Do you parent out of fear?

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Our days, quite honestly, have been a little weird. With the ushering in of The List that I told you about early last week, I’ve felt a little upside down. I mean, it’s been good (for me) to have the kids be busy with things we see is best for them, like reading and playing outside and all that jazz. And we’ve certainly been busy doing other things like swimming and sweating, goodness knows.

But I’m starting to wonder if it isn’t making them hate doing those things instead of what I had hoped for, which would be that they’d enjoy those things, obviously.

I wonder if the regimenting of life has actually produced more desire for screen time instead of less, and I’m debating in my mind whether we should adjust it. I mean, I still want them to do those things, but maybe it should be more of a guideline for the day instead of a “do this first and then you can have screen time.”

Ah, who the heck knows.

Can I get an amen out there that this parenting thing is a series of back and forth, of trying new things and then wondering what in the world you were thinking, of feeling good about your decisions one moment and then doubting everything the rest of the time?

Or maybe it’s just me.

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I find myself sweating the small stuff and worrying about screen time and my kids not being outside enough and whether or not they’ve eaten their allotted amount of fruit for the day, and worry, worry, worry–it amounts to just worry.

That’s not what God wants for us to be as parents, right? And the question that’s rolling around in my head is, “Are you parenting out of fear?” and the answer, most days, is yes.

You may not be like me, but think about it, what is the reason behind the decisions you make for your kids? If I get underneath all of the rules and regulations, all of the systems I put in place, all of my worrisome thoughts in the depths of my heart, I find my soul shaking with fear.

Fear in my parenting can look a million different ways, but I know it’s there. I know I fear things and I know I fear not being in control. I fear my kids will repeat mistakes I’ve made or bad thinking I’ve had, I fear for their safety, I fear for their own choices, I fear they will (oh my word) have a different opinion than me.

I fear they will grow up to hate church, or worse, to hate God.

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I find myself just wanting to relax. I want to relax into God Himself, into knowing that He is at work, He’s got this! I want to rest and lean into the knowledge that He can take a million parental fails and make something beautiful out of it.

I see that there’s fear in my heart, even though sometimes it’s vague, and I want with all of my heart to thrust it into the hands of God and let it go, for lack of a better phrase.

Do you struggle with parenting out of fear? Fear of anything? How can we take this fearfulness and turn it into trust, trust in God and His complete control of all things?

While I wish I had a pat answer, an easy solution for dissolving all your and my parenting fears, this is all I’ve got:

Pray.

Let’s pray our hearts out. Let’s squeeze all of our internal fear into a sonnet to the Lord–pouring out hearts out to Him and letting Him handle it. So often, just speaking something into the light, straight to the Light Himself brings a surreal amount of peace that surpasses our finite understanding. Pray for your kids, pray for yourself, pray out your fears, the exact dumb things you’re afraid of, laying it down at His feet and leaving it there. Again, and again, and again.

Trust.

As we saturate our minds and hearts with God’s Word, trust it. Trust that it is true, that He means what He says, and that He’s got the whole world in His hands. Trust that your kids are in His hands, and just as He’s carving out your own personal story, He’s craving out there’s. Trust Him to do the work in their hearts and release that feeling that you have some control over their hearts. Trust.

We’re forging through this parenting thing. We’re doing the best we can, always seeking to do better, hoping for amazing things for each of our kids.

But when days are filled with the worry and what if questions and the parental doubts, we must lay it out before Him and lean into Him.

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  • Miranda

    This is so good and always a needed reminder! And it’s an odd, at times uncomfortable thing to fight for faith and work at trusing the Lord with our kids but I want the joy and laughter and lightness I know follows such trust. When it all hinges on me and I’m naval gazing, evaluating to a fault I am heavy! And my kids can tell. I read something by Martyn Lloyd-Jones this week speaking of faith being “a refusing to panic…it is unbelief kept quiet, kept down”. I like to think on how that applies to my worries in regard to parenting. Faith is more than that but not less and I like that image! Thanks for your honesty here 🙂