The Agony of Procrastination and the Ecstasy of Fortitude

The Agony of Procrastination and the Ecstasy of Fortitude

I love writing and producing award-winning programs, or hosting great events that nourish souls. But it is agony for me to get there. I know and see the destination, but it’s the packing and getting there that never stops challenging me. I have a perfectionistic beast inside me that occasionally spews flames in my direction, hissing that I’m not good enough, not worthy, and waking me up in the middle of the night. This can lead to my own procrastination.

Procrastination is a form of anxiety.

Judson Brewer, a psychiatrist, neuroscientist, and the author of “Unwinding Anxiety: New Science Shows How to Break the Cycles of Worry and Fear to Heal Your Mind,” said in a WSJ article, “Procrastination is a distraction. Anxiety triggers procrastination, especially for perfectionists, because we worry our solution to the problem won’t be good enough. Procrastination feels better than being anxious or trying to come up with a solution.”

Procrastination is an emotional response to fear.

Procrastination can hold us back, but it’s also a mindset that can be broken. God is a forward-moving God who tells us to “go” and even though we may not be good enough yet, the Bible tells us that we can do “all things through Him who strengthens us.” (Philippians 4:13) The issue is whether we are fully engaged and aligned with Him and His will, or are we just accessing Him when fear sets in. We need a sound and calm mind, otherwise we can become anxious and lose sight of the road in front of us. The Bible tells us that we are to be “anxious for nothing” and to take our requests to God. (Philippians 4:6-7) He will empower us if we stay connected to His will and remain courageous in the arms of Jesus. It’s a message I have had to be reminded of again and again, and why my quiet time with God is essential.

We will be hosting two outstanding women, producer Anna Zielinski and casting director Lisa London at our next Influence Women Hollywood Chapter Brunch on Saturday, February 4th, who have had to lean in and push through uncertainty, fear, and procrastination barriers. They decided to stop being placed in the position to wait and be picked. They stopped waiting for the industry shuts downs to lift during the pandemic, and instead found new ways to turn a disasterous situation into new, positive opportunities.

Want to break through the fear and learn how to gain fortitude?

Merriam-Webster dictionary defined fortitude as “strength of mind that enables a person to encounter danger and bear pain or adversity with courage.” In the world we live in today, we need fortitude and the strength to face the oncoming cultural winds that often bring pain and suffering.

Will you join me on Saturday, February 4th as we learn from women who have discovered the Source of fortitude and learned to silence the anxiety?

In An Instavangelist Era, Can You Be The Light of God Through The Screen?

In An Instavangelist Era, Can You Be The Light of God Through The Screen?

I grew up in the era of televangelists like Rex Humbard and Oral Roberts. They were the pioneers of what was then the only streaming screen – the TV. Today we live in the era of Instavangelists. They are evangelists on Instagram and TikTok. Our screens have changed, but we’re still drawn to a spiritual force and the wonder of God through the lens. Unbelievers watch too. Sometimes with disdain and sarcasm, but sometimes they watch with curious interest.

God ultimately wants us to know Him personally. He wants our heart to know His heart, which sometimes means going through pain and suffering to hear His voice within us. In our mentally cluttered media culture, it’s when we take the time to search, go through suffering, and ultimately are forced to turn off our screens that God’s voice finally cuts through. It’s why Satan – the deceiver keeps our screens and the noise on 24/7.

Christian media leaders and communicators have learned much about communication since the early days of televangelists. I actually believe there is more honesty in today’s Instavangelist culture as they choose to share not just the joy and goodness of God, but also the reality that we live in a broken, difficult world. I’ve seen many Christian leaders publicly share what a life lived fully alongside Jesus looks like; it is a life of service, forgiveness, compassionate love, and joy in the middle of suffering and uncertainty.

Life changed during the pandemic.

 

Young people who have been raised without knowledge of God or the spiritual world, became curious as they were suddenly confronted with incredible fear and untimely death in the world around them. Many who had been led to deny the existence of God and placed their faith in science or the government to solve their problems instead found them untrustworthy. Many who had never paused long enough to consider praying or reading the Bible stopped as their worldview was shaken and shattered. They began to ask if God was real. Was there a higher power, and possibly a deeper meaning to existence? Was there some truth to what those instavangelists were saying?

Social media is designed to tout a “me culture.”

 

As we begin a new year, can we, who are confident in our faith through God’s proven provision, become more effective instavangelists? What if we, who “know the truth and how the truth has sets us free” (John 8:32), began to use our social media accounts more strategically to tell others that it’s not about “me,” but about the God who breathes within me? What if we shared with them the reason why our life has purpose and meaning? What if our personal “television studios” proclaimed God’s ability to overcome disruption, suffering, devastation, and death, and that life wasn’t about the “here and now” of our imploding world, but in the world to come when King Jesus returns?

Depression and suicide rates are soaring today, and gender identity dysphoria is rampant. TikTok, culture’s latest life-sucking platform, can only be watched for a short time before what we post is gone. Yet the average global TikTok user spends 3.5 hours daily watching videos that are largely mindless, meaningless, and will vanish. Could this continual use of vanishing videos be a subtle message to users of their life? That it’s a vapor and here and gone before ever being seen and known? Is the constant need to check these vanishing stories keeping us from seeing what is eternal – the everlasting, all-seeing God?

Will God’s voice be heard before it goes away on TikTok or Instagram stories?

 

The reality is that our life on earth truly is a vapor; we aren’t here long. But it is definitely not meaningless. Our Creator God sees and knows us. Hagar, a woman in the Old Testament, names God El-Roi, the God who sees (Genesis 16:13). What if lovers of God become Instavangelists or TikTokvangelists and began sharing this revelation of an ever-present, eternal God? That He is real and He transformed their life? What if believers posted how God was with them during disasters, health or financial crises, through grieving, and times of endless uncertainties? What if they shared a peace that was unnatural, and a calm beyond their understanding during those times? That they knew the “Who” that held their hand and holds their future? What if the followers of Jesus posted of God’s love, mercy, forgiveness, and hope? What if they invited their followers to watch an online church service or posted how a scripture verse challenged their thinking? Like this verse, “Taste and see that the Lord is good” (Psalm 23:8)?  And… what would happen by chance, if in 2023, their scrolling eye stopped and instead of finding something silly and meaningless, they found freedom, truth, and peace everlasting?

What if… they found the Light of the World behind their screen?

Enduring Despite The Circling Eagles

Enduring Despite The Circling Eagles

The grip of the eagle’s claws dug into my gloved hand, and it took every ounce of my strength to hold up his 20+ pound body on my outstretched arm. Within just a few minutes, the eagle’s trainer, who was standing by, came up behind me to help me hold up my arm as its claws dug in. I was in Mongolia shooting a project on how Christianity spread to the ends of the earth and the stories of the many missionaries who had made unthinkable sacrifices by giving their lives and sacrificing the lives of their spouses and children so that God’s story and light might be made known. Holding that bird became a teaching moment for me. One I’ll never forget.

In Luke 17, Jesus is trying to provide some understanding to those listening of what the end times on earth will look like. Many throughout history have speculated on when Jesus will return for the final time and what life will be like. Jesus shares a few examples and then tells us that it will be like the days of Lot in Sodom and Gomorrah, when there was much debauchery. To those living there, it was normal and nothing new. They had accepted the culture into their lifestyle. (more…)

Contentment in the Court of the King

Contentment in the Court of the King

I was late and had run to my college dorm room to grab a book for my next class when the landline phone rang (no cell phones back then). He said his name was “Phil” and he had a couple of tickets to a concert that weekend and did I want to go? When I heard the name of the rock band performing, I couldn’t say “yes” fast enough. But I was in a desperate hurry and told Phil to call me back with the details and quickly hung up. As I did, a sinking feeling suddenly hit me.

I had gotten to know a Phil during college registration day, and it was only after hanging up that I realized what I had done. That wasn’t the Phil I knew. He was a different Phil! I had sat next to another Phil at a chapel service the week before, and it was that Phil who called! Horrified, I turned to my roommate standing there and said, “Oh no, I think I’ve just accepted a date with a guy I don’t know.”

Little did I know this blind date would be my forever husband, my prince, and the love of my life. God knew it, and I believe orchestrated my lack of attention to insert Phil Cooke into my life. (more…)

Technology: Changing How We See Things

Technology: Changing How We See Things

I remember seeing my first augmented reality (AR) movie years ago. It was a Michael Jackson ride – Captain EO at Disneyland. But somehow, it didn’t have the same effect on me as the one I saw at the Sundance Film Festival years later. The first ever AR documentary produced, Cane Toads: The Conquest, brought to life an invasive amphibian species in Australia. They were swarming the country, killing dogs and cats, and literally covering the ground by the thousands. There seemed no way to stop them. With AR glasses on, we sat in the theater and had frogs pop out at us. We were jumping out of our seats! It was just a little too real for me.

Today, we’ve gotten more use to it. AR is rapidly becoming the choice of escapism. Movies and TV entertainment have matured, and our appetite to immerse our minds in another reality is growing.

We think about virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) differently. 

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Self-Centeredness: Is it Keeping You From Needed Change?

Self-Centeredness: Is it Keeping You From Needed Change?

As I travel to exotic and historic sites, I’m constantly observing “selfie models” taking pictures of themselves, wanting to be seen and to become “influencers” online. The Bible calls it our “flesh.” but we call it “selfie” in today’s language. It’s a visual reminder of how much social media has affected the culture and how it feeds our insatiable egos.

The bottom line is that we are all afflicted with self-centeredness.

None of us are exempt. It’s part of living in our fallen world because of sin’s entrance. Paul tells us that our “flesh” is often in conflict with our spirit, which wants to break free from selfishness but continues to see it rear its ugly head (Romans 7:15). As we mature as believers in Jesus, we become more aware of how our egos get in the way of becoming all that He wants for us, and how our self-centeredness separates us from knowing Him more deeply. Confronting our ego issues can be excruciatingly painful, so we deny our selfishness or make excuses for it. Overcoming self-centeredness requires facing ourselves honestly, choosing to change how we think, and sometimes changing whom we associate with. But if we want to know God deeply, which is His greatest desire for us, it’s a must. This is why the many self-appraising personality tests, including the Enneagram, have become so popular. In many ways, though they seem enlightening and beneficial, they can be dangerous and self-elevating.

Our “flesh” hates change. (more…)