When A Child Worries
Recently my son came to me and said he didn’t want to have ANY anxious thoughts that day – he didn’t want to worry about me being home when he got off the school bus, or about his teacher liking his science project, or about whether his dad would get in a car accident.

It made me so sad, but I could identify with what Andrew was feeling. As a little girl, I had so much anxiety. I worried that my parents would forget to pick me up at school. I was afraid something would happen to my mom. I was constantly worried about what my friends or teachers or parents thought about me. I was a fearful child, but I always thought it was because I had lots of real reasons to be afraid.

You see, my parents divorced and my dad left home when I was two. From that point on, I feared my mom would leave, too. When I was 10 years old, my dad decided that my brothers and I needed to live with him and his wife for the school year. He lived 30 minutes away from my mom. It was the most traumatic year of my life. I cried and worried all the time. I can't even describe how anxious and afraid I was that something would happen to my mom and I'd be alone forever.

Because of my childhood fears, I easily empathize when my son describes his. But what I don't sometimes understand is why he has similar fears although his childhood and family life are so very different from mine. As a momma who was robbed of half her childhood and adulthood joy, I don't want my children to miss a day in the amazing life God has for them, or ever be held hostage by fear or worry. Andrew is an incredible kid who brings joy to everyone he meets. I sensed that the enemy was truing to use fear and worry to still, kill and destroy my child's joy, hope and peace.

Not only had Andrew declared he wanted a "anxious-free" day, he also said he wished he was someone else who didn't worry because he feels like no one else does. Feeling like the "only one" is a lie from the pit. Although I couldn't take my child out of the battle that waged in his mind, I could surely equip him for it! I wanted to give him the confidence he needed to fight courageously so I assured him that other kids worry; they just don't talk about it on the playground. I reasoned that worry and fear must be a normal part of life since God tells us not to so many times in the Bible. I also told Andrew that God tells us what to do, when we do.

I wanted to equip him with God's plan of action.Then that verse came to mind where Paul tells us to demolish all arguments and any pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, by taking every thought captive and make it obedient to Christ (2 Cor 10:5). I knew it's what my little man needed to do, but it seemed like a hard concept for a kid (even an adult) so I tried to put it in terms he could understand.

"Andrew, when you have a thought that makes you feel anxious, catch it like it’s a baseball.” I then cupped my hand like I was holding a ball and told him to look at it and ask, “Is this something Jesus would say to me?” If the answer is “no” - then throw that thought back into the outfield! Then we talked through some of his thoughts and fears:

Worry says: “Your mom isn’t going to be here when you get home.”

Would Jesus say that?

Andrew replied, "No."

Then it’s outta here!

Worry says: “Your teacher isn’t going to like your science project!”

Would Jesus say that?

Again, "No."

Throw that one away, too.

When we finished talking through each worry, I shared Philippians 4:6-9 with him, and we prayed together - telling God Andrews concerns, asking Him to replace his worries with promises and thanking Him for what He's done in the past and would do that day. And we claimed God's peace that passes understanding when we bring our concerns to Him. After the Amen, Andrew looked at me, smiled so big and said, "Thanks Mom!" as though all his worries were gone.

Mom, the most powerful thing we can do is pray for our children, equip them with God's promises and show them how to apply them in daily life. I also think it's important to talk with them about times when we worry, too, and tell them how we take my thoughts captive by taking them to Jesus (and if we're not, we need to start!). Funny thing, the very next week I was worried about something and remembered this lesson and applied it in my own life. I was able to tell Andrew and he encouraged me, too. I think that is
what being a D6 (Deuteronomy 6) mom is all about - loving God, learning from God, and sharing with my children what God's teaching me and how He's transforming me with His Truth each day!

Copyright 2009, Renee Swope - All rights reserved.

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33 Comments:

Blogger Casey S. said...

I can't wait to try the baseball thing with my 9 year old son. He is so afraid of storms and wind. We live in a city that has alot of wind so it's a constant battle. He has shown some improvement but we are still working on it. I think this will really help. Thanks!

Blogger Nikki said...

Thank you so much for your post today. I am not usually someone who worries or is anxious very often, so I sometimes forget how it was to be a little child in such a big world. Looking back on my childhood, I do remember worrying about a variety of things, many that are similar to the ones my children have. And I was one of those kids who had a very secure, stable home and family. Thank you for the baseball example! And thank you for reminding us that everyone worries and that is why the bible addresses the issue of worry and anxiousness so many times. I look forward to discussing that with my children the next time they need reassurance!

Anonymous Anonymous said...

What a wonderful way to relate this biblical truth! Thank you for sharing your way of connecting the dots for your child! I may even use that in my own life and not just my children's.
Geralyn

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you soooooo much for sharing this post today! It spoke to my heart in a huge way. Your description of your childhood fears sound very similar to mine. While our experiences were different, our fears were the same. I grew into an adult that still struggles with fear and is currently fighting a hard battle against the enemy to conquer those fears and have victory through Christ. I have claimed Phillipians 4:4-7 as my battle verses!:) I want to be released from this stronghold so that I will be able to pass the freedom and experience on to my children. My oldest is starting to struggle with her own fears and I want to help her with her own fight. Your post was just what I needed to read today! Thank you and Blesssings!
Heather
hlridge@hotmail.com

Blogger Brittany said...

What great advice. I practically live on that verse. I'm in my 20's but you 'word picture' still helped me. Thanks.

Blogger Jennifer said...

Thank you so much for the post todat as I myself am prone to worry...in fact I worry all the time and I try very hard not to pass this on to my kids, but I know my firstborn really struggles almost as much as I do.
It truly is a constant battle. Thanks for your perspective today!
jenniferroskamp@gmail.com

Blogger Just me~ Bobbie Jo said...

Thanks for the good post! I am a "worrier" and this will help me realize that I don't have to be as much!

OpenID Lehrerin said...

I love the way that you explained this to your son!

lehrerin@charter.net

Blogger Linda said...

Thank you for this post today. Our Jesus is the One whom the wind and waves obey!
I love the baseball analogy. It's perfect for boys! We don't really think about boys being afraid of much. Not when they can bring home snakes in their pockets.
Corrie Ten Boom told a story of how she struggled to carry her heavy suitcase and her father took it from her and carried the burden. She always imagined Father God standing there waiting for her to hand Him her burdensome suitcase to carry for her.
I imagine myself with a heavy valise with the name of my fear on it and I ask Abba to carry it for me. And He does.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for such a wonderful post today! I am a very anxious person, and worried so much when I was a child, this is something that has carried into my adult life as well. I literally was just praying about an hour ago for God to help me to stop being so worried and anxious all the time, I just finished reading out of my 'moms bible' and God lead me to your site again!! I can not wait to teach my children about the baseball- and also use it myself! Amazing!
Cristy
cristy.dougas@yahoo.com

Blogger Mocha with Linda said...

That's a wonderful post and a creative way to teach your son!

Hugs to you, my friend!

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Worry wart...that is what my Mom calls me and I get it from her!! To this day I know she is always worrying about will we keep our jobs in this econony, are we healthy etc.

Also I am a control freak so I have such a hard time just "throwing the ball back to the outfield". Great analogy in your post and will have to keep that in mind when I get all worked up and start worrying.

Blessings

Kim
chinarnrmom@comcast.net

Blogger Wendi said...

How wonderful that your son comes to you with his fears. I wonder sometimes if my child worries about much at all. He seems so carefree and blissfully clueless. Definitely something to talk to him about. Thanks!

Blogger Andrea said...

I am a worrier. I sometimes forget that my kids have worries too. The baseball analogy is a great tool for my boys! Thank you for sharing!

Andrea
amason1220@cox.net

Anonymous Anonymous said...

LOVE the baseball idea! I am not a real worrier and neither were my parents, so I too forget that little children have BIG fears that are SO real to them. (We are battling monsters and a fear of the dark right now at our house). Again, thanks for a great message! It's sometimes easy to counsel and tell my daughter that God's there, but it's not always easy to express my own fears so she doesn't feel alone.

anna@lachlanfarm.com

Blogger Oh Dear said...

I think I have one of those kids. He is only 7 and like your son has never been in a true stressful situation(at least not like you). I am not sure that I identified it until now and know that he is not mature enough to label it either. So THANK YOU because the two of us can play some ball now!!
dearingfamilycircus@verizon.net

Anonymous Anonymous said...

My oldest daughter is a worrier, like her mom, and this post is such an encouragement to me. Thanks!
dawnp
spruyn@entouch.net

Blogger Sarah said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

Blogger Sarah said...

What a great idea! We did something similar with "I can't". My family catches those words as the come out of their mouth and then throws them as far as they can. Then they choose a better phrase like I need help or this is tricky.
sarahlscott@gmail.com

Blogger Kim said...

I am an anxious person as well. I think it's very important to talk with our kids about what ever is bothering them so they know they are not alone.

Kim / Ohio
kimdillon@vernay.com

Blogger Happy Four said...

Thank you for your post. I tend to worry at times, although, it may not be seen by other human eyes. I so desire for my little ones to grow up to not have fears and to be warriors for Jesus and know it has to start with my faith so they can see it through me...thank you for your post today!

Blessings,

Caroline
thegrossmans@carolina.rr.com

Blogger Ann-Marie said...

Thank you for your thoughts and ideas. I get the Crosswalk email devotional, but am new to your blog. You are inspiring me to pray dilligently for my son. Today's post made me stop and think- I'm worried and anxious about so many things that are not even that important.
amkraft1@gmail.com

Blogger JottinMama said...

Oh my, Renee. I hung on every word of that post. I have been a fearful and anxious gal from the start. Unlike you though - I didn't really have a lot of reasons to be so worrysome as a child. The fear and worry were just always there. And often times, still are. Your words were so refreshing to me today.

Thanks for always giving me such good ideas to use with my own family. I'm so thankful :)

Have a nice rest of the week!

Blessings,
Kate :)

Blogger Terry said...

Hmmmm, my husband could be facing unemployment soon...I think I'll be throwing some baseball :-)

My son, who was adopted from China, worries too much for a 3 1/2 year old. I've been praying for ways to help him feel more secure.


Thank you so much for your ministry!

jonesy4him@comcast.net

Blogger Shannon said...

Worry is like a rocking chair. It gets you no where...From the book/bible study...Calm my Anxious Heart...Love that book. I do it every couple of years. It is such a good reminder!

Shannon
smarklow@gmail.com

Anonymous Renee said...

I love getting your devotional in my email each day. I am a grandmother, but I pass so many articles on to my two daughters.
Please include me in your giveaways.

Blogger blessedoriginals said...

i so enjoy your little lessons for the kids! i am still learning to approach things in a way to teach the kids and not just to say "it will be okay." so thank you for your wonderful blogs!

many blessings,
melissa s.
blessedoriginals@mchsi.com

Blogger lisasmith said...

thanks for sharing this Renee. I love how the teachable moments with our kids sometimes come when we just listen. thanks for this reminder.

Anonymous Susan Lanthrip said...

Thank you so much for the wonderful insight you give everyday. Your blog is a blessing to me.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Renee, thanks so much for the blog on children worrying. My 7 year old deals with "mommy is not going to be there to pick me up" all the time. Thanks for sharing ways and bible verses to help her cope with her worries. I think this will definetly help her "throw" her worries away. Thanks a bunch!!

Blogger Melissa said...

I loved the message today as well. My son gets his worry tendencies from me (I suppose), and you have really just given me a great way to help him and help me. It is hurtful to see my son worry so much about me, so I too cannot wait to talk to him about the "Outfield" worries!

God Bless you and Thank you for serving!
Melissa G

Anonymous Cindy H. said...

I grew up in a home filled with fear, pain, and doubt. I was fearful about everything. And all the while, I would attend church on Sundays and hear the message "do not fear." Being a child, I did not understand the contradiction. I now look for every opportunity to teach my children confidence in knowing that Jesus is always on their side - and though everyone worries, they can push those thoughts aside right away thanks to Jesus. I LOVE the baseball example, and I know my boys will too. Thank you so much for sharing!
Cindy Haynes - cindyhaynes45@hotmail.com

Blogger Alexis said...

Thank you for sharing....that is a great story!!

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