We take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.
2 Corinthians 10:5
A week before my son started first grade, he was diagnosed with juvenile diabetes. On top of a new school, new classmates, new routine, my son would now have to deal with a new disease.
He transitioned well. Me? Well, not so much. I researched. I learned to give insulin shots. I notified teachers and students. I personally packed his lunches, a huge factor in controlling diabetes—but I still worried.
Worry and parenting seem to go hand in hand. There’s always something that’s on our mind. Will they have good teachers at school? Will they make good friends? And how on earth am I going to pay for all those school activities?!
The REAL reason parents worry
Most parents worry because they’re “doers.” After all, no problem was ever solved by inaction. Worrying gives you the false impression that you’re accomplishing something. So you turn over a situation in your mind. You examine it from every angle.
The hope? You might come up with… a) a solution to a problem, b) a hole you might have missed in otherwise well-laid plans, or c) an answer to why what you did plan fell so miserably short of what you’d hoped. Your brain is constantly on the go.
And of course all that “busyness” gives the illusion of being in control. Never mind that worrying doesn’t really doesn’t influence the outcome of anything.
Here’s the problem:
Worry is about work. Faith is about rest.
Worry is all about control. Faith is all about surrender.
I can’t tell you how many times God has proven he can take care of my son in ways that have nothing to do with me. Even when I overlook something. Even when someone else makes a mistake.
The first day our son rode the bus home from school, the bus driver failed to stop in our neighborhood. Davis was too shy to speak up so he kept riding the bus.
Meanwhile, my husband and I were waiting for him to walk in the door. No one showed up. We called the school who called the bus company. They couldn’t confirm where he was either. I was out-of-my mind worried.
A buddy on the bus told Davis, “Hey, you’d better get off or you’ll just get farther from home.” So he got off at the next stop and walked the mile home. By the time he walked in the door, his blood sugar was starting to slide downward. But he was safe and he was home.
One time God clearly reassured me, “I’m watching over Davis with singing, Carol.” It’s not something he had to do but wanted to do.
Two proven strategies to combat worry
Parenting has challenged me to trust God like no other area. I’m far from perfect but I’ve had success. And the biggest successes have come when these two strategies for worry free parenting are put to work.
The downward spiral of worry—you know, the knot you get in your stomach that keeps you from eating or sleeping—begins in the mind. It’s the most important battlefield you’ll ever fight on. That’s where both of these strategies begin.
1. “Walk the dogs”
Capture Thoughts – I call this first strategy “walking the dogs.” Like a bunch of dogs on a leash, our thoughts strain to scurry and scatter in every direction.
“But what if…”
“I should have done more…”
“If only I had…”
“Something bad is going to happen.”
Instead of letting them scatter, rein in thoughts that say anything different than what God does. Teach those ornery thoughts to be obedient then think on what’s true. “God loves my daughter more than I do.” “He hears my prayers.” “I can trust Him.” “I don’t need to be afraid of bad things happening.” That’s the whole point of Philippians 4:8.
2. Hit the activate button
Activate gratefulness – It works! Remind yourself of the good that God has done. Put thankfulness into action. Sometimes I actually sit down and starting writing out things I’m thankful for. I’ve got a treasure box with slips of paper on which I’ve written the very cool things God has done for our family.
I also remind myself that I can “Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever” (Psalm 106:1, italics added). That’s the best reason to for hitting the activate button.
These strategies work! They’re a whole lot healthier for your brain and your body than the worry God always intended for you to leave behind. And most importantly, they boost your confidence in Him.