By Sabrina Schlesinger
I have ALWAYS had a vivid imagination! I have the ability to see things in full technicolor before they ever happen.....or most of the time, never happen. :)
As a visionary and creative person, this is a great strength! But on the flip side, this has led to a lifelong battle with worry and anxiety, which only intensified when I started having kids.
I don't know if and when this will no longer be an issue I have to take on....because as long as I have kids, and people I love in this life, I think there will always be a part of me that struggles with this, but I have found a few things that have helped me immensely, and of course, I want to share them with you, especially when it comes to parenting.
1. I must guard my thoughts.
My husband has said this often..."You may not be able to stop the birds from landing on your head, but you can stop them from building a nest there!"
What he is saying is, there are going to be hundreds, if not thousands of thoughts that fly into our brains every day. We may not be able to control the onslaught of worrysome thoughts that come our way, especially if you watch the news for any length of time, but we can control what we dwell on and stew in.
I have had to make a huge effort to NOT make decisions for my kids based out of fear. And believe me...I want to...all of the time! I am constantly checking myself to see what my motive is behind my "no". If it is fear-based, then I readjust. This isn't just fear of them getting physically hurt or dying, but also fears of them making mistakes that I can't fix, getting into trouble, or teased and getting their feelings hurt. I have an amazing husband who really helps me keep this area in check.
The Bible has a great scripture that helps me. In Philippians 4:8 (NKJV) it says,
“Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things.”
Meditate means to regurgitate and chew on over and over again. When I choose to dwell on these things, worry flies out the window!
2. I must be convinced that God is the BEST Father!
In order for me to cease from worry, I have to trust! And in order for me to trust, I have to be convinced that you are trustworthy.
This doesn't mean that bad things don't happen. I wish I could promise that. Being a Christian doesn't guarantee us a pain-free life either. Jesus speaks to this in John 16:33 (NLT) when He said,
“...Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.”
There is something profound that happens inside of us when we are convinced that God is the best Father, who only wants good things for His children. It brings a trust so deep that it releases our worry, fear and anxiety, and brings a peace that surpasses all of our understanding. Our circumstances may not change, the storms may still rage on, but in the midst of the storm we have a good Father who has His grip on us. He comforts us when we are broken and scared, He strengthens us when we are weak, and He heals us when we are wounded.
I would much rather go through life knowing I have a good Father in Heaven standing alongside of me then braving the storms of life on my own.
“You will keep him in perfect peace, Whose mind is stayed on You, Because he trusts in You.” Isaiah 26:3 NKJV
3. I must remember God loves my kids more than me!
Here is the biggy for me! This is the toughest pill to swallow and yet the one that brings me the MOST freedom when it comes to my kids.
He loves them....more than me! Period! They are actually His kids...not mine. I am stewarding these little souls while I have them here on earth, for as long, or as little 😔 as that may be. My greatest role is to love them, and introduce them to the love of their Heavenly Father. What an honor!!!! And at the same time....Holy Cow, how scary is that!
Knowing these children are His and not mine allows me to loosen the white-knuckle grip I can have on them. This doesn't mean that I don't do everything I need too to protect them and provide for them, but it does mean that I don't have to live in fear and worry of what may or may not happen to them because ultimately...they aren't mine.
When I have this mindset, it makes me grateful for every moment I get to be their mom on this earth. It allows me to cherish the seasons of life with them, knowing that if God allows them to be brought home to Him before I want, I can know I did my part in caring, teaching, instructing, and loving His beloved child.
Even as I write this, it makes me tear up. Because I know life can't give me any guaranteees...as many of you have experienced. I used to let that thought terrify me, but now I let that thought motivate me to make the most out of the time I do have with my kids.
I was not created to carry worry and anxiety, and when I do, my body reminds me of that. Panic attacks, headaches, and ulcers are just a few ways our bodies communicates to us that we were not created to carry such things. But we have Someone who is!
“Leave all your worries with Him, because He cares for you.” 1 Peter 5:7 GNB
Leave them with Jesus daily. It may be an every minute hand off at the start, especially if you are anything like me...a chronic worrier. But as you get in the habit of taking your worries to Him, you will begin to worry less!
So cheers to a worry-free life my friends! Let's live in this freedom together.
Love + Blessings,