Maybe it’s just me, but it seems like worry and parenting come hand in hand into your life. It begins with the strange sensation that if you don’t watch carefully, that new little bundle of joy might not breathe. Pretty quickly most first time parents learn to control this original fear.
As your child grows the fear and worries just seem to change with your child. “Will my child ever sleep through the night?” “What if he never learns to use the potty?” “Will she always need a nightlight?” “Are they in the right school?” The list may vary from parent to parent, but it seems we all worry at some point.
We have all heard how worry can damage our health and cause us to become the ever dreaded helicopter parent. It can turn the sweetest parent into a micro-managing tyrant. If nothing else, it seems to rob us of those precious hours of sleep.
We can’t stop those thoughts from popping into our heads, but we can stop them from taking over our lives. If your worries and anxieties are truly damaging your life, you may want to seek professional help. If however, like me, yours is the more garden variety occasional parental anxiety, these tips may help you move past your worries more quickly.
- Pray – Yes, that is the first thing most of us do anyway. The next time you take a worry to God though, I want you to have a full conversation with Him. Don’t just say “Please help xyz not happen”, but explain to God why that worries you. Ask God to help not just with the situation but also with your anxiety over the topic. Don’t waste time bargaining with God. Instead spend that time sharing everything that is on your mind about the topic – good, bad and even ugly. A quick reading of Psalms will reassure you God can handle it.
- Read Psalms – There are lots of great scriptures about trusting God and His protection of us. For me though, there is something about Psalms that soothes the soul when I am anxious. Many of the writers wrote the Psalms when they were going through difficult times. Reading their thoughts will make you feel less alone and more connected to God and His love for you and your children.
- Have a reality check – A man I knew said worrying is a waste of time. Most of the things we worry about never come to pass or aren’t nearly as bad as we thought they would be. If one of our terrible worries does come to pass, he reasoned, then you have to live through it multiple times – every time you visualize the awful possibility and then the actual event. Sometimes just reminding yourself most worries never come true, will help you push those thoughts away.
- Philippians 4:8 your life – Are you watching a lot of dark movies and shows? Are you watching terrible news events 24/7? Are you listening to depressing music or reading violent books? All of those dark things can put your mind in a place where it is easy for your fleeting worries to become deeply rooted. Follow the advice in Philippians 4:8. Spend your leisure time surrounded by things that are beautiful, that bring you joy, that are pure and light. You may just find your mind lifts out of that dark place and your worries vanish in the bright light of Philippians living.
- Just say “No” – Sometimes banishing worry is as simple as realizing your mind is beginning to worry, telling it “no” and then forcing your brain to focus on another topic. Some people call that denial, but frankly in the case of worry, it can be a very good thing.
Don’t let parental worries rob you of the joy of raising your precious little ones. Do what you need to do to keep the anxieties from taking control of your mind. You and your children will be much happier and healthier. “God won’t give you more than you can handle” is not in the Bible, but He will be with us if we allow Him to be. With God by your side, you may be astonished at what you can handle.