“All your children will be taught by the LORD, and great will be their peace.”
One of my worst habits as a mom has been trying to make sure my kids are okay all the time. There’s nothing wrong with me wanting my children to be live peaceful and safe lives – I think most parents feel that way. In the past, though, I have taken that desire as a call to fix every problem and comfort every hurt my kids go through. But when I think back on my own life, I see that those hard times were great opportunities for me to learn more about God. So if I always jump in to “save the day”, I’m actually holding my kids back from a chance to grow closer to their Heavenly Father.
“You will not fear the terror of night, nor the arrow that flies by day…” Psalm 91:5
It’s been a few days since my daughter took off on her newest adventure – 13 hours on a bus on her own to visit family. She got there just fine and has been having a great time, which I’d been praying for. Though I stayed behind, this week is a journey of sorts for me as well – starting on the drive home from the station.
Before her bus even pulled into the station, my husband and I had taken the on-ramp to the highway. I tried hard not to keep looking at the dashboard clock, but my thoughts kept jumping back to her waiting at the station- Is the bus boarding yet? Is it heading out yet?
In the midst of all that fretting, I had a little out-of-body experience. What I mean is, I think God helped me step back enough to get a clear look at myself. And what I saw really troubled me. Not only because I was being an overprotective mom, but because I recognized this behavior as my default setting.
Fear certainly can be a helpful emotion, reminding us to prepare for challenges and keep alert in certain situations. It can be a tool that helps us protect ourselves and those we care about. But there can be a point when we listen too much to our fear – when we give it too much power over our thoughts.
Somewhere along the way, I let fear become dominant in my life. It’s whispered in my ear and colored my thinking. It’s entered into all my decision-making. The result? A small, timid approach to life that has held me back. How many adventures did I miss out on? And worse, how many have I kept my kids from having?
It was that last question that really haunted me on the way home from the bus station. And it’s the one I’ve been pondering all week. As a mom, I want my kids to be safe, to be aware and alert as they venture into the world. But I think instead of equipping them to soar, I may have been unintentionally clipping their wings…