Do you worry about your children? I used to tease my mom for being a “worry-wart” because she would fret and fuss and get herself all up in a tizzy for the smallest of things, particularly when they involved me - an only child. Boy, did that come back to bite me! Being a mom of three, I have the potential to be three times the worrier she ever was - and have been. In fact, I have spiraled into full-blown panic attacks at times, something I don’t think she ever dealt with. Sometimes I desperately wish she were still alive so I could apologize for being so insensitive, to let her know I “get it” and to tell her what an amazing mom she was to have kept it together for all of those years!
Shortly after she died, I came across a journal she had been keeping that included prayers for me during a particularly turbulent time in my life (the teenage years…need I say more?). Her journaling style wasn’t like mine, long-winded and wordy. She was concise, and to the point. But it was obvious she had poured the anxiety from her heart into God’s hands by writing them down on that page. I’m sure if I’d looked more closely, I might have seen some tear stains on the pages. And now, I can totally relate.
So back to you. Are you a “worry-wart” like me and like my mom? When your child has an issue, do you project all the worst-case scenarios this problem could cause him in the future? Do you become aware of a key life skill or habit you’ve neglected in her life and become convinced you’ve ruined her? Do you compare your children to others and fear they’re not measuring up, or that you’re inadequate as a parent?
Join the club.
But I’m not here to gather company so we can all wallow in our misery together. I’m here so together, with God’s help, we can move out of the muck and mire of being worriers onto the solid ground of being warriors.
“He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand.” ~ Psalm 40:2 (NIV)
I’m going to break it down into three easy steps we can all take each and every time we feel worry begin to gain a foothold in our lives, particularly in the area of our children:
1. Name the Worry
To keep worry vague or hidden, or to put on a mask so you look like you “have it all together” (which is in quotes because there’s no such thing) fuels worry. It gives Satan an opportunity to work in the dark, which is what he loves best.
If you’re concerned for your child, you need to think through, and ideally write down the nature of the worry. But don’t stop at “I’m worried because my son is failing math.” Dig deeper. Ask yourself:
What is the root of that worry, and what are the branches that spring out of it?
Are you afraid your son has an undiagnosed learning disability? Do you feel guilty for not helping him more with homework, or because you’ve over-scheduled him with extracurricular activities? Is this a sudden development that you’re afraid might signal emotional or mental health issues? Are you afraid that now your dreams for him following in your footsteps of being a math major in college, or his chances of maintaining participation in his favorite sport are shot? Because the root of your worry, and the worries that branch off from the worry can help you clarify the problems and open your mind to potential solutions, paving the way for the next steps to be even more effective and targeted.
2. Give the Worry to God
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” ~Philippians 4:6-7 (NIV)
I actually tried to find a different Bible passage to use here because I feel like this one is used so often…but it’s so good. So perfect for the occasion. Step 2 in the process of moving from worrier to warrior is to give the worry to God. All of it. Your root worry, the branches of worry that spring off of it, and everything in between.
I think the best way to do this is on paper, but maybe you want to speak it out loud, or simply think it. You might even want to do something symbolic like write it on paper and tear it up or burn it after you pray it over to God. But however you do it, there is power in acknowledging God as the bearer of our burdens - and taking him up on the offer!
Another thing this passage mentions is thanksgiving. I think this is another important part of the prayer process. We need to place the worry in God’s hands, and give him thanks for who he is, and his care and involvement in the lives of our children. If you’re brave, you can even thank him for whatever situation you’ve been worrying about, welcoming God’s mighty hand to bring about good in the life of your child and others through it, even if the situation itself seems “bad”. God is out for the ultimate good of our children, and promises to work in all things to that end.
“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” ~ Romans 8:28 (NIV)
3. Be the Warrior
You’re already a warrior, whether you acknowledge it or not. This is where you walk in it.
As a parent, grandparent or caregiver, you’ve been given the authority to intercede with power and authority on behalf of your child. When you pray, unspeakable power is unleashed in the heavenlies and reality is affected, whether you perceive it or not.
Take the worries you’ve given over to God and spin them into positive statements, prayers, and verses to pray over your child. If we take the math example, you can pray that God would give your child a clear mind. That he would grow the fruit of patience and the character trait of perseverance through trial in him to allow him to succeed at math. That God would give you wisdom to know what steps to take to help your child, whether it be a tutor, personal help, evaluations, etc.
You can pray with your child as well, maybe together you can choose a verse to print out and place in his math binder, or to pray before school or homework each day, like Colossians 3:23:
Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters ~ Colossians 3:23 (NIV)
Some battles for our children are private, not to be shared with our kids. But they can still know you’re praying for them in a general sense, and saying a prayer or blessing over them each morning or before they go to bed can be a powerful way of wielding the weapon of prayer in a way they can see.
I don’t know about you, but I’m fired up and ready to trade in my “worrier” status for WARRIOR status! If you haven’t already, we would love for you to join the Praying Christian Women Community on Facebook, where we’ve begun “30 Days of Prayer for Your Children,” a free video series where we pray together for our children every single day for 30 days! All you have to do is sign up for our private Facebook group and we will get you approved ASAP!
What about you? Do you have your own tried and true methods of moving from worrier to warrior? We’d love to know in the comments!