I'm a bit tardy with this post today. I just dropped my daughter off at hockey camp, which is about 45 minutes away from our house, and it starts at 8 a.m. I love all of you, but I was unwilling to get up at 5 a.m. to write this morning, so this week's posts will be a bit later than normal. Unless, of course, I actually manage to get ahead of my schedule. But I wouldn't hold my breath, if I were you.
This is the first time my youngest has ever gone to camp where I drop her off for the day and come back and get her at the end of the day. They skate for an hour twice during the day, so she has to be responsible for getting her gear on and off by herself and making sure it all gets back in her bag. The responsibility of all of this was very concerning to her.
Because the camp is across town from us, not many of her hockey friends were attending. Whenever we walk into a new hockey season where she doesn't know people, she gets really nervous. She never knows if she's going to be the only girl or if she'll know anyone else. She's always concerned about how she's going to fit in.
Between these two things this morning, I was afraid I was never going to get my daughter out of the locker room. She was letting her nerves get the best of her and was in tears before we finished getting her dressed. We had to take a deep breath and remember that we had conquered these situations before and that she was perfectly capable of handling the situation.
Her tears this morning reminded me that no matter how old we are, new situations full of uncertainty leave us feeling anxious. Usually, when we look back on the situation, though, we find that we worried for no reason.
God doesn't want us to worry. As a matter of fact, Jesus commands us not to worry in Matthew 6:34. He even asks the question "Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?" (Matthew 6:27). Worry robs us of joy. It makes us irritable and anxious. Constant worry can cause health problems.
We don't want to raise children who are worriers, yet we don't want to discount the things that concern them either. My daughter had some legitimate concerns this morning. She's never gotten completely dressed in her hockey gear by herself before. She can't tie her skates. She does need some help. But this is a camp for 5- to 8-year-olds. Help is always nearby. My job was simply to reassure her that if she needed help, all she had to do was open the locker room door and ask.
The same is true any time we begin to worry. All we have to do is ask God for help. He wants us not to worry. He wants us to rely on Him for the things that we need. He wants us to replace the worry in our lives with reliance on Him. Just like my daughter is going to have to rely on the camp workers to help her tie her skates, we need to rely on God to help us through our worry. We can't conquer worry on our own. It takes God's help.
The fastest way for your kids to learn how to deal with worry is to see how you deal with worry. If they see you looking to God for help with your worry, then that's where they will learn to turn with their worries. But, if they see you in constant turmoil because of worry, they will learn that the only way to deal with their concerns is to worry and gnaw on them until you are sick. I know which one of these approaches to worry I want my kids to take, so I have to model it for them.
I hope that this week, you'll take the time with your kids to memorize Matthew 6:25-27, "Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?"
Use this verse to replace your thoughts when you begin to worry. Use it to remind yourself that worry accomplishes nothing, and Jesus commands us not to do it. Use it to teach your kids that worry has no place in their lives.
When you start to worry this week, be like my daughter and open that line of communication with God and ask for help.