We don’t worry about our children. That may sound strange, or even ridiculous! Most parents will tell you, worrying about your kids just comes with the territory. Before we had children, people told me I would never get a good night’s sleep again – for worrying about what could go wrong with my children. I’ve been told by my parents (and you may have heard something similar from yours, or even said these words yourself), “We worry about you because we love you.” That is true. They love you so much that they are afraid of something bad happening to you. They are afraid they could lose you, or that you might fail at something, or suffer in some way. No one wants any bad thing to happen to anyone whom they love. That’s good, right? That’s totally normal, right? Yes, of course.
Now, let me just preface what I’m about to say with this: my husband and I are by no means perfect parents. If anyone said we thought that we were, I would laugh. We second guess ourselves, we lose our tempers, we say things we shouldn’t, we let them eat junk, watch too much TV, and at times, we do worry about some things. But worry is not something that we accept. It’s not “normal” for us. It’s not just the way things are because we are parents, and because we love our kids. In fact, because we love our children, we don’t worry about them. Let me explain to you what I mean.
Usually we feel justified in our worry. “Well, the world is a very bad place,” we tell ourselves. “We are just being smart! We are being cautious and safe.” No, you’re actually not. You are doing nothing when you worry, except…worrying. Worrying accomplishes nothing but creating more fear and trepidation in your heart. Worry stems from one thing and one thing only, and it isn’t love. It’s false evidence appearing real. Or, FEAR. Let me give you two scriptures that reinforce this truth: 1 John 4:18, “There is no fear in love.” And 2 Timothy 1:7, “God did not give me a spirit of fear, but of power, love, and a sound mind.” So think about this: if God didn’t give me a spirit of fear, then who did? There’s a fairly simple answer and you probably know it. The enemy of our souls (Satan) is the author of fear in our hearts. You’ve probably heard it said before that fear and trust cannot co exist. If you have faith in God and you trust him like he asks us to, there is no room for worry in your heart or in your mind. None.
So what are we to do then? Throw caution to the wind? Let our children do whatever they want with no “fear” of the consequences? No. That would be foolish! Just because we don’t worry doesn’t mean that we don’t use common sense. The difference is that it ends there. I don’t allow my babies out of my sight when I am in public with them. Why not? It wouldn’t be safe for them. They could get into something they shouldn’t, something that could hurt them, or every parent’s worst fear, someone could snatch them away from me forever. But do I sit up at night thinking of all these possibilities or jumping to the worst possible conclusions when they might disappear from my sight for a moment? Not at all! The moment one of those awful thoughts gets placed into my mind by the enemy, my weapon of choice is 2 Corinthians 10:5,”We take captive every thought and make it obedient to Christ.” I literally speak either out loud or in my mind, “I take that thought captive to you, Lord.” Out of the habit of giving those thoughts over to God, and not letting my mind entertain them, many times I don’t have those thoughts at all.
This is not something you can change overnight. It’s a daily discipline, that will gradually become more second nature. We don’t always succeed as we are still works in progress too. But I do believe that more times than not, we are able to hand those worries over to God. And we haven’t reached those wonderful teen years yet, where I’m sure our faith will be put to the test. But we DO have the tools in our arsenal to put to good use when times of testing are presented to us.
The most encouraging thing, as a parent, is to realize that God is not just mine. He’s my children’s God as well and has been from the time he knit them together in the womb. He has a plan for their lives that I could never begin to understand, until I watch it unfold. How can I let my fear and uncertainties, limit my children from becoming all God has called them to be? I refuse to pass on my own fears or worries to my children. I want them to grow up as fearless as possible, being confident in who they are and what they are capable of becoming. The only way that can happen is by my example.
You may still be saying to yourself, well, I’m just a worrier! I can’t change it. Stay that way if you must, but I want you to know that you don’t have to. It is possible to live a life free from worry and fear. And it is a life of freedom indeed.