“But even when I am afraid, I keep on trusting you.” (CEV) Psalm 56:3
My middle son was born with a fearful disposition. He fears animals, heights, needles, loud noises, darkness, and many other things. It makes things hard for him. And, as his mother, it’s hard for me to watch because I know that there are so many things he misses out on because his fear holds him back.
Today’s devotional looked at fear and how it sometimes stops us from talking to others about God and how we—like Moses—come up with many reasons or excuses about why we aren’t the right ones to do the task before us. That kind of fear doesn’t just show up when we or our children try evangelizing. It’s everywhere and—if we let it—will hold us back from living the life God wants us to live.
That’s why we must help our children overcome—or at least work through—their fears. Here are a few ways to teach our children to face what scares them.
Sit With It
Fear isn’t a bad thing. It’s okay for your child to be scared sometimes, and when it happens, don’t immediately rush in and try to distract them from it. Instead, talk to them about it. Ask them why they are scared of it or what they think will happen if they try it. And let them know that no matter what scares them, they can still trust God (Psalm 56:3). Because he loves them very much, he will protect them (Psalm 91), and he will give them the words to say when they’re asked about him (Luke 12:8-12).
Breathe Through It
Before devotions, we say, “Let’s calm our heads, our hearts, and our hands as we breathe in and out” to help our children settle down. Recently, when our middle child was sick, we started saying this before he took his medicine. It took over 30 minutes to convince him to take it the first time. Ultimately, he’d see the medicine, say the words, and drink the liquid.
This mantra also works if your child is like Emma and afraid of being called out for being a Christian or being different because they have faith. Practice saying this with them. That way, they will already know how to calm themselves down if it ever happens.
Celebrate After It
Every time my son faces his fears, we celebrate it. When he pets a dog, we hug him. When he can get through a doctor’s visit and have a needle, we go out for ice cream. When he climbs the jungle gym, we cheer and follow him to play. It doesn’t have to be extravagant, but it’s important to acknowledge their bravery.
We all get scared sometimes. It’s part of being human. But as Christians, we know that God is there for us. When our children are afraid, we can teach them to trust God because we know he will be there with us always (Matthew 28:20). He has given us what we need to overcome our fears (Ephesians 6:10-18). When we “belong to Christ Jesus, God will bless [us] with peace that no one can completely understand” (Philippians 4:6-7).
Want to do a deep dive? Check out Family Fire's article: Your Family's Great Commission.