“We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God,
and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.” 2 Corinthians 10:5 (NIV)
My 8-year-old son walked into my room before school one morning and declared, “Mom, I don’t want to have any anxious thoughts today!”
“I don’t want to worry about you not being home when I get off the school bus. I don’t want to worry about my teacher not liking my science project. And I don’t want to worry about Dad getting in a car accident! I wish I could be like other kids because they never worry.”
Listening to him describe his fears made my stomach ache. Anxious thoughts had been a companion ever since I was a child, so I knew just how he felt.
However, I assumed my fears stemmed from hard things in my childhood during my parents’ divorce. My anxiety had solid reasoning behind it. My dad left before I was ever born. And by the time I was 2 years old, their divorce was final.
For as long as I could remember, I feared my mom would leave me too. Fear of rejection and abandonment followed me into every relationship I had for the rest of my life: with friends, boyfriends and even my husband.
Somewhere along the way, I accepted worry as a disability and settled into believing I didn’t get to decide how it impacted my life.
Now here I stood with my son who’d declared he wanted a day off from worry! And I was determined to help him get it. I wanted to rip those threads of fear out of his thoughts and make sure he knew what to do with them.
I couldn’t take my child’s fears away, but I could equip him with truth to face them courageously and fight them victoriously. I told Andrew, “You get to decide what to do with your worries.” And I shared three powerful truths to help him:
Truth #1: Other kids do worry; they just don’t talk about it on the playground.
Truth #2: Worry and fear must be a normal because God tells us not to, over 100 times in the Bible.
Truth #3: God doesn’t just tell us not to worry or fear, He tells us what to do when we do!
Then I read 2 Corinthians 10:5 to him, “We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.” But a puzzled look on his face told me Andrew needed to know how to do that, so I described it in terms he could understand:
“Andrew, when you have a thought that makes you feel anxious, you can decide to catch it like a baseball and see if it’s worth keeping.” 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 your thought back into the outfield!
For instance, worry says: “Your mom isn’t going to be home when you get off the bus.”
“Would Jesus say that?” I asked.
“No,” he replied.
“Then it’s outta here!” I told him, as I threw the invisible ball across the room.
Worry says: “Your teacher isn’t going to like your science project!”
“Would Jesus say that?” I prompted.
“Throw that one away, too!”
We talked through each worry, processed his fears, and I helped him decide what to do. Then we prayed and asked God to replace each worry with a promise that would give him confident peace. Finally, we thanked God for ways He’d protected Andrew in the past, reminding him how good He is at being God.
After our collective “Amen” I looked up and Andrew had a big grin on his face. Then he said, “Thanks Mom!” as though all his worries were gone.
My sons are 17 and 20 now, and there have been many days I’ve wanted to take away their worries. I’ve been tempted to fix problems and sticky situations. But I’ve learned that doesn’t strengthen their faith or their ability to decide what to do when hard times come.
Instead, what our kids need most is for us to be there: to talk through their struggles, listen to their stories, pray through their worries and be willing to share God’s truths that have helped us decide how to face ours.
There is nothing more powerful than our hearts hearing our lips proclaim our trust in God’s truth. Again and again. So I created a FREE printable to help us do just that! I pray it will lead your anxious thoughts to Jesus as you hold those worries in your hands and ask: Is this what Jesus would say to me? If the the answer is no, YOU GET TO DECDE that it doesn’t get to stay!
CLICK HERE to download my “Fear Not For I am With You” FREE printable.
If you can’t see the image displayed, click here to go to view it on my website.
Confident Heart Devotional GIVEAWAY
Enter to win a gift-pack that includes my A Confident Heart Devotional book and my favorite prayer journal from DaySpring. Perfect for summer and life on the go – my Confident Heart Devotional book is filled with powerful stories, practical life-lessons and biblical insights to help you and your loved ones overcome fear and worry through the power of God’s truth each day!
ENTER TO WIN:
How much doesfear or worry impact your daily decisions and joy (or your child’s)? Click “Share Your Thoughts” below this post on my blog, and do just that. Your comment will be your entry to win!
***If you are reading this via email, please click here to enter the giveaway on my blog.***
ALL entries must be entered on my blog. Thanks!
Fear and worry impact my life a lot. I have to say dedicating my life to the Lord the fear and worry have decreased some. I do believe that I can take those fears and worries and turn them into something positive for someone. God knows what he is doing. I would love tho have your book. I do believe that everything happens for a reason. As I just decided to scroll up I noticed that this post is originally from 2015. I posted back then as well.
Love you Renee. Maybe I will see you at the conference in St. Paul, MN
Alison Nelson says
I would love to have this to share with my daughter (who will be 8 next month)! She has struggled with severe anxiety for the past couple of years. It is a daily struggle with our family as her fear sometimes prevents us from attending events/going places we would like and I know she would enjoy. We have three kids and she is our oldest which means the younger two are watching her and I can already see them (mostly my other daughter more so than my son) trying to imitate her at times. It is so hard to watch your child hurt and not always know how to help her. The fear in her eyes whenever I leave the house (her current foremost struggle is that something will happen to me each time I leave the house (whether it’s just to go to a neighbor’s house to help them or run an errand) is heartbreaking.
Lisa Rivers says
I LOVE the visual of holding a baseball and throwing it back to the outfield if it’s not something Jesus would say! That gives my granddaughter–seven year old worry wart–something concrete to imagine as she takes captive worrying thoughts.
Unfortunately I need to take some thoughts captive, also… I’ll remember this visual!
Jodi Wolf says
I am currently reading your book, ‘A Confident Heart’ (and LOVING it). I would appreciate some clarification. In chapter seven, page 128, you talk about ‘failing forward’, for some reason I am not understanding the concept. Would u mind explaining that further pls? Ty so much. Your book has helped me TREMENDOUSLY grow closer to God. I am soooooo happy I bought it.
Kimberly Hogan says
I have been needing to come back to this quiet time with God. To draw near to Him again. I’ve been in a difficult place with Him lately but want to find my quiet place with Him again.
Jennifer Calvillo says
Definitely a much needed read! I can’t wait to get my hands on this book.
When God asked me to adopt a 3 month old girl as a single mother, I know I was inadequate and too dysfunctional to be a good parent. But I said “yes”. He revealed Himself to me in amazing ways as she grew up. When she was sixteen, she attempted suicide twice and often tries to get high on anything she can get her hands on. After being caught with illegal drugs and being lured by a 47 year old man on Facebook and having a sexual encounter with him. It was recommended to me to read Anxious Kids, Anxious Parents by Reid Wilson,PhD. and Lynn Lyons, LICSW. I have overcome so many fears in my life, but this book helped me to see that my fears were causing my already anxious child to have even greater anxiety. With God’s grace, I am attempting to bring healing to our family by reversing my dysfunctional patterns through using the truth of His word.
christy lb says
Renee why I would love to have this gift set. My whole has been with worry from the age of 8. I love so many of the songs I was taught in Sunday school Father Abraham had 7 sons was 2 and Jesus loves me number 1. However, I didn’t truly believe that for at that age I struggled as my family did not have the same money as the others. I was being taught what the Bible says but watched everyone, including my mom, Sunday school teacher snd pastor do the opposite. Do as you are told not as I do. I didn’t do either, I did for me. Being abused and prayer to God to help, seemed to go unanswered, that was my final straw. Thirty-nine years later God showed me the truth. I realized that all my life I was so God loving to everyone no matter what they did, no matter how hard I tried to stay mad angry I couldnt. What I could do was keep telling myself I deserved it that this is the life God has for me, to be sad, not happy. He had been with me the whole time, he was so patient and kind, while I was mean and ugly to him. Not aloud to any one just to me. Now I find I will give him my worry however I take it back. I don’t want to be broken anymore, yet I know I am afraid, I think afraid that if I never take it back I won’t know what to do with myself. I mean to not have all that worry on me I would see the ultimate gift he has for me, and I am scared, scared I don’t deserve it or that I would be so happy other stuff would not bother me either. Four years of depression I couldn’t do it in 2015. I find that I am better and I handle it better, thank you Lord, many days are still truly hard.
I would love to have this to help me further along and as a grandmother of a beautiful 2 year old I can share the knowledge and wisdom with her. She will be able to read my notes and cherish them forever.
thank you for reading. Love your sister in Christ, Christy
Shirley Berry says
Would live to have this book to share with my oldest grand daughter!
Marcie Bridges says
Whether I win the prize package or not I just want to say how thankful I am to have had the privilege of reading this today. It is so needed. I’ve never been one to worry over things but lately I have worried about many things and I haven’t known what to do with them because it is just not like me to worry. I also have a daughter who is prone to worrying about EVERYTHING and I believe this will also benefit her as well. I will work to find a common solution, such as your example with the baseball, to give to her that she can relate to. To God be the glory! Marcie 🙂
What a great read, I really needed this! Thank you!!
Charlotte Orth says
Most of my worries at 66 years old stem from wondering if my money will last until I die. I need to remember that God will provide!
Charla Suggs says
Fear and worry prompt me to continuously ask God to equip me to NOT make decisions out of fear or worry. God once revealed to me that I worried incessantly about my police officer-husband every time he left for work, but I called it prayer. That was really eye-opening for me. I know we are not called to live under fear yet we all know what it is like to feel afraid. It is a challenging battle, to yield feelings of uncertainty and doubt to God in the place of intimacy with Him. I think everyone would agreed it is not easy, but oftentimes trust is a matter of the will.
Diane Vredenburg says
personally, Fear doesn’t grip my thoughts or feelings on a daily basis when it comes to my decisions. However, both my husband and my 14-yr old daughter are so caught up in fears it creates high anxiety within them and it breaks my heart that I can’t help more. I will gladly print this article, the downloadable printable and share it with them. It’s also encouraging to hear that others are dealing with this as well, esp other teens my daughter’s age. I had no idea how rampant this was. Thanks for sharing!!!
Delores McPherson says
I have a very strong faith and have learned over the years to live above (beyond) fear. This article, however, has given me a new way to explain overcoming faith to my grandson. Thank you.
I have learned very much at the beginning of my christian life just about 20 years ago that to worry wouldn’t help me any further and would take my “joie de vivre” but it wasn’t always easy, especially at night. That’s when the “what if” questions came to bother me and I always tried to find peace in praying to our Lord and praising Him for making things right.
As it was mostly worry about material things I found out that now the worry about someones life in danger is very different. I had cancer and a mastectomy mid of last year and before Christmas my darling husband was diagnosed with terminal cancer. So now when the fear creeps up in my heart I do my best to remember God’s promises for my/our life and hang on to them and again praise Him for His promises and I thank Him for His Love and Care for us and that I can fully trust Him!!!
Worry I think sometimes is my middle name. Will they like me. Will I ever get married. Will I get hired. Worry truly does trump my faith and I’m learning new that God will withhold things from me until I just let God and trust God. He wants our dependence to Him. My worry is just another name for fear and doubting in God.
Oh how these words ring so true to me! After my second child, worry and anxiety became such a part of my daily battle. Although I know these are actions of Satan fighting his battle within me there are days these take me over. I have learned to pray intentionally as soon as I begin to feel overwhelmed to give these to the Lord and ask him to to take the feelings away. I absolutely love your statement of these “must be normal”! Because so many times it doesn’t seem normal! Thank so much for your words Renee!
A year ago when my daughter was 14, she began having anxiety/panic attacks. I began breathing Gods words into her, singing worships songs to her & praying with her. She began high school & rather than using those tools to help her, she tries avoiding what’s happening. I pray that the seeds planted will begin to grow and she’ll trust in His word & not allow the enemy to do battle on her mind.
Thank you so much,
The word have been an encouragement to me too, I have learnt to live one day at a time, not to worry what will happen tomorrow. it Only believing and having faith in Christ that motivates one to look forward without being worried. Thanks again
Chelsea Dudley says
I remember as a kid and YA that I would suffer from anxiety and worry and fear. Of everything. Now as a Mom I have fearful thoughts come at me randomly and I don’t like it.
Thank you so much for the simple illustration of the baseball. I am going to use it with my daughter. She is terribly afraid of rain after we survived an EF5 tornado last year. If it rains, it just sends her into hysteria. She always prays for God to make it stop and the last few weeks she has written Bible verses that deal/discuss fear. This has seemed to work done better. I really needed to read this to know we aren’t alone in this anxiety battle. The fear is do crippling to her some days. Love your works and would love the devotional book!
nicole young says
This is Perfect Timing for me. I have recently had some issues processing, remembering, communicating. etcl.. I went to the Neurologist and they said i had Volume Loss In the Front of my Brain. I also went to a speech therapist and learned that I have trouble breaking down this info. Sometimes talking to people I can hear them talk but Its not connecting. It has effected my job and my life. Its definitely effected my self-esteem. I caught myself focusing on what is wrong. how am I going to work, learn, etc. The fear of not being ok. I am so glad this info was revealed. It explains why I struggled all my life with learning, communicating, asking so many questions. etc. But at the same time. Its hard to understand. I was beginning to shut down and become paralazed in life. Praise God you posted this. I love your example of catching it. You will see me catching and throwing a lot..lol I love examples like this. Thank you so much for being transparent. I know God uses ALL THINGS FOR HIS GLORY.
I WILL NO LONGER FEAR. I WILL EMBRACE AND TAKE EVERY THOUGHT CAPTIVE.
GOD KNOWS WHAT IM GOING THROUGH. HE WILL NOT LEAVE OR FORSAKE ME.
THANK YOU AGAIN FOR SHARING.
BLESSINGS TO YOU AND YOURS
Shawna Bear says
I have always had fear and anxiety as a part of me, and I feel like I do better some days capturing every thought . It seems like now That I’m a mom, it is more of a challenge. Thank you for your tools for my journey. My journey of faith matters so much to my family, thanks for helping me to strengthen it.
At my age I have 2 choices: to live each day full of love and light or be depressed and isolate because so many of my friends are dying. I don’t fear death, but do dread the day when I learn of my 94 year old not being with us any longer. That will be the longest 9 hour flight I’ll ever make. God tells me not to worry/fear so I try my best to be obedient. Blessings, Beverly