It’s hard to keep the little people little.
At least it is when there are older siblings involved.
Although it doesn’t seem like too big a deal, our youngest has been exposed to older-kid banter, older-kid humor, older-kid music and older-kid movies earlier than our older kids were.
Not that it’s a problem, it’s just we kinda like to keep our littles little for as long as they can be. I mean, just think about some of the things you might hear a teenager say. Honestly, it can often be funny. But to hear it come out of a seven or eight year-old just sounds kinda bad. Like the f-word. You know…. fart. We aim to use more delicate terms like toot, but in light of the more pressing moral issues our teens face, it seems like a small concession when I hear it come out of our older kids’ mouths. But when it comes out of the youngest, it just sounds wrong. And crude.
Nevertheless, it’s part of being raised with big kids. I remember a country song several years ago about letting them be little; let ‘em cry, let ‘em giggle, let ‘em sleep in the middle, oh just let them be little.
Well, sleeping in the middle is exactly what the littlest wanted to do after staying up to watch a movie we would’ve never let our oldest watch at his age. Pirates of the Caribbean Dead Man’s Chest. Its rated PG-13 due to “intense sequences of adventure violence, including frightening images.” Frightening images meaning, Davy Jones. Of course we tried to divert to a more age appropriate movie, but once he caught wind that everyone else had seen it, he was “dead” set on watching it. Yes. Pun intended. LOL! Let me just say, not to point fingers, but pointing fingers, it was the Dad who caved and allowed this to take place. I, on the other hand, knew exactly how this would turn out—Gavin in his bed, scary imagination circulating through his mind, unable and unwilling to go to sleep. And yes, that is exactly what happened. He ended up in our bed.
Recently I thought about our little person being scared, because to be quite honest, I’ve been feeling a little scared myself.
Within a short period of time here were a few things that hit my heart heavily:
· Three major hurricanes which caused massive destruction in Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico.
· My husband was told it appeared he may have a genetic cardiac disease that presents a 50% chance of being passed to our children.
· My local news shared in one weekend that a teenage boy had taken his own life at a high school football game; a sixteen year-old had robbed an elderly couple, rapping the wife and then moving on to another home where he shot a father in front of his wife and three children; and then on the same day we were informed of the attack on Las Vegas.
You may be thinking, “But Heather, only one of those instances directly affects you.” And you’re right. However, I have this understanding bad things could happen to anyone. Tragedy can land in anyone’s life. I remember thinking about such facts growing up. It was a reality I learned early. A reality which can bring a sense of anxiety even today.
Since I know I can’t control everything that happens to me, I start to mentally prepare for the worst-case scenario.
Like last week when our area was receiving an intense downpour, under flash-flood warnings. My mind was thinking about my teenage daughter driving into the community college for her concurrent enrollment class. I considered having her skip. I even considered cancelling my speaking commitment to take her. All because I was in worst-case-scenario mindset. I can’t even tell you the images I had circulating in my mind. And the thoughts! Thoughts like, “It’s been a long time since something bad has happened and if she drives in this weather this could be the day for something bad to happen.”
“A long time.” It’s like I anticipate some major loss every so many years and I brace my emotions for my world to collapse. Who does that?!
I’ll tell you who does that.
Someone who lives in this imperfect world, where imperfect things happen.
Someone who realizes the frailty of life.
Someone who has been through some things and understands there’s no quota to pain, no set limit to trying times. It could happen again. And again. And again.
And that reality can be downright scary. The frightening-images-kind of scary that steals sleep. The kind of scary that makes cancelling commitments seem reasonable. The kind of scary that threatens the joy of today from fear of losing tomorrow. The kind of scary that takes peace and nurtures anxiety.
Once anxiety presents itself, it’s like being a little one afraid to go to sleep at night. Fear starts to set in. Fear—the disease of breeding dread and disaster.
So how do I fight this tendency? How do I battle the predicament of my experiences?
I counteract my humanity with my faith and I speak out some powerful truths for my ears to hear.
Honestly, it’s not a figure of speech. I really speak it out. Sometimes we’re all together as a family; sometimes I’m driving in the car alone; sometimes it’s just Ruby and me. When my mind is stirring the what ifs, when my heart is scared and I feel how fragile my world truly is, I speak out:
This thought will not have control over me. I take hold of this thought and bring it into obedience to the Lord.
I do not need to be afraid of dread or disaster. I am secure and I am at ease, because I hear the voice of The One who holds me.
I am not afraid of bad news, even if bad news comes my way, I am not afraid of it because my heart is firm in the Lord and I trust Him.
Big people get scared too, not of Davy Jones, no. But when life hands us some “intense sequences of adventure violence including frightening images” we get scared in worst-case scenario mode. Those are our times to run to our Father for some words of comfort and slip back to bed at night feeling bigger than a big kid—feeling like a great giant in the face of life's fears!
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**Scriptures Used-- write them on a sticky note for your fridge, bathroom mirror or car, and gain power from the words of truth.
Proverbs 1:33 ESV "but whoever listens to Me will dwell secure and will be at ease, without dread of disaster.”
2 Corinthians 10:3-6 "For though we walk in the flesh, we are not waging war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ, being ready to punish every disobedience, when your obedience is complete."
Psalm 112:7 ESV "He is not afraid of bad news; his heart is firm, trusting in the Lord.