Sculpting Project 22: Leaping Over Walls: Week 3
By my God, I can leap over a wall. (Psalm 18:29b)
Personal walls, we all have them. Something blocking our way that is hard to get over. When we come up to this wall we feel like turning around, or just sitting down. Sometimes we have no choice, we have to get over it, other times we can just avoid our wall. But walls still have a way of reappearing. This week our project is to name a personal wall and use God- given skills and God- given help to leap over that wall.
The Tool Set: The Three D’s
First D: Distraction: This tool is especially effective if our thoughts are the ruminating type.
Our distraction tool is like a simple Swiss army knife with 4 different features. Stop, Shift, Schedule, Scribble.
Stop. When our mind is rattling on in an unhelpful thought pattern we firmly tell it to ‘Stop’. We can add a finger snap, or silly sound to add effect. Moving on to the Shift tool is a good next step since our minds tend to return to the pattern. (Like a dog to it’s vomit.)
Shift. Turn a focused attention to something else. Study your hand, name all the sounds you can hear, recite something, do something.
Schedule. Tell ourselves that we will give this topic full attention, at another time. Schedule a 7:00 appointment with ourselves to think about the topic.
Scribble. Write down the thoughts we are having. This tends to quiet the thoughts.
Second D: Distancing
We remind ourselves that not all our thoughts are the Gospel truth. Just because a thought has issued from our brain does not make in a solid fact. Our brain is merely doing the best it can to make up a story to fit our situation. It doesn’t have all the facts to work with and it also has some destructive habits that it has picked up from unpleasant past experiences, critical adults, or jealous siblings. Many of us are down-right rude to ourselves saying things we would never say to another person. Let’s put our thoughts in perspective. It’s just a thought, not a fact.
Third: D: Disputing (especially effective wall leaping tool)
Argue with ourselves. Most of us became accomplished in the art of arguing at a young age. Here we turn this skill on our own thoughts. When we come to a personal wall our mind begins to rehearse the reasons why we cannot possibly leap this wall. Our disputing tool can take-on these thoughts and win.
Next week we will take an unprecedented 4th week on this Sculpting Project. In this 4th week I will introduce more features on our Disputing tool.
One of my personal walls is the way I relate to time and projects. If I think the ideal time allotment for pottery is two hours I do not get started unless I have that large time block in front of me. That appears wise, but in my case it means I seldom get to many of the pleasurable things I want to do. They become pipe dreams. My wall stems from the belief that I cannot make any progress in pottery unless I have 2 hours. So to leap over my wall I have begun to argue with my two hour belief. ‘I have 10-20 minutes maybe I can make a little progress in that amount of time?’ So instead of doing a tiny but endless job like cleaning, I go out to the studio and work for 20 minutes. This has become a very satisfying decision for me. What is a wall that blocks you?
Sculpting Project 22: Leaping over Walls
Identify a personal wall. It is that thing that you regularly come up to that makes you want to quit or avoid. Something that is in the way of your dreams. ‘If only I could get rid of this _____(wall)) I would . . . ‘. It may be in a project, a relationship, a personal practice, perfectionism, an unreasonable fear, . . . . Pick a wall that you think God would also like you to get over. You might pick a small wall to begin with. This will build your courage for the bigger ones.
A. If the wall comes up daily:
- Carefully observe your self-talk when the wall appears. What do you believe to be the truth about this wall?
- Take this belief and apply one of the D tools. Distract, Distance, Dispute
B. If the wall does not come up daily:
- Create an imagined encounter with this wall. Use props if needed, get into the drama and imagine coming up to the wall. Listen carefully to all the things you tell yourself about this wall.
- In your imagined event apply the D tools. Distract, Distance, Dispute
Thoughts on Thoughts:
Our thoughts are just thoughts and not always correct, but they are tremendously powerful in our lives. To “take our thoughts captive for Christ.” II Cor. 10:5b will transform our world increasing our well-being and the well-being of all those we love. By God’s help we will leap our walls.
Silence is not always golden. Let me know how your Sculpting is going.
What is working? What is not working? Suggestions?