This one is mostly for my sisters in Christ. If you aren’t a sister in Christ, you can look away, and I promise you won’t miss anything. But you can read, too, if you want. I’m okay either way.
Here’s the thing on fear: Y’all gotta stop it.
Stop letting your decisions revolve around fear.
Stop crusading based on fear.
Stop equating discomfort with the a warning from the Spirit or an answer to prayer.
We are not given a spirit of fear. Good gravy, girlfriend. You have the God of the Universe on your side. What’s the worst that can happen?? Sure, it’s not pleasant, but you know Who’s on your side! Or do you distrust that HE IS WHO HE SAYS HE IS?
I see so many people–yes, mostly women, and yes, mostly moms–making decisions based on fear.
I see moms who won’t let their kids go camping out of cell phone range because “what if something happens?” You know what’s going to happen out of cell phone range? ALL THE COOL STUFF!!
I see moms who won’t let their kids go camping without mom or dad. Mama, do you know how much I would give to be let off the hook for a campout or two so my girls could go without me? So that they could benefit from the teaching of other trusted adults? Sometimes you have to let other adults into your kids’ lives to give them a perspective you can’t give. Because here’s a truth: Your kids aren’t you, and when you let other adults into their lives, they get to meet adults who are LIKE THEM and can give them advice that–gasp–you can’t give. And they can’t do that when you are hover-momming them to death.
Good gravy, I see so much fear–fear of guns, fear of leaving the kids home alone, fear of letting kids be around adults of the opposite gender, fear of the smell of an old house (what if it’s black mold?) or a dirty carpet, fear of what the schools might teach (what about the shallow theology of your trusted Sunday school program?) or fear of letting the kids take a walk alone or fear of letting the kids drive alone or…
Stop. Just stop.
Take a deep breath.
You have to remember a few things.
1. If you really believe what you say you believe, then you were not given a spirit of fear. You were given a spirit of victory. Act like it.
2. You were given a mind. Use it. Afraid of guns? Learn how to use one. Demystify it. Afraid of adults you don’t know? Get to know them. Face the thing you fear and remove the fear.
3. Sometimes the thing you fear is not really the thing you fear. Figure out what you’re really afraid of. Maybe you aren’t really afraid of letting your child go off alone. Maybe you’re afraid of being out of the control seat. That’s your issue, love, not your child’s issue.
4. Your kids are not your own. If you are a follower of Christ, your life is not your own, and neither are your kids, and neither are their lives THEIR own. You were bought with a price. They were bought with a price. Jesus may not lead them to comfortable, easy things. In fact, He’s promised that following Him will be profoundly UNCOMFORTABLE. Read Matthew 10. But as my bestie is fond of saying, “God doesn’t have grandchildren.” She’s right. God only has children. He may not let your kids lead comfortable, easy lives, but nothing He leads them to is anything He can’t handle. Oh sure, THEY may not be able to handle it, but that’s kind of the point. They need to lean on HIM.
Sister, I love you dearly, but you’re driving me crazy. Let go. Let your darlings breathe. Give them space. Allow other adults, other experiences into their lives. They need those things. Evaluating risk is how kids develop their frontal cortex. Let them do that, or you will end up with 25-year-old boomerang children.
I’ll come clean. Despite my previous words, I’ve had fear. Lots of it. I still have fear. Ask me in person how I feel about sending Bloodbonded to beta readers and see how fast I pick up my knitting. It’s terrifying. Ask me how many rows I knitted when the eldest took the car and two siblings to drop them all off and go to his thing at night for the first time. Ask me. Yeah. It was nerve-wracking.
And I’m not one of those to completely eschew fear. I think fear is a design feature. It’s intended to activate that part of our brains that says, “Danger, Will Robinson!” That’s a good thing. Otherwise, we’d all be crossing busy highways and playing with fire in unhealthy ways.
So I get it. I get that we want our darlings to be comfortable and safe and whole and untarnished by the world. But Jesus did not call us to a safe, comfortable life. He called us to a useful life. And when we hover-mom our babies, they never get a chance to develop those little skills that will go into the whole big package that turns them into productive workers in God’s kingdom.
I think a lot of us have ended up with an overactive fear gland. We need to learn to say, “you know what, Fear? I think this one might be something I need to check out a little further before I listen to you.”
Ask yourself what you’re really afraid of. Is it something you can demystify? Something you can research and clarify? Would solid, intellectually honest research alleviate your fears? (Hint: The answer is probably yes.)
Fears not alleviated? Maybe you need some hands-on research. Take action. Sometimes the action itself will alleviate the fear.
If you’re still fearful, turn it over to Jesus. I’m not kidding about that “spirit of fear” thing. Think about it. You accepted the forgiveness offered by Jesus, and He gave you the Holy Spirit. HE GAVE YOU ONE THIRD OF THE TRINITY. And you’re afraid??
Do you really believe what you say you believe?
I am not advocating willful abandon of all caution. Please, be cautious. But evaluate. Think. Consider. Be rational. And turn it over to the One Who is victorious over the grave.
I think He’s probably got this one.