Let’s Talk

Fear in Turbulent Times

— by Dr. Helen McIntosh

Q. There’s so much fear and anxiety in our world. North Korea wants to bomb us, so many feel overwhelmed financially and more. How do we overcome this fear?

A. Let’s Talk! A contest years and years ago asked for paintings that illustrated peace. Many tranquil scenes were submitted as you would imagine, but the winner was a painting of a mother bird hovering over her nest of babies in the cleft of a rock behind a large and thunderous  waterfall. Yes, IN SPITE OF our circumstances, brave and resilient warriors seek peace!

There is another picture of birds – this time eagles – that will provide a visual of possibilities. A friend, Jeanne Carter, gave this as a devotional a few days ago:

  • Isaiah 40:31 says that, “We who wait upon the Lord will renew our strength; we will mount up with wings like eagles; we will run and not be weary; we will walk and not faint.” Concerning eagles’ nests: Have we considered that the feathers that have made our nest comfortable may have been fear, worry, anxiety . . . something familiar? Has the Lord shaken your nest? Jesus is trying to pluck things out of the nest and the sticks of life are poking us, making our nest less comfortable or familiar than it used to be. He is encouraging us to get out of the nest with Him into a free fall of total surrender, trusting in Him alone.

 It is God’s kind intention to help us navigate our fears, especially in turbulent times. He lovingly wants to deliver us and protect us. We have talked about reframing fear and anxiety in earlier posts (Reframing Fearful Thoughts, Fear, Control, and Letting Go) and asking God to speak to us very specifically about all that is “under” the issues. Another friend used to say, “It isn’t the straw that broke the camel’s back, but the load under the straw!” What is under your straw? Can you give God your load? It is freedom and the flight path upwards.

We’ll talk more about this in the coming weeks. I would so welcome your sharing your personal loads/straws so I can address the more specific needs of your hearts. Will you? Let’s Talk! You can contact me confidentially at DrHelen@braveandresilient.com.

Helen B. McIntosh has a doctorate in counseling psychology and is a national board certified professional counselor and certified in reality therapy. An educator for 19 years, Dr. McIntosh is an author, a highly demanded national speaker and inventor of the Peace Rug®, an international curriculum for conflict resolution.

 

Let’s Talk

How Are You Walking?

 — by Dr. Helen McIntosh

Q. I’ve been noticing how I excuse or use blame messages to justify my poor choices. What are other pitfalls as I walk more aware of my choices?

A. Let’s Talk! Last week we talked about the fact that we really do have a choice about our actions. Remember the example about holding up the left hand/right hand? But somewhere along the line, when wounds of the heart come, we have pitfalls in the path. Choices blur and we make excuses and do blaming of ourselves and others. Our culture is overloaded with the blame game! I mentioned personal responsibility last week as the antidote for that trail. I heard a saying today by Brit Hume: “Winners own their responsibility, and losers blame others.” Good stuff!

Here’s another pitfall on the trail as you walk: It is possible to develop a victim mentality, which leads to self-pity, bitterness, resentments, and even a feeling of false entitlement. You need to guard against that with great fierceness. If you really, really want mental/emotional/spiritual wholeness, you will nail those thoughts. Remember, thoughts lead to actions. So, if you are going south on a woe is me path, you CAN turn around. You can walk a different way in a different direction. Look up!

For Deeper Reflection

You can ask your heavenly Father to download His answers for your path. Ask Him to help you find the missing pieces of the puzzle and to solve the problem(s). Ask Him to put your feet in a better path—His path!

Jeremiah 6: 16 Thus says the Lord, stand by the ways and see and ask for the ancient paths, where the good way is, and walk in it; and you will find rest for your souls.”

Isaiah 65: 2 “I have spread out my hands all day long to a rebellious people who walk in the way which is not good, following their own thoughts . . . .”

Isaiah 58: 11 “And the Lord will continually guide you and satisfy your desire in scorched places, and give strength to your bones; and you will be like a watered garden, and like a spring of water whose waters do not fail . . . .”

Your questions and grappling with challenges in your own life are important to us. I’d love to address your specific questions, so confidentially contact me at DrHelen@braveandresilient.com.

Helen B. McIntosh has a doctorate in counseling psychology and is a national board certified professional counselor and certified in reality therapy. An educator for 19 years, Dr. McIntosh is an author, a highly demanded national speaker and inventor of the Peace Rug®, an international curriculum for conflict resolution.

 

 

Let’s Talk

How Do I Change My Actions?

 — by Dr. Helen McIntosh  

Q. “How do I change my actions?” asked a reader recently!

A. Let’s Talk about unhealthy actions, those choices we make repeatedly and wish we didn’t. We really do have a choice about what we do (choices we are making) as well as what we are thinking. For example: I wanted to show small children that they had a choice about what they were doing. In this case, it was how to use their hands appropriately. So, I asked them a question to let them see the power they had. I asked, “Can you hold up your right hand? Now your left?” I also asked them to sit and stand and take one step forward. They had no trouble! I then shared they were demonstrating their will and choices at that moment. They really could choose where their hands and feet went. This also demonstrates the power we as adults have over our bodies and also our emotions. We often say as adults, “I just don’t feel like it,” as we let our habits and emotions rule over choices we need to make.

This subject would also come under personal responsibility. I have tried to cultivate a mental flag to go up inside my head when I am about to make an excuse or come up with someone to blame for my own actions. It is so much easier not to take responsibility for our poorer choices or actions. This is grown-up stuff, isn’t it? Notice 3- and 4-year-olds are good at “not my fault.” The bottom line is that we are in danger of becoming a slave to our body if we let it rule us! We all want freedom, and we have been called to freedom. We just have to seize this level of maturity of owning our choices, and the end result is that life will go so much better and healthier for us.

Start thinking about your willful choices—where your hands and feet go, and any excuse flags going up and we will talk more about this next week. Notice the pattern of any “excuse and blame” messages as well. There’s a reason for these messages and we’ll dig for them as if they were gold. Freedom and mental/emotional health are precious.

For Deeper Reflection

There are many great verses on this theme, but the idea is pretty well summed up in Psalm 1: 1-3:

“How blessed is the man/woman who does not WALK in the counsel of the wicked, nor STAND in the path of sinners, nor SIT in the seat of scoffers! But his delight is in the law of the Lord, and in His law he meditates day and night. And he will be like a tree firmly planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in its season. And its leaf does not wither; and in whatever he does, he prospers.”

Consider doing a study of “walking in truth”—there are tons of verses to encourage you to choose well!

Helen B. McIntosh has a doctorate in counseling psychology and is a national board certified professional counselor and certified in reality therapy. An educator for 19 years, Dr. McIntosh is an author, a highly demanded national speaker and inventor of the Peace Rug®, an international curriculum for conflict resolution.