You can go to bed without fear; you will lie down and sleep soundly. You need not be afraid of sudden disaster or the destruction that comes upon the wicked, for the Lord is your security. He will keep your foot from being caught in a trap. Proverbs 3:24-26
Modeling “no fear” for your kids is a tall order in today’s world when were are reminded daily of so many reasons why we should be afraid: stranger danger, diseases, accidents, economic woes, moral decay, terrorism, and the list goes on and on.
As my kids grew up, it seemed every stage of their lives brought new fears. I would no sooner rejoice in getting past one fear when I’d be smacked in the face with another. Moms especially are good at imagining their worst fear coming true.
I will admit that I’ve struggled a lot with fears. It’s been a lifelong battle to trust my family and all our needs to the Lord.
I don’t think, however, that trying to convince our kids that we are fearless is really the answer. Fear is an emotion, just like anger and sadness–therefore it’s not a sin in and of itself. However, it can drive us to do things that dishonor God.
I believe that instead of denying our fears, we must show our kids how to deal with them.
Here’s what I do when I’m afraid:
- Pray, of course. This is a given. But sad to say, many of us let panic take over instead of voicing our fears to our Heavenly Father. You can rant; He’s strong enough to handle it.
- Repeat my “mantra.” The wallpaper on my phone is my instant reminder that God’s got everything under control. It says, “My child, you worry too much. I’ve got this, remember? Love God.” I can’t tell you how many times I’ve turned on my phone to read it, how many tears I’ve cried in the shower while saying that over and over to myself. Do you have a special verse or saying that hits the spot when you feel fear? If not, find one and post it where you can see it often. Memorize it and when you start to panic, make yourself turn to that “mantra” as a reminder to trust Your Father.
- Sing praises. Turn your mind to Jesus by listening to worship. Sometimes, when you can’t even form the words or you’re just emotionally worn out and can’t pray, turn your eyes to Jesus and let Him do the rest.
- Imagine the worst. My big brother once told me, when I was struggling with a fear, to imagine the worst thing that could happen and then ask myself, “what would I do then?” Sometimes facing the worst fear and knowing that God will get you through that, if it ever happened, will give you strength to face today without dwelling on fears about tomorrow.
Don’t Get Trapped
The last part of the Proverbs passage quoted above says, He will keep your foot from being caught in a trap. Does this mean that you will never be in a tight spot or a fearful situation? I don’t think the Lord ever guarantees that. What the writer means here is that God will help you not get caught in the snares of sin, temptation, and mischief; in those which Satan and the world lay for God’s people; from these the Lord preserves them. (Gill’s Exposition of the Entire Bible)
In other words, whether our fears are real or imagined, God wants to be sure that those feelings of fear don’t become an invitation for Satan–the Evil One–to trap us and cause us to sin.
When you face fears, seek God’s help to parent through your fears in a way that points your kids to their Heavenly Father.
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