

The Bible refers to friends in abundance. King Solomon tells us in the book of Proverbs that a ‘friend loves at all times’, this is probably the most popular verse on friendship in the Bible. Real friendships are able to look past their disagreements and focus on the positives of life.

There is also other references to friendship in the Bible such as David and Jonathon, Ruth and Boaz, Elijah and Eli, Priscilla, Aquila and the Apostle Paul and many more.

And of course, the greatest friend of all is Jesus. The Bible reminds us that Jesus called us His friends.

One reason social networking has become so popular is because people want friends. Christians have even gotten ‘Christian specific’ with our own social networking alternatives of which their are now several because we all need friends.

The whole concept of “internet friends” or “social networking friends” being real and genuine has become a matter of discussion and controversy within the psychology and counseling community particular.

In question is, “Can someone you might have never seen (other than a profile photo) become a real and genuine friend?” Most mental health professionals trend towards the negative on this and say unless you’ve met the person prior to social networking they probably are no more than an acquaintance at best and possibly a stalker or inquisitive hacker waiting to strike and take advantage.

There is an old saying which pastors and mental health workers have known for years, “FAMILIARITY breeds both conflict and contempt.” With regard to “Social networking friends”, be very careful in how much you share with each other about each other; especially in public forums. Many people have been destroyed on social networks with the best of intentions. So as Jesus says, “Love one another…” but indeed, be cautious because evil is always lurking.

That said, many of us remember making “pen pals” in school. We communicated via traditional postal mail writing back and forth with other “unknown” people from usually another country and we might not even have a picture. We felt like we had genuine friends even though we might never actually meet them.

For many, having a “pen pal” was their first real inter-personal relationship and it was a good thing as is “social networking” of today.

Psychology teaches us that human inter-action or ‘friendship’ is important and recent articles in psychology periodicals emphasize such.

One of the easiest ways to make real flesh and blood friends is to step back from the computer. Go to a gym, get involved with a softball team or bowling league or attend a local church where you can probably do it all . Get involved in one of the many small groups or attend local church services or social events.

Most friendships are good including those that social networking has brought about. Most of us can be thankful of all of the new friends from across the globe we have been able to make because of computers and social networking.

Personally, this writer has met a few people through “social networking” who have and will remain genuine and lifelong friends. These are some of the finest people ever encountered and definitely genuine friends.

But nothing is better than the firm grasp of a hand, a warm hug or even a ‘butterfly’ kiss on the cheek and hearing those wonderful words, ‘I’m so glad you are my friend’. This writer looks with anticipation when this is an experience shared with several new found “social network friends”.

Disappointment and depression

Have you ever heard someone express their disappointment? Sometimes it is simply, “talk about a disappointment?” or they might be unable to speak about it and just stare off into space or in many cases, the person is so overcome with emotion that they become nearly incoherent due to uncontrollable crying and sobbing.

Disappointment however, is part of life.  We don’t always get what we want and sometimes we don’t even get what we need; at least what we perceive as needing.

The recent down turn of the economy has certainly seen disappointment occur in many people’s lives. Cars repossessed, homes foreclosed on and jobs which were thought to be careers lost.

Disappointment occurs when what we had desired, sought to obtain, set a goal to achieve or even had a need for does not come to fruition or we have accomplished something only to have it taken away. As a result we feel empty, unfulfilled, dissatisfied and even numb.

Disappointment comes in many forms such as losing a sports event, failing a test, rejection of a lover, divorce or death of a loved one.

All of these things disappoint.

The problem with disappointment is that many times people obsess over the disappointment and ultimately depression sets in; the key word being “obsess”. The obsession over the disappointment literally engulfs the individual possessing their body, mind and spirit causing depression to set in.

The depression can either be the simple “blues” or proverbial “down in the dumps” and if not caught in time can lead to and become the more serious “clinical depression” which often requires ongoing therapy and medication.

It should be noted that clinical depression can also have many causes including a medical and neurological connection not associated with that previously mentioned. Disappointment however, can be a trigger mechanism setting off a clinical depression attack sometimes requiring in-patient medical and psychiatric treatment.

Although disappointment can often not be avoided, the way we deal with it or recover from disappointment is important. The Bible has much to say about dealing with disappointment either directly or indirectly. From a biblical perspective there are three basic steps to deal with and recover from disappointment:

  1. Focus on faith, grace, character, perseverance and hope (Romans 5:1-5)
  2. Accept the disappointment. Don’t treat it as a joke but then move on (Ecclesiastes 7:1-8)
  3. Trust completely in the Lord for His healing of the disappointment (Proverbs 3:5-7)

Although the hurt of the disappointment might remain, its duration will certainly be shortened and the road to recovery preventing “simple depression” will be clearer by following these simple biblical truths.

It should be noted that the above mentioned biblical formula is biblical interpretation only and the opinion of this counselor. Although it should help when followed in most situations it is not indented to be a substitute for doctor prescribed medication or ongoing psychiatric/psychological therapy.

Remember that success often occurs in the midst of personal disappointment.

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