I have a problem with snakes (even typing it makes my skin crawl) and occasionally get freaked out being home alone, but by the grace of God, I have not really struggled with fear as an overarching problem in my daily life.
A couple of weeks ago, however, I started to realize that fear has crept into my decision making as a parent. I am a self-professed protective parent (five point harness cars seats until age 8, ahem), but physical safety issues aren't even the real issue.
I realized that fear was a struggle for me as I asked God to show me why I was overreacting to certain character traits in my children's lives. Specifically, as my husband and I have been struggling through a temper issue with one of our offspring, I have found myself tied up in knots. Our issue is not out of control, so my worry and concern has felt oddly disproportionate to reality. As I have prayed, I have realized that my real focus is not on the present situation, but on my fears over its future implications.
Several nights ago when I was on the floor of said child's room after a particularly upsetting outburst, I found myself praying (silently) that he wouldn't end up in prison. I realized the next morning, as I was still chewing through my emotions, that I am the one in prison. I have allowed fear to be my captor and I am increasingly making disciplinary/corrective decisions based not on the current day reality of the age-appropriateness of a behavior, but out of my anxiety over where it may lead in 10-15 years.
God has been reminding me that there is A LOT of story remaining to be written in my children's lives--and He is holding the pen. My role is to parent from a place of faith in the Author as opposed to a place of fear of the unknown future.
Just the realization has already begun to make a difference. I have started to ask myself: Where am I turning when I need an answer? Obsessive thinking, talking, book or parenting discussion board reading or praying? There is nothing wrong with any of those things--but how much time am I devoting to each resource and in which order?
It has been especially humbling to consider the ramifications in other parts of my life. It extends beyond parenting. In my marriage, in my friendships, in my finances, in my ministry...am I making decisions based on my anxiety or from a place of His peace?
I am discovering that my answer varies greatly based on the moment and the circumstance. I am praying for more faith, more peace and more consistency. I feel so often like Peter...overwhelmed by what my rational mind tells me is likely, rather than keeping my eyes fixed on my Savior as He beckons me to trust, to step out of the boat and to come to Him.
I don't just want to write or say that I trust the Lord--I want to live it. Father, help it become true in my life...faith, not fear.