My 6 year old son, A, has been struggling with the transition from Kindergarten to First grade. He feels that the day is too long and he doesn’t like his family being separated for that many hours. At 40 days into the school year, he had cried everyday before school all of those days except for two. Every morning for the last few weeks, he wakes my up to tell me that he is feeling sick, that I should take his temperature and that it would be a good idea for me to keep him home. The fear and anxiety he is experiencing overwhelms him and he is allowing his thoughts to spiral to the worst conclusion in this situation. When he looks at all of it as a whole he is overwhelmed, instead of trusting God in the steps to get through, he gets paralyzed.
Have you ever been so anxious or worried about a situation in your life that your thoughts spiral out of control? The fear of the unknown is a real struggle in our lives, for some of us, it appears in our daily lives. It can happen when new job opportunities come our way, when we move states, when a confrontation needs to take place or when a line in the sand needs to be drawn in friendship or marriage. We have a tendency to associate past feelings and experiences to future situations and we can instantly draw inaccurate conclusions before the event even takes place. Letting our past feelings control our current thoughts can stop us from taking steps of faith. Feelings and emotions are not terrible, in fact they are from God; but when we let our feelings govern our mind and overwhelm our thoughts, this is where trouble arises.
When it comes to A, we have had many talks with him, spent time in prayer with him, had playdates to have him build relationships in class, spoken to a counselor, etc. What we have had to do is just take small steps forward, everyday, to get him through the school day. We allow him to feel his emotion and express himself, but we also spend time assuring him about the positive that can come from him trusting God and staying with it. We are trusting that over time, as he remains on course, he will adjust to his new normal.
Fear can make you want to change courses; it can cause your fight or flight response to take over. Do you stay stagnant in the fear of the unknown in your life, afraid to move in any one direction? Experiencing fear every now and then is a normal part of life, but living with chronic fear can be both physically and emotionally draining. My son started to make himself ill by the fear, allowing it to rob the joy out of all other activities.
Some of us may not want what is in our lives right now, but we can trust in a sovereign God who wants to use all things for His Glory. No one signs up for suffering or pain, but in order to learn and grow we must stay on course. As hard as it is, I tend to learn the most when I'm hurting the deepest. So many of us, including myself, want the quick fix, but unfortunately in most cases, it cannot be fixed without help. What I have learned from my experiences is that we don't have to go through any of our struggles alone. God is true to His promises and will walk beside us on our journeys of mountain tops and deserts. In the desert places of our lives we start to think that God is not paying attention, but I have experienced first hand that God works in the silence; He is busy crafting the puzzle pieces of my life into His masterpiece. If I abort a dry season of my life too soon, rush to be out of my current situation and run from my fears, I will miss the blessing and the teaching that is awaiting me. In the unsettled places of our lives, God can lead and position us for the challenges to come.
As time moves forward and we keep taking steps in faith, God will show up. He will provide people in your life that will stand in the gap with you as you walk this journey of yours. You may be the parent that is walking through a tough time with your child or a wife walking through a transition with your husband, whatever it is, find the people who will walk alongside you with accountability and encouragement to get you through. Being there everyday to walk this journey with my son has helped him to get to where he is today. As of this week, my son went five days straight to school without crying. Praise God for answered prayers!!! He got anxious on day 3 this week, but he reminded himself that he could do it. He prayed and used his faith in God to get through the hours of school because his previous steps of faith had proven it true already.
God is our deliverer; He delivers us in the hard moments when it feels like we cannot move or breathe from the fear of the unknown. Victories in our lives don’t come when we turn and run. What we learn through our trials will equip us for our future experiences. Stay on course, stay in the fight, God will give enough strength for the trials of each day.
Psalm 91:5-8. The Message translation is: “Fear nothing—not wild wolves in the night, not flying arrows in the day, not disease that prowls through the darkness, not disaster that erupts at high noon, even though others succumb all around, drop like flies right and left, no harm will even graze you. You’ll stand untouched, watch it all from a distance, watch the wicked turn into corpses.”