I was briefly reading Psalm 55 before a meeting this morning, and as I came across verses four and five I realized it described how anxiety feels. I am grateful that David was able to share his heart with God and thousands of years later, many us, if not all, can relate.
Anxiety can be felt in your chest as it pounds to the beat of stress and sorrow. Anxiety can be a lump in the throat making it hard to swallow the fear that does not want to submit and go away. Anxiety can be sweat and chills with tension and rapid eye blinks. Anxiety can be in the trembles of the body and the mind wandering a mile a minute with a plague of worries and thoughts. Anxiety can be in the avoidance of necessary activities in life to social and step out on faith moments as well as a desire to run and hide, costing you freedom and joy. Anxiety can be the mind stuck in the past or stuck in the future. Anxiety can feel like death is following and no one can help or understand. Anxiety can feel like a death sentence as well as a life sentence. But God…
There is hope. And we are anxiety fighters. Thanks to God we can take one day at a time and fight through. We can develop courage and joy because the joy of the Lord will be our strength. We can learn about ourselves, how to endure, and learn to see ourselves the way God does. We can heal and grow, and many of us will receive the deliverance from the spirit of fear because God did not give us a spirit of fear, but that of power, love and a sound mind.
But I will call on God, and the Lord will rescue me. Morning, noon, and night I cry out in my distress, and the Lord hears my voice. He ransoms me and keeps me safe from the battle waged against me, though many still oppose me. Give your burdens to the Lord, and he will take care of you. He will not permit the godly to slip and fall. Psalms 55:16-18, 22 NLT https://bible.com/bible/116/psa.55.16-22.NLT
God is our safe place. God can and will sustain us. God cares about us and is concerned about everything that concerns us. God hears our cries and collects our tears. He is the answer to our problems. He loves us greater than anyone ever can. Jesus is a testament to His love for us. God reminds us to not fear. He is with us and He will never leave us nor forsake us. He is a present help in the time of trouble.
Let us ask God where we have not been trusting Him. Let us take a deep breath and rest in the God who loves us beyond measure and wants us to receive the life and life to the full He came to give us. Share with Him, like David, the contents of our hearts. And let us remember how good God has been and worship Him through the good times and bad, the certainties and doubts, and anxiety.
Around the time I was promoting my first self-published book, Setting The Captive Free poetry book, I did a promo photo shoot with some friends. I had us list what God had delivered us from. And I, myself, listed several things including anxiety, depression, generational curses, etc.
Looking back, maybe at that time that was true as life during that time was most likely okay and breathable. And I could honestly say God did deliver me from depression and even a suicide attempt years prior. I also know there were generational curses that were broken. But I wondered to myself as I saw a reminder of the I Am Free promo, photo shoot and post if I truly was free or capping as they say. Or maybe I felt free at the moment.
In any event, I notice that a lot of believers know that Jesus can and does set us free. Although we may still sin, sin no longer can reign in our lives. And although the world may never have the solutions to our problems, we have access to the throne of grace of the One who is the solution. But some of us are still walking around bound. The joy of the Lord is our strength but we rarely experience or spread joy. We are worried and stressed while God is ready to be given our cares and burdens because He cares for us.
Anxiety has plagued me for years. I would not realize until years later that even in college and teen years anxiety was present. It was present when I would get sick to the point of having to go back home after almost making it to the bus stop. And when I say I got sick, it was sick to my stomach… nevermind. Lol, I will stop there. It was present when I was lightheaded and hitting the floor. It was present at every moment of overthinking and worry. It was present with negative thoughts and self-pity. It was there when I felt like I disappointed someone. And anxiety is still present.
However, now that I know it is anxiety and what fuels it and what triggers it, I can have those informed conversations with myself and a professional. But more importantly now, I realize I don’t want to just feel and look free. I realize I can come to God and ask Him to help me to realize that I can be truly free.
Sometimes miracles and healing can happen overnight. Sometimes it takes time. I didn’t get this way overnight and there are a lot of components to address when someone struggles with anxiety or depression. So, I know this is going to take some time. But at the end of the tunnel, I pray that I am truly free. And that I heal from every stronghold and trauma and circumstance that is holding up the anxiety fear. I have to understand that deliverance sometimes is continual and I have to learn to trust God through the process/journey. As well as surrender every area and layer of my life to God.
So if the Son sets you free,(B) you will be free indeed( John 8:36). Our Savior granted us freedom, grace, mercy, and an unfailing love. It is time we walk fully in such.
Just recently, I had the privilege of getting an awesome word from my cousin-in-law. We talked about anxiety and fear, and we also talked about being afraid to fight and not being use to fighting. She encouraged me so. My heart was full.
I went on to talk about these topics with my sister and we concluded that sometimes it may not always be we are used to not fighting but that we are afraid of conflict. And sometimes we are afraid we won’t be able to respond the way we need to or even hold up during the fight or conflict.
And just this morning, as I prepared to walk the dog, I walked past the tv that had been left on and saw a clip of Divergent. One of my favorite movies. The clip was Four getting ready to take Tris in to the landscape of his mind to show her how to prepare for the final test. She can’t just do things how she would normally do them. She can’t just rush through or even avoid some things. She must show that she is indeed Dauntless and not that she is (spoiler alert) Divergent. And so this clip made the lightbulb go on in my head. I immediately thought about fighting. Not the throwing up fists and releasing punches but getting back up and persevering. Fighting with wisdom and faith and resilience. Fighting strategically.
Just maybe during this season, God is teaching me how to fight. We can’t always avoid a fight. We can’t always run. And we can’t, like Tris, rush through it and respond the way we normally would. Each fight may require a different strategy. And my cousin-in-law said something similar. Oh my, I am getting full again. This fight may be different than the previous fight. You may need to do more than praying, sis. You may have to fast. You may have to cut some things off and out.
It is found via Google search that “fear not/do not be afraid” is written in the Bible 365 times. God has to remind us daily to not be afraid. God wants us to remember who we belong to and that the war has already been won. He wants us to also know that we have a strong defense team (He, His Son and Spirit as well as His angels) and the best tactical gear (the armor of God and prayer as well as worship) in the world and heavens.
So, why is God teaching us how to fight or to fight in this season?
1. God wants us to face our fears. Just like Four and Tris had to face their fears in the landscapes of their minds, God wants us to face ours. He also wants us take every thought captive. Destroy every proud obstacle that keeps us from knowing Him. There is a war going on in our minds and the best way to bring peace to our minds is to train our minds to catch, check and change certain thoughts that do not line up with the word and will of God. Or the love of God. We should even check thoughts that may not seem detrimental or harmful and see if they are sowing seeds of confusion, distraction and complacency with the world, fear, etc. Fears as they say are false evidence appearing real but to our minds it feels so real. And our fears can stem from so much trauma in our lives that it is normal to feel the way we feel. But God doesn’t want our identities and lives to be rooted in fear. He wants us to overcome and live fruitfully. We can’t fully live if our lives are fully rooted in fear.
2. God wants us to learn how to fight. God has strategies to overcome and to persevere. He has plans that always succeed. And He has promises that awaits us. His wisdom is supreme and it can aid us and save us from making poor decisions sometimes made due to fear and emotions. And like I mentioned before, the next fight may be a different kind of fight and may need a different kind of strategy. God may want us to be still during this fight to learn that He will defend us and to build our confidence in Him. Or He may want us to increase in prayer and fasting. We may need to be much bolder and let some things fall off of us. We may be carrying so much pain and so many distractions that prevent us from fighting effectively and consistently. So, He may call us away to Himself to heal and reorganize our priorities. We need to seek Him diligently and saturate in His Word. Find scriptures concerning our issues, problems, battles and meditate on and pray these scriptures. Just because we are afraid of the backlash from the enemy, afraid that our loved ones will be uncomfortable or afraid that no one in our circle will fight with us doesn’t mean the battle will go away. And God is Almighty and with us. The devil’s fate is sealed. And he already lost the war. God got you. We must learn to fight and learn to trust God.
3. God wants us to know that we are not alone and that we are joining the fight with other believers and for others, saved and unsaved, who need us to step up to the battle line. Tris had Four to help her. Tris had to realize that Four and many others like her needed someone to stand in the gap and make a difference. There are generational curses that need to broken in our families. There are children who need our intercession. There are churches that need revival and marriages that need reviving. There are sick people that need healing. There are people that need deliverance. There are some people that just need to experience God’s love and joy, especially during the uncertain moments of their lives.
So, be encouraged. Today, you may not feel like fighting. That is okay. Say thank You, Lord, for a new day. Start there. And then continue to listen for His voice on how to proceed throughout the day.
For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ, and being ready to punish all disobedience when your obedience is fulfilled. II Corinthians 10:3-6 NKJV https://bible.com/bible/114/2co.10.3-6.NKJV
These are the nations the Lord left to test all those Israelites who had not experienced any of the wars in Canaan (he did this only to teach warfare to the descendants of the Israelites who had not had previous battle experience): They were left to test the Israelites to see whether they would obey the Lord’s commands, which he had given their ancestors through Moses. Judges 3:1-2, 4 NIV https://bible.com/bible/111/jdg.3.1-4.NIV
Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. James 1:2-5 NIV https://bible.com/bible/111/jas.1.2-5.NIV
Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people. Ephesians 6:10-18 NIV https://bible.com/bible/111/eph.6.10-18.NIV
While reading this morning Exodus chapter three again, a question and a statement came to mind. The question was “What came before the Exodus?” And the statement was “you need an encounter with God before your exodus out of whatever it is God wants to deliver you from.” So, what is an exodus? An exodus basically means mass departure or going out. According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, the word itself is derived from the Greek word Exodos which literally means “the road out”. We know that in Exodus three that God commissions Moses to lead His people out of years of oppression and suffering. God saw and heard His people and He said to Moses, “I have certainly seen the oppression of my people in Egypt. I have heard their cries of distress because of their harsh slave drivers. Yes, I am aware of their suffering (Exodus 3:7 NLT). He then goes on to say that I have come down to rescue them. This is where Moses fits in and gets welcomed to join God in His mighty work.
Does God See Our Tears?
Exodus had to remind me that God hears and He sees. Often, many of us saved or unsaved cry out that God does not see all of the suffering in the world or even in our individual lives. He does. He is aware. That is why He sent His Son to bring His Kingdom here on earth and bring salvation and reconciliation. We now have an opportunity to one day no longer suffer and be in agony and turmoil.Moreover, as I read Exodus three, it dawned on me that some things preceded the exodus of the Israelites. For one, Moses had an encounter with God. And some other things took place also but first let me encourage you that God sees your suffering and He hears your cries.
Circumstances Don’t Have The Last Say
Circumstances in life, especially ones that won’t let up, won’t let you sleep, and keep popping back up, will make you feel like running and throwing in the towel. I have had days where my conversations with God are full of tears, pleas and cries of wanting to just give up. However, a Bible plan I read left me with the impression that God will either deliver you from it or see you through it. The line in the Bible plan actually read “that sometimes God doesn’t deliver you from the trial. Instead He saves us through it.” In my struggles with anxiety and fear as well as other circumstances presented in my life, I sometimes think that this would be a lifelong struggle that eventually I would lose. But the devil is a liar. And John 16:33 reminds me that Jesus has already overcome the world, and therefore, He has already overcome the issues that plague it too. We may lose some battles in our human experience but Jesus overcame the war. I may deal with anxiety for the rest of my life, but I know one thing God is teaching me through all of this, and that is to trust Him one day at a time.Shoot, the second thing He is teaching me is that He sent me a helper, the third person and He is called the Holy Spirit. He is my Comforter and constant, unparalleled peace in the midst of any storm. Three, I must surrender all to God. I must surrender to His love and lordship. And four, God does want to deliver me. There will be times I will be afraid and anxiety will rear its ugly head to challenge me to run and hide, stand still and give up, or tremble and fight. But the Holy Spirit will help me to get to the point where fear will not control me. And I will take my focus off of fear and anxiety and put it back on Jesus. I will live in the presence of God. The spirit of fear will not choke out my destiny or become my identity. The spirit of fear will not dictate the quality of life I will have or shall I say lack thereof. God did not give me a spirit of fear, but that of power, love and a sound mind. I will receive the life and life to the full Jesus came to give me. I will see myself the way God does. I will experience the joy that comes from God here on earth instead of believing I have to wait to experience it in heaven. The joy of the Lord is my strength. I will be fulfilled by only the One who can fulfill me and that is God. Life is not and will not always be comfortable. In fact, storms come and go. But I can walk in the freedom and wholeness of God, knowing that in His presence and with His grace, I can live simply, fruitfully and purposefully.
What Comes Before An Exodus?
Now back to what comes before the exodus.
God heard and saw. He sees your suffering. He feels your pain. He acknowledges what you’re feeling. Then the Lord told him, “I have certainly seen the oppression of my people in Egypt. I have heard their cries of distress because of their harsh slave drivers. Yes, I am aware of their suffering. Exodus 3:7 NLT
God remembers His covenant and promises. “Now go and call together all the elders of Israel. Tell them, ‘Yahweh, the God of your ancestors—the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob—has appeared to me. He told me, “I have been watching closely, and I see how the Egyptians are treating you. I have promised to rescue you from your oppression in Egypt. I will lead you to a land flowing with milk and honey—the land where the Canaanites, Hittites, Amorites, Perizzites, Hivites, and Jebusites now live.”’ Exodus 3:16-17 NLT
You have an encounter with God. One day Moses was tending the flock of his father-in-law, Jethro, the priest of Midian. He led the flock far into the wilderness and came to Sinai, the mountain of God. There the angel of the Lord appeared to him in a blazing fire from the middle of a bush. Moses stared in amazement. Though the bush was engulfed in flames, it didn’t burn up. “This is amazing,” Moses said to himself. “Why isn’t that bush burning up? I must go see it.” When the Lord saw Moses coming to take a closer look, God called to him from the middle of the bush, “Moses! Moses!” “Here I am!” Moses replied. “Do not come any closer,” the Lord warned. “Take off your sandals, for you are standing on holy ground. I am the God of your father —the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.” When Moses heard this, he covered his face because he was afraid to look at God. Exodus 3:1-6 NLT
God invites you to join Him in His mission. Look! The cry of the people of Israel has reached me, and I have seen how harshly the Egyptians abuse them. Now go, for I am sending you to Pharaoh. You must lead my people Israel out of Egypt.” Exodus 3:9-10 NLT
You get His instructions and encouragement. Then the Lord told him, “I have certainly seen the oppression of my people in Egypt. I have heard their cries of distress because of their harsh slave drivers. Yes, I am aware of their suffering. Now go, for I am sending you to Pharaoh. You must lead my people Israel out of Egypt.” But Moses protested to God, “Who am I to appear before Pharaoh? Who am I to lead the people of Israel out of Egypt?” God answered, “I will be with you. And this is your sign that I am the one who has sent you: When you have brought the people out of Egypt, you will worship God at this very mountain.” But Moses protested, “If I go to the people of Israel and tell them, ‘The God of your ancestors has sent me to you,’ they will ask me, ‘What is his name?’ Then what should I tell them?” God replied to Moses, “ I Am Who I Am . Say this to the people of Israel: I Am has sent me to you.” God also said to Moses, “Say this to the people of Israel: Yahweh, the God of your ancestors—the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob—has sent me to you. This is my eternal name, my name to remember for all generations. “Now go and call together all the elders of Israel. Tell them, ‘Yahweh, the God of your ancestors—the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob—has appeared to me. He told me, “I have been watching closely, and I see how the Egyptians are treating you. I have promised to rescue you from your oppression in Egypt. I will lead you to a land flowing with milk and honey—the land where the Canaanites, Hittites, Amorites, Perizzites, Hivites, and Jebusites now live.”’ “The elders of Israel will accept your message. Then you and the elders must go to the king of Egypt and tell him, ‘The Lord , the God of the Hebrews, has met with us. So please let us take a three-day journey into the wilderness to offer sacrifices to the Lord , our God.’ “But I know that the king of Egypt will not let you go unless a mighty hand forces him. So I will raise my hand and strike the Egyptians, performing all kinds of miracles among them. Then at last he will let you go. And I will cause the Egyptians to look favorably on you. They will give you gifts when you go so you will not leave empty-handed. Every Israelite woman will ask for articles of silver and gold and fine clothing from her Egyptian neighbors and from the foreign women in their houses. You will dress your sons and daughters with these, stripping the Egyptians of their wealth.” Exodus 3:7, 10-22 NLT
Lastly, I would like to say that God is right there with you in your healing journey. He is our Shepherd and we have all we need because He cares for us and He will always provide for us. He never lies and never fails. Before our exodus, we must also come to let our flesh die daily. This means that with God’s grace and prayer, to humble ourselves before God and surrender to Him as well as keep renewing our minds with His word to transform our hearts. We must take time to spend time with God and make sure we keep our prayer altars lit. Let Him guide us and prepare us for each day as well as our deliverance, however that deliverance looks like to God. God is an amazing God and He loves us so!Tannika Nikeya 🙏🏾
There are times anxiety and the issues of life make me forget how big my God is and that He is God Almighty. Sometimes, I am riddled with so much fear and stress that I can feel powerless and lethargic in moving forward. Subsequently, my prayer life and ability to trust Jesus wanes, and I am left unable to see myself as the warrior God sees me as and unable to walk in His authority confidently. I have learned, however, that I don’t have to rely on my own strength to push through. In fact, apart from God I can do nothing. He is my strength. Everywhere I go, He is there. Every concern I have, He cares. Every need I have, He provides. With His armor, I can roar His Word through prayer. I am more than a conqueror and no weapon formed against me shall prosper. Before I present to you my poem, first read these scriptures and be encouraged.
Not that I have already obtained it [this goal of being Christlike] or have already been made perfect, but I actively press on so that I may take hold of that [perfection] for which Christ Jesus took hold of me and made me His own. Brothers and sisters, I do not consider that I have made it my own yet; but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the [heavenly] prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.
Philippians 3:12-14 AMP
For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength.
Philippians 4:13 NLT No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. Romans 8:37 NIV
For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline.
2 Timothy 1:7 NLT
We lose a lot of things along the way in our journeys of life like confidence and hope, and sometimes ourselves. Some of us are fighting to regain our health mentally or physically. Some of us are carrying loads of pain and hiding behind masks, no pun intended. But God! He wants us to heal. He wants us to grow. He wants us to be free. I am so excited to bring to you this Bible Reading Plan titled after my latest book, Bring It To The Surface. So, grab your bible and I pray you allow God to bring some things to the surface so that your healing and recovery can start today. And for those already on your healing journeys, I pray this encourages you to not abandon the process and to seek and trust God one day at a time. It is a five day reading plan and its purpose is to guide you towards seeking God for your healing and recovery. So, welcome and enjoy, and let’s draw near to God who loves us beyond measure.
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I am so excited to introduce to you my new book!!!! I have finally finished it and it is now available in the Kindle Store. The paperback version has been updated and is now available on Amazon. So, please get your copy or your ebook version now. This is my fourth poetry book and this one is different from my others. Watch the video and found out how!
I wrote this poem a couple or few months ago but made a few edits recently. This year has been said to be a horrible year, and we are just five months and six days down. This year started off rough for me and has continued on to be a challenge. In fact these past four years or so have been challenging (I use the word challenging because they were still blessings and I have learned so much). However, I remember when this year had just started a lot of people exclaimed that this would be the year of 2020 vision, clarity, the best year, and so forth. One thing for sure it has definitely been a year of clarity. It is like the curtain is being pushed back. But for me personally, this is another year of learning to trust God, another year of healing, and a year where God is drawing me closer to reprioritize and organize so that He can be first and everything else can fall in its right place. And this is the year for me to understand how to overcome and overcome those things that were draining me as well as distracting me, trying to keep me out of my destiny, and from healing and growing. So, this year is an uncomfortable one for me, and I bet it is uncomfortable for many others but this discomfort is needed. Let God open up our eyes and let God sit us down to have those personal and generational talks with each of us. Be willing and lean on Him for grace to receive His truth and His heart.
I see you trying to be still
Trying to keep joy in the midst of chaos and sinking hill
This world is sick
And all signs point to last days
Some of us are so numb that with every new event we are unfazed
The spirit of deception is
Filling the airwaves and skies
Increasing also corruption and lies
People are dying and life ain’t the same
Coronavirus is spreading and taking lives
And it doesn’t care about your money, fame, or name
The foundation of our land
Is crumbling fast
From the seeds sown today as well as the past
Division and Racism
Pride and ego
Corroding the core of our foundation
Nation against nation
Money and fame are our gods
Fear and emotional disarray
Increasing every day
Everybody wants their own way
Envy and lust for power
The enemy comes to steal, kill, and destroy
he shows up to work every day ready to devour
The fatherless and the widow, not to mention those whose hope is shrinking
And everyone in between
Authenticity of Identity and Empathy has left the scene
Some of our love for others and ourselves are sour
And some of us trying to find our voice and not cower
There is little respect and more destruction of the Black flower
Fighting to survive every hour
Police corruption and racial bias
My skin is a threat
No empathy or sympathy for me
They would say I deserved my death
And pent up pain in our hearts
Many of our youth are lost
We must save our children
And receive the abundant life
But some of us are afraid to take up our cross and count the cost
Dreams and destinies fill the grave
Anxiety and depression are soaring
We have a lot of Elijahs hiding in the cave
Fear of persecution
Fear of being alone
We are living in times where wrong is right and right is wrong
We are drowning in despair
Reaching for someone to stop and truly care
We are starving for integrity,
Humility, and real love
And needing answers that only God can supply from above
I was an Art & Design major in college before I changed to English. It was during this time I learned about still life. I remember eying a bowl of fruit neatly propped up on its stand trying to capture its essence, simplicity, beauty, and shadows.
A Still Life is a work of art, particularly a painting or drawing, displaying objects such as flowers, fruit, a vase, a skull, etc. These tangible objects are still and lifeless but express liveliness and simplicity in its form of art.
Thinking of ideas for poems, my experience with this work of art would later lead me to the following title, When A Still Life Moves. What happens when a still life moves and what or who gives it the life it needs to no longer be still?
Jesus is our life giver. If the same power that raised Him from death lies within every believer, then we too have been raised and positioned with Him. We are no longer the still lives. We have been enabled to move and fulfill our destinies as one and as individuals.
Read When A Still Life Moves from my first book, Setting The Captive Free.
When a Still Life moves,
God’s work of art no longer stands still
It is revived and alive to the touch
Its spirit, you can feel.
It is lifted and free
Motivated and able to breathe
It is patient and knows when to yield
For it has learned to be still.
When a Still Life moves,
It enters a new season
It has discovered its purpose
And embraced the Creator’s reason.
It changes the nature of the picture
Its colors become richer.
When a Still Life moves,
It gives a new meaning to the space it occupies
It is not limited or bound to one site.
It follows its heart and allows its imaginations to take flight
A Still Life begins to move with time
And can no longer be simply defined.
It moves past the fears and the doubts
It perseveres and knows what it is about
The light doesn’t just shine upon it but through it
And it attracts Life to it.
When a Still Life moves,
Its laughter is like a bouquet of joy
Its smile is like a child who is fixed upon a new toy