Innocence. Trust. Living in the moment. Exuberance. Impulsivity. Exploration. Settledness.
These are characteristics exhibited by my four-year-old this week as he played outside and accompanied me on errands this week.
Awareness. Fear. Reclusiveness. Being on guard. Reservation. Measuredness. Hesitation.
These were my feelings and emotions in the midst of those same activities.
There were perfectly legitimate reasons for me to feel this way. Imagine discovering the following things in the span of a week:
- A hornet’s nest (the size of your son’s head) is in your backyard mere feet from where he and friends were playing and throwing sticks and rocks.
- Innocuous looking snails from a local water source harbor parasites. And of course, your animal loving son has handled them numerous times.
- Snakes (perhaps poisonous ones) have been seen near the lake your son adores and begs to play in daily.
- Someone you know was followed from store to store as she shopped in the middle of the day.
All this makes me want to hole up in my house. Go only where I know it’s safe. And simply enjoy life in predictable ways.
As I stood outside watching my little fella play (in said lake), questions filled my mind and heart.
- How can I keep my fella safe and still allow him to enjoy the freedom of childhood?
- What if something happens to him on my watch?
- How do I navigate between inattention and overprotection?
- Is it possible for me to enter into the moment and enjoy life as he does? Or is that naivety long gone?
It was at this moment that God gave me a snapshot of my life. It was as if I was watching myself watch my boy. I saw the immense love I have for him. The joy I derive from watching him enjoy life. The simple trust he has in me. His adventurous spirit with no concern for things that are unknown or potentially hazardous.
God then whispered, “You are my child. I see you, as you see him. You can trust me. You can enter into life without fearing the unknowns. You too can be characterized by Innocence. Trust. Living in the moment. Exuberance. Impulsivity. Exploration. Settledness.”
Peace washed over me. My mind was renewed.
It is healing and nourishing when fear crowds in to remember our identity through Christ and the character of our God. He is our Father; we are His children. He is all-powerful, no plan of His can be thwarted. He is good, filled with lovingkindness towards us. He sees us and directs our very steps at every moment of every day. He is our guard and our shield.
As I reflected further, I realized there are probably other things that could have happened this week that God protected me from. An accident. A fall. A sickness. I wasn’t filled with fear related to those things because I wasn’t even aware of them. I entered into them and enjoyed the moments of life even though danger lurked nearby.
Somehow, it’s easier to enter in and enjoy life when the knowledge of reality is absent. But God in His great goodness has given us an antidote to paralyzing fear. He’s given us the ability to find peace and security in Him even when everything around us and inside us is sounding alarms.
That peace comes as I fix my mind on what is true, good, and lovely instead of the fear of the unknown. Instead of thinking about what could have happened, I can think of what DID happen. God protected us. He kept snakes away. He kept rocks and sticks away from the branch where the nest hung. He surrounded us as we ran our errands.
Every moment of every day I have a choice. I can either get caught up in the “what ifs” and miss out on life (and cause my boy to miss out too). Or I can redirect my mind to acknowledge God’s goodness and protection and step out in faith into the unknown.
My mind is where this battle is fought. As I choose to fix my mind on God, fear no longer has a hold. I live as a child in a trusting relationship with my Father. And isn’t that what God intended from the beginning?
- Isaiah 26:3 is a great verse to memorize. Use it to turn your mind from what brings fear to the One who longs to give peace instead. You can find these images in the Resource Library (under Prints/Wallpapers). Already have the password? Download and use them however you want! Want the password? Join below!
- Want more practical helps for fixing your mind on truth? Check out my series on Biblical Meditation.