My little girl is scared.
It’s not just a phase, my six year old has always been fearful. I’ve come to realize, or to think, that it’s her cross in this life…to be anxious.
There was no leaving her in the nursery as a toddler. When she was three, we had several months of her irrational fear that I’d left her alone in the house. I mean, she would call my name once, I’d answer from the laundry room (or whereever) and she wouldn’ t hear…so she’d immediately run screaming my name, panicked that I’d abandoned her. It’s enough to make you think I’d threatened to leave home without her or something. I assure you, I did not. Ever.
Now, lest you think she’s afraid of everything, she’s not. She’s never been afraid of storms, of the dark, or of big dogs or bugs. Rarely do nightmares plague her. She has no fear of heights–her constant tree climbing, and monkeying-up-doorframes proves a certain lack of inhibition.
The experts have plenty of recommendations for the above fears: exposure to a new litter of pups (a non-threatening version of what terrifies them, ie: big dogs) or pretend play with a new stuffed animal dog, playing with flashlights or colored lights in a dark room (for fear of the dark), interacting with bugs by use of ant farms and butterfly habitats…but when we rely only on the “experts” we may miss the important spiritual lessons needed learned.
These fears are part of God’s plan for my daughter. Sadly, I’m only now realizing this and connecting the dots.
With prayer and encouragement, she overcame the majority of her fears by the age of 4.5. However, they’re resurfacing. She’s afraid of strangers. Terrified.
She will not go to Sunday School anymore, because there are several new children in the class…and when the SS teacher left them unattended once to go make copies…it freaked 6 yo out. When this spilled over to not attending Christmas program practice, my concern flags flapped in overtime. Yes, just like the children of Israel, I’m a slow learner. Here we have another opportunity for growth, and what do I do? Anxiety is sin, you know.
Three weeks have gone by and here’s what I’m doing:
- I’m acknowledging her fears, and trying to remain patient as we work through them. These last 3 weeks she’s been sitting with us during adult SS.
- I’m praying for her the power prayer of Ephesians 3:14-21. (the same power that raised Jesus from the dead is ours for the asking!)
- I’ve told several trusted prayer partners of this need.
- She and I talk. She knows God is with her, and that she can pray for His help and peace. She knows two verses on fear: Isaiah 41:10 and Psalm 56:3.
- We had a devotion on Proverbs 3:5, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding.”
This past Sunday, though she opted to sit with us in adult SS, she decided she was safe attending Christmas program practice without me. (This practice is done during the sermon…)
So, by the grace of God, we go…
(and for anyone tempted to say this is a by-product of homeschooling, a socialization issue, it’s not. A personality and spirit issue, yes. )