How I Learned to Stop Being so Afraid – Encouragement for Today – January 31, 2018

Alli Worthington

January 31, 2018
How I Learned to Stop Being so Afraid

"Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be." Psalm 139:16 (NIV)

I leaned up against the closed door, grateful I'd waited until he said goodbye before I let those first few tears fall. How did we get here so quickly?

We moved my eldest son into his college dorm recently, and let me tell you, it triggered some serious "mom-fear" in me. It seemed like only yesterday I was obsessing over baby milestones and cutting grapes in quarters, and now here he was, living on his own.

The fear that something bad will happen and the anxiety we can't protect them from harm is enough to turn the most confident mom into a big pile of raw nerves. We play out a million what-ifs in our head from the time we learn we're pregnant. (And let's face it - even if we don't have kids, it's easy to second-guess ourselves!)

If pregnancy and infancy don't leave us curled up in the fetal position out of fear, then we have to will ourselves to survive the fears of the toddler years.

Then it's on to the school years and beyond where we fear they will join the wrong crowd, make bad decisions, text and drive, fall in love with the wrong person, etc.

Wouldn't it be great if the Bible had a whole book devoted to parenting our little angels, especially on those days when we feel like our fears might overtake us?

The hypothetical Parenting 2:14 could tell us if we really need to feed our babies organic, hand-mashed baby food.

Parenting 4:3 would explain the exact amount of screen time for a 3-year-old.

I'd really love the reassurance in Parenting 35:7 that says when your children act like heathens it's totally not your fault. But when they're angels, you receive all the credit. Amen!

But we know the Bible isn't written like that. Although God didn't give us a step-by-step manual, He did give us some pretty solid basics, backed up with the incredible guidance of the Holy Spirit.

So how do we use those solid basics and the guidance of the Holy Spirit when fear overwhelms us?

Here are three ways I learned how to stop being so afraid all the time:

Decide if the Fear is Real or Perceived
When I am freaked out, I ask myself, "Is this something that's likely to happen, or is this something I've allowed fear to create in my mind?"

If it's real, I have to be wise and make a good plan, then rest in the comfort I can trust God. If it's not real, I say, "Alli, this isn't real," then pray and release the fear to God.

Don't Feed Fear
Through the years I've learned not to Google every illness, or allow myself to be influenced by particularly anxious friends. And, I've learned not to talk (too much) about my fears, because sometimes the more I talk about them the worse they get.

Lean on Battle Buddies
I have a few friends who listen to my fears and encourage me when I need it, while helping me gain perspective and pointing me back to Jesus.

It's easy to love our children so much that we forget we didn't create them. God did. Psalm 139:13,16 reminds us, "For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb ... Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be."

We don't have to fear what will happen to our children because God has ordained the whole of their lives.

All we have to do for our children is love them, guide them and trust the One who loves them even more than we do.

God's care for our children is always better than our control.

Lord, thank You for the comfort that comes from knowing You are in control of the world, including the lives of my children. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

1 John 4:18, "There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love." (NIV)

Watch for Alli Worthington's newest book, Fierce Faith: A Woman's Guide to Fighting Fear, Wrestling Worry, and Overcoming Anxiety, which just released last week. If you've ever wondered, If perfect love casts out fear, why am I still scared? or asked yourself, Do I just not have enough faith? Is that why I’m so worried? ... then this book is for you. The secret to overcoming the worries that hold us back is combining the truth of Scripture with practical action steps. Fierce Faith will give you the exact steps to take for real peace and happiness.

Enter to WIN a copy of Fierce Faith. In celebration of this book, Alli's publisher is giving away 5 copies! Enter to win by leaving a comment here. {We'll randomly select 5 winners and email notifications to each one by Monday, February 5.}

Name a current fear you're struggling with.

What would it look like to take that fear to God and release it to Him?

© 2018 by Alli Worthington. All rights reserved.

Proverbs 31 Ministries thanks Zondervan, a division of HarperCollins Christian Publishing, for their sponsorship of today’s devotion.

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