Category Archives: fear and anxiety

The Power Of Focus

 

When we deal with difficult circumstances it is essential that we pay attention to what we are focusing on. If we feed our fears and starve our faith, we will grow weaker and more depressed and discouraged. If we feed our faith and starve our fears, we will grow stronger and more confident. Whatever you focus on expands.

     It can happen so easily. This morning a few folks shared with me their fears regarding COVID-19 and finances. I listened and certainly understood their concerns. I’ve  experienced some difficult stretches in my own life so I could easily validate their concerns. But after speaking with them it hit me. Yes, afterwards the seeds of their fears lodged in my mind. I found myself worrying about what the financial impact would be on my family.

     But then it subtly grew from concern to a strange feeling of weakness. It wasn’t clear for awhile why the weakness had come over me. Was I sick? But as time passed I realized that I had shifted from a position of faith and trust in the Lord to one of concern and very subtle worry. Fear of the unknown was growing deep within. As soon as I realized the source and how the seeds of earlier conversations had lodged in my mind, I took steps to eradicate them. Putting on some worship music, I focused on all God’s greatness and Power. I remembered how He had provided for me in the past and how I knew He would again. My heart grew lighter and the weakness slowly passed.

     Whatever we focus upon expands. It’s an important truth. The mind expands in relation to what our thoughts dwell upon. And it grows and grows and grows. So if we have a fearful thought, that will grow leading to anxiety, stress and more fear. The opposite is also true. If we focus upon God’s Power to overcome anything, our minds are focused upon faith. We will grow strong in that faith and even draw more evidences of faith to us.

    Now this is an amazing tool when you think about it. We have control over what we choose to feed our mind. Some folks are pushing away from the news these days. Others are limiting how much they listen to it. They have discovered that it feeds the mind with negativity and worrisome thoughts that don’t help them live and have productive, joy-filled lives.

     Others are intentionally listening to music that encourages and builds hope. I’ve been delighted to see the number of social media posts with uplifting music. As we listen to those songs our hearts relax and we remember. Although this chaos hit us unaware, music reminds us that there is a higher truth. We can rise above the present circumstances and focus on the good, the kindnesses that are so evident, God’s faithfulness, and most of all, our ability to choose.

     Maybe you have difficulty focusing on the good and feeding your faith. Maybe for you it’s a straight uphill battle. I understand. There have been times of great change in my life where it was difficult to just get out of bed in the morning. It was hard to imagine life ever being ok much less good. But, you know, it happened. Slowly one day at a time I took the next step. I did what I could do that day and those small steps took me to a different place. Yes, I found myself at a place I would never have been if it had not been for those difficult circumstances.

    I discovered through that that even though we are shaken by sudden change we need not be defeated. We can choose what our mind focuses upon and draw even more faith to us. We can open our eyes to see the bigger picture- not just what it’s like for us. Suddenly we are not alone. Others are struggling and unsure.

    So how do you focus your mind on faith? Here are some steps to take:

  1. Assess where you are right now
  2. Tell yourself a positive truth based on God’s Truth
  3. Intentionally focus on the good things, no matter how small
  4. Turn your negative thoughts into positive ones. Challenge any negative thoughts
  5. Stay in the present
  6. Find some faith-focused friends, co-workers, family members

 

     Lastly, take time to remember. Yes, remember the times of chaos in your life and how you survived then. Think back to previous experiences of chaos and notice how you managed to come through. Whether it was a tornado experience, a devastating hurricane, a divorces, an illness, etc take time to reflect on how you made it through. What did you do? Who was there? What did you turn to?

    Remembering helps me realize how many times I’ve coped with chaos in the past and survived. Again and again I’ve experienced that feeling of devastation and fear but I survived. At the time it was very difficult and scary. But looking back I can see how God sustained me and helped me one day at a time. Life went on. But I was different.

   Yes, through every chaos I’ve grown.  I still feel the fears of sudden change and chaos but I know Who to go to and I know that nothing is a surprise to God. He will help me as He’s promised to and as He has done again and again in my life. Will there be changes? Absolutely. But He is in control and I can trust Him.

  • This is from my soon to be released book Finding Faith in the Chaos

 

 

When Fear Threatens You

It happened in 1953.

The Polio Epidemic.

I have no memory of the fear that must have swept the country

as polio attacked so many – especially adults.

Leaving many paralyzed, some on iron lungs, some fatalities.

I have no memory.

But  I remember summer 1953 being a busy time

as we moved from Allentown, PA  to Levittown, PA.

My little baby brother was born in March 14, 2020

and there was so much to think about

for a little girl of 4.

Big bulldozers outside my window moved the dirt in the yard

and literally terrified me.

But there was something worse that would cause me to fear

for many years to come.

Polio.

I don’t even remember that word

until summertime

when my world was turned upside down.

After a time at the pool

my mother got a severe headache.

Suddenly a doctor was called.

Hushed voices.

My older brother and I stood in the hallway

waiting to hear about our mother.

The doctor came out of her room,

gave us each a shot

and made arrangements for my mother to be taken

to the hospital.

She had polio.

The next few weeks and months were a blur

as I was taken to Long Island to stay with my relatives.

I had no idea if I’d ever see home again.

Strange memories of those days

and lonely weeks.

Tasteless scrambled eggs

and long days.

I feared that my mommy had died

And I would never see my Daddy or brothers again.

How I wished to have the chance to be a good girl.

I knew that I would never cause them any trouble.

 

Today we face a the Coronavirus Pandemic

and daily news of how it’s spreading across the globe.

Schools are closed, churches will not have services

and many businesses are silenced.

Day after day I hear of more closings

and with it that sense of fear mounts.

But in the midst of it all

my heart remembers.

Long ago.

That verse of comfort and hope.

Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.

In all thy ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct thy paths. Proverbs 3:5-6 KJV

That verse reminds me of Who is in control.

It reassures me when I begin to wonder.

What’s going to happen next?

It comforts me and gives me clear direction.

Trust. Don’t trust my own understanding.

Acknowledge Him

and then there’s that promise …

He will direct my paths.

He is close, personal and has promised to be there.

I never have to feel alone

like that little girl of 4.

Never again.

No, God has promised

to take care of me as I trust in Him.

Years ago I waited for months

with no word about my mother.

Years ago I had no hope.

But suddenly when that car pulled up

and my Daddy came to the door

my heart overflowed with joy.

We were reunited again as a family.

The lessons remain

God is with us.

We can trust Him.

We must not lean upon our own understanding.

But acknowledge Him

and let Him direct our days, weeks, months and more.

No one needs to be overwhelmed by fear.

No one.

If you are reading this

and struggling at times

with fear.

Remember His promise.

It’s for you.

Trust Him.

Put your faith in Him.

He will guide, direct and protect you.

Always.

 

 

 

 

 

How’s Your Temple Care?

I guess I heard it years ago – that phrase ‘temple care’.

I listened as the conference speaker spoke of the importance of caring for our bodies.

The need to be intentional about self care –

 sleep, exercise, eating nutritionally, drinking plenty of water, etc.

I remembered those words – Or didn’t you realize that your body is a sacred place, the place of the Holy Spirit? I Cor. 6:19-20 Msg.

My, very body – my 5 ‘ 2” body a sacred place?

Our bodies are the place where His Spirit dwells in the life of every born again believer.

The more I thought about it the more I realized that my body

 was not mine to just do with as I saw fit.

Stay up late, binge on Doritos, deprive myself of sleep as I stay  up reading or

watching a UVA basketball game.

No, my body belongs to the Lord – the One Who gave His life for me

and it was up to me to take care of the temple.

Yes, this earthly body of mine made of dust and aging rapidly.

To intentionally care for it – with this understanding was a change for me.

I needed to respect the limits of my body.

Get enough rest.

Say no to over extending myself. Make time to exercise.

Not necessarily spending all my resources on health supplements

but choosing to eat nutritious food.

Temple care. Yes, good temple care.

Oh, I still have those moments – particularly when under lots of stress –

that I’ll reach for that red bag of Doritos.

Yes, my weakness –

But then I’ll remember – almost as if there’s little voice inside –

and I hear that call to good temple care.

Resting in Him – in His Presence-

God cares about it all. He not only created us for His Purpose

but He calls us to be wise stewards.

Taking good care of our bodies.

So how are you doing with that, my friends?

Join me, won’t you, in asking the Lord to give you wisdom and strength to

practice good self care-

temple care.

Trust in His care to provide for all your needs

and practice good temple care.

It will make a greater difference than we all realize in the moment.