How to Intimidate a Wall

Okay, I know what you’re thinking.

Hello, Thursday Morning readers! Have I gotten your attention with that first paragraph?

That was my intent.

So, what kind of wall are we talking? One made of wood and wallboard? A painted wall? A brick wall? Stone?

It’s not made with human hands. It exists only in my mind. But it may as well be steel, like a vault. It’s cold and unforgiving at times. And it seems to have no beginning, and no end.


I have to be honest with you and myself. I know what makes up this wall. It’s fear. And this fear goes by many names.

  • Inadequacy.
  • Uncertainty.
  • Lack.
  • Loneliness.
  • Failure.

Oh, that last one, though.

I stare at the thing, and this cold, unforgiving wall stares back at me.

So, I wrote down some more words.

  • Fearless.
  • Loved.
  • Successful.
  • Over-comer.
  • Winner.

Then, I taped this list to the wall and stared at it.

Did it help? Honest answer—yes. I felt hope stirring in my heart. Silly? Not at all. What you look at, what you read, what you think about, who you hang out with, where you hang out…all these things contribute to who you are.

If you concentrate on your shortcomings, that’s all you’ll see. It becomes an impenetrable wall. It may live and breathe, because it’s part of you.

If you change the words to positive ones and concentrate on them, will you eventually become them? You have a very good chance. Why? Words can give life. Words can create.

I created that wall by concentrating on the negative. Maybe tiredness took me there, maybe illness or a disappointment of some kind. I fed the words until the wall became insurmountable.

What now? When faced with such a wall, how would you react? How have you managed to overcome a thing like this? I’d love to hear your story.

I tackled it with a butter knife when I taped the list to its surface. 🙂

There’s strength in the words I came up with, more strength in the Word of God.

Research is something I enjoy, so I went to work and found a couple of bulldozers to attack that wall.

I am God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works which God prepared in advance for (me) to do. [Ephesians 2:10]

Okay. That one stirred my heart and gave me courage. If God has plans for me and the work I do, surely He plans to finish this work.

According to Ephesians 1:14, I am chosen. Predestined. “God’s possession–to the praise of His glory.”

I’m getting closer now. This one does more than stir. The wall doesn’t seem so intimidating now.

And finally, Joel 2:7-9 —

They charge like warriors;
    they scale walls like soldiers.
They all march in line,
    not swerving from their course.
 They do not jostle each other;
    each marches straight ahead.
They plunge through defenses
    without breaking ranks.
They rush upon the city;
    they run along the wall.

What does this passage tell me? I’ve been trying to destroy the impenetrable wall, when I really needed to scale it! I can run on it! I don’t need to tear it down.

Yes, fear and anguish and all those ugly words may have built that wall. It’s bricks may be held together by all my past failures, but the pressure of God’s great mercy will compact all its parts. What happens when pressure is applied to coal? It becomes a diamond. Strong. Unbreakable.

I hope you can make sense of my rambling here. I hope you’ve captured the gist of my thoughts. I’m an over-comer. Jumping over the wall—running along the top of the wall—whatever it takes to accomplish the thing that God has planned in advance for me to do.

Yes, you can intimidate a wall. You just need to know the right words to say.

A Smile in the Midst

coffee, cup, laptop, memeHello, Thursday Morning friends. Thanks for stopping by. I’ve had a busy couple of weeks after taking a mini-vacation. We visited Indianapolis. It’s a beautiful city with lots to see and do.


Indy is a great place to hang out for a long weekend. You can walk everywhere, and we had so many choices of restaurants, it was hard to decide. Our favorite thing was walking along the canal, and dining at Harry and Izzie’s.

I’m finding lots of reasons to smile lately. This comes after a long season of worry and fear. A time when I was trying really hard to keep my natural optimistic tendencies at the top, instead of buried beneath a load of anxiety. No, I’m not talking about the big “C”.

I was battling a giant of a different sort. Mental clarity. I was having difficulty understanding and that was frightening, to say the least. I began to withdraw from circumstances that required me to be responsive. Even going out to lunch with friends became difficult. I couldn’t understand half of what they were saying. I tried to laugh when they laughed, and make appropriate responses, but I’m not sure it worked.

The noise in my head was overwhelming me. My brain felt sluggish and my ears felt stuffy all the time. I leaned heavily on texting and social media, rather than making phone calls. If I had an important call to make or receive, I put on earphones. I seldom went to movies, since I couldn’t understand what they were saying, and even had difficulty in church.

I managed to stay beneath the radar for a while, but my heart was telling me something was wrong, and I feared the worst. Would I lose my memory? I didn’t think so. My writing was going well, and I’d been able to keep up with my part-time bookkeeping job.

During a routine visit to my primary physician, she sensed I was having trouble and suggested I see an ENT. My last hearing test was several years ago, and she felt I needed an update. I spent nearly an hour in a soundproof booth, wearing noise-blocking earphones. I suspected the woman administering the test was playing video games or reading a good book, because I’d go for long periods without hearing anything.

I wasn’t hearing the sounds. Then she read words and had me repeat them. Okay, I’ve always believed that being in a noisy room with people talking all around me was the problem. But in that quiet little booth, I still couldn’t understand all her words. I flunked the test. My score was pretty devastating.

Many people suffer from diminished hearing as they age. In my case, you can add genetics into the mix. My mother struggles to hear, even with a hearing aid. Her dad was nearly deaf when he died at 76. All three of his brothers struggled with hearing issues. I loved those Christy’s, but some legacies you don’t really want.

The ENT summed it up, saying I was basically hearing disabled, and needed two hearing aids in order to “shore up” the situation. Most likely, if I live long enough, I’ll lose my hearing completely.

Not good news. Not the worst news either. I knew I could deal with it, somehow.

For a few days, I was a little weepy. But then I got busy and began to research hearing loss. All those scary symptoms I’d been experiencing were related. I’m not loosing my mind, I just can’t understand and process everything I’m hearing. I miss birdsong. Music doesn’t sound the same. Everybody mumbles. They sound like Charlie Brown’s teacher.

In the last couple of weeks, I’ve paid attention to people when they speak. I watch them and work harder to understand. I try to speak with more clarity. I let those around me know I have difficulty hearing. Most people are kind and cooperative. My grandsons get a little exasperated with me, especially after the third or fourth repetition.

Humor has been my friend. I told one of my granddaughters she could tell me her secrets. I don’t hear whispers at all. So, secrets are safe with me.

I’m smiling more these days, because I know the cause of my distress, and it’s not what I feared. This I can work with. My brain’s in good shape, so I can learn to deal with hearing aids, or reading lips, or even learning sign language if it comes to that. I don’t think it will, but have you seen the price of hearing aids? It’s like buying a small car, only they don’t last as long.

The sun is shining this morning, and I can see birds in the trees. I know they’re singing and one day, I’ll hear them again.

“I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.” Psalm 139:14 NIV.

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.” Proverbs 3:5-6 NIV

CLICK TO TWEET: Many people suffer from diminished hearing as they age. #hearingloss #aging #health

Overwhelmed? You’re Not Alone

coffee, cup, laptop, memeHello, Thursday Morning!

I know the year is brand new, but I have to ask, are you feeling overwhelmed?

Believe it or not, even experts tell us they feel overwhelmed and under equipped on occasion. I recently read this in a daily devotional from Anne Graham Lotz: “Again and again, I’ve been confronted with hard choices when I’ve had to throw caution to the wind and abandon myself to faith in Him, and Him alone…”

In Ephesians 3:8, Paul talks about his lack of expertise, and how he was the least qualified among the disciples. He continues with:

God saw to it that I was equipped, but you can be sure that it had nothing to do with my natural abilities. And so here I am, preaching and writing about things that are way over my head,… [Eph. 3:8-9 The Message]

Overwhelmed: to overcome in thought or feeling; totally submerged. The ancient word, “whelm” means to engulf entirely, as with water. Interestingly, the word “helmet” comes from this word, but I’m getting distracted by an attractive rabbit trail. 🙂

Whether we’re totally submerged in fear, doubt, or feelings of incompetence, we shouldn’t regard it as a stone wall or a dead end.  Many among the famous suffer fear and doubt, but the key is, they don’t let it hinder them. They step out anyway, like Peter stepping out of the boat, onto the water. He wanted to walk on water like Jesus, but fear and doubt overwhelmed him.

Another key is found in Ephesians 3:12, “When we trust in Him, we’re free to say whatever needs to be said, bold to go wherever we need to go.

Did anyone else think of Star Trek? “…to boldly go where no man has gone before…”

Paul’s response is to get down on his knees and pray. He recognizes that he can do nothing on his own, but he can do all things through Christ. He can do whatever needs to be done, whether he is personally qualified, or not.

A few years back, I was working for a civil engineering company. I had worked for almost six years as a secretary/receptionist, but I had done almost every clerical job in the place. I did whatever was asked of me, even filled in for the bookkeeper in her absence. When that position opened under its new title of business office manager, it was offered to me first, but I was afraid. I didn’t feel qualified. So another person was hired.

Turns out, this person had lied about her qualifications when she applied for the job, so, I ended up doing most of the work, for which she took credit. She received the business office manager’s salary, though I was actually the one doing most of the work. When it was discovered, she lost her job, and the position was given to me. I still didn’t feel qualified. Many times, I struggled with fear and doubt. But I kept going. I took classes and earned certificates. I became qualified.

This didn’t really lessen my fear, but I did feel more equipped to do the job. And years later, the experience helped me get other jobs. If I had listened to my “inner” voice, and spent time in prayer about this, I probably would have accepted the position, saving myself and the company a lot of time and trouble down the road.

My conclusion is that it’s human to battle overwhelming feelings of fear. If you’re a person with a normal (not overblown) ego, you will have to fight that battle often. I’ve dealt with fear every time I step onto a plane, or head someplace I’ve never been. It’s daunting. But when I face these circumstances with faith, after spending time in prayer and listening, I have the strength to push past that fear.

Queen Esther had to battle fear in her circumstances. If you know her story, you know the reason for her fear. She could die, simply by approaching the king (her husband) without being called into his presence. But the overwhelming element was this: if she didn’t approach the king, the entire Hebrew  population could die. All of her family and friends. And, as her Uncle Mordecai told her, she would not be safe either, if the secret of her lineage became known.

How did she overcome her fear? The Bible tells us she declared a fast, spent time in prayer, and listened. She heard from God, who gave her the plan that would save not only her life, but an entire nation.

Sometimes, it comes down to this: What if I don’t go? What will the consequences be? Who will suffer besides me? Esther stepped out in faith. Peter also did, but his emotions overcame his faith and he went under. Jesus didn’t let him drown, however. So my take-away from that story is, Jesus won’t let me drown in my insecurities. With each new experience, my faith is built and stretched. If I fail, I’m stronger for having tried.

What is your most overwhelming fear? How do you overcome it? I’d love to hear from you.

Here’s an excellent blog written by a friend of mine, especially for those who face fear: Jerusha Agen’s Fear Warrior Blog

When I Am Afraid

girl-1246525_1280“When I am afraid, I put my trust in you.
     In God, whose word I praise—
in God I trust and am not afraid.
    What can mere mortals do to me?”–Psalm 56:3-4 NIV

cat-393294_1280If you struggle with feelings of fear, you are not alone. Most of us do, at one time or another. The words of this psalm, penned by David after he’d been captured by the Philistines –wait–isn’t this the same bunch whose champion, a nine-foot-tall giant–fell to the shepherd boy, David?


He’s down, but not out. He’ll be back. He knows they can’t harm him–at least, he’s pretty sure–because he’s the Lord’s anointed. But that doesn’t stop the temporary feeling of fear.

Notice I said temporary.

dog-708376_1280Before the actual physical circumstances change, David will talk and sing and praise his way out of the stronghold of fear in his life. Breakthrough. This is an important key. Sometimes you have to take a stand. Sometimes you have to talk your way out of a bad spot, if only in your own mind or spirit–convince yourself–remind yourself of who you are and Who’s you are.

There’s a great example of this type of praise tactic in Psalm 31:

“Praise be to the Lord,
    for he showed me the wonders of his love
    when I was in a city under siege.
22 In my alarm I said,
    “I am cut off from your sight!”
Yet you heard my cry for mercy
    when I called to you for help.

23 Love the Lord, all his faithful people!
    The Lord preserves those who are true to him,
    but the proud he pays back in full.
24 Be strong and take heart,
    all you who hope in the Lord.”

In the beginning of that Psalm (verse 1-5), David gave himself and his circumstances to the will of his Father in Heaven. He was hoping to live, and not die, as the rest of this Psalm shows.

From the cross, Jesus quoted part of verse 5: “Into your hands I commit my spirit;” –He didn’t finish the quote, perhaps because He knew His fate was different. Jesus gave himself up to the will of His Father in Heaven, trusting in His ultimate deliverance. He had a greater outcome in his sights.

But David prayed, “Into your hands I commit my spirit; deliver me, Lord, my faithful God.”

Ultimately, we have to trust that God will deliver us, one  way or the other. Sometimes, it’s the only answer.dontdarequit





Strong and Courageous

I am honored to have a guest post on the Fear Warrior blog this week. Here’s the link if you’d like to check it out: Jerusha Agen’s Fear Warrior Blog. I’m giving away a book over there, too.

Writing that post made me think about some of the things that are most important in this world. There are so many voices out there right now, ready to rip each other apart in order to make room for themselves.

Fear runs rampant.

Sometimes fear is a bully. It tells you when you can sleep, when you can eat or not eat.

Fear paralyzes. Stops you in your tracks. Binds you with chains. It can make you sick, and it can kill you if you don’t find a way to overcome it. I found release in my Faith. I read and study the Word of God. It helps me overcome some of the depths fear dragged me into.

As I mentioned in the article above, one of my go-to scriptures is Joshua 1:9 — “Be strong and courageous…” Here’s the full context of that verse–

sword-790815_1280 “Be strong and courageous, for you are the one who will lead these people to possess all the land I swore to their ancestors I would give them. Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the instructions Moses gave you. Do not deviate from them, turning either to the right or to the left. Then you will be successful in everything you do. Study this Book of Instruction continually. Meditate on it day and night so you will be sure to obey everything written in it. Only then will you prosper and succeed in all you do. This is my command—be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”Joshua 1:6-9 NLT

This passage holds plenty of instruction and promise. It’s kind of like a prescription. If you don’t follow all the instructions, you may not reap all the benefits. This prescription comes complete with the “do’s & don’ts”. Do follow, do study, do meditate. Don’t deviate. You’ll follow your doctor’s prescription to the utmost, but not this simple instruction? Sure, it was written for Joshua and the people who followed him, but like many of the teachings, parables, and stories in the Bible, it’s still relevant today.

cat-393294_1280I’ve had a lot of dealings with old man fear this year. I overcame a lot of my anxiety when I made the trip to Ecuador. I learned to trust, step out and do it. And throughout my husband’s health crisis, I was taunted by fear. It tried to get it’s claws in, catch me, hold me, and not let go. But I refused. Again, I learned to trust. And I didn’t have to go it alone. God sent a lot of people alongside us to pray, encourage, visit, and show His love.

Sometimes, there are  no easy answers. But in the volume of the book, let it be written of me…I tried. I stepped out there. I made the effort. I did my best.