I’ll admit it. I’ve said the words aloud or thought them many times.
And I’m guessing you have, too.
They’re two of the most debilitating words a woman can say, especially in regards to her children. They fill our minds with doubt and our hearts with fear.
They are the worrisome words: “What if…?”
What if my children get hurt?
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What if they don’t make friends?
What if they are following the wrong crowd?
What if they’re lying to me?
What if they never get a good job?
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What if they never get married?
And finally: What if I’m not a good enough mom?
But I realized one day, after spending time in God’s Word, that at the root of all my “What if” questions is what I really believe about God’s character. When my mind plays through the various what-ifs, the question I’m really asking is “What if God isn’t able?” “What if God isn’t good?” “What if God can’t handle this?”
There’s a reason God’s Word tells me “Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:6-7, NLT).
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As I give God all of my what-ifs, worries, and anxieties, He can calm my heart and remind me that He is in absolute control.
That was the lesson I had to learn myself before I wrote 10 Secrets to Becoming a Worry-Free Mom. Based on my own experience mothering – as well as wisdom and advice from many other moms – I found that there are treasures to discover as we surrender to God what is closest to our hearts – our children.
One of those treasures is the incredible peace He offers as the Perfect Parent who allows us to partner with Him in raising, loving, and caring (not worrying) for our kids. Another treasure is that our relationship with God, our kids, and our husband, gets better when we become encouragers, rather than worriers.
When you and I trust God with what is closest to our hearts, we are saying “You, God, are capable. You are trustworthy. And all of my worries and what ifs are in vain.”
So how do you give God your concerns about your kids instead of worrying about them? It’s as easy as A-B-C:
A – Admit you do not have control over your child’s life. Yes, you can control his or her form of entertainment, friends, and environment… for awhile. But as good of a monitor as you may be, your child will eventually make decisions on his or her own. And those decisions may, at times, grieve your heart. Go ahead, give up that quest for control right now by saying aloud: “I am not in control of my child’s life. God is.”
B – Believe God wants only the best for you AND your child. Sometimes we fear that God will
ask something of us or our children that we’re not willing to give. When you understand that God loves your child even more than you do, and He loves you more than you can imagine, there is peace in placing yourself and your child in God’s hands. Now that you’ve admitted you don’t have control, take the next step and believe that His control of your life and your child’s is truly a good thing.
C- Commit yourself to a deeper knowledge of God. Our worry factor is directly related to how well we know God. Notice I didn’t say our worrying is related to how well we trust God. The reason is this: When we truly know Him and understand all that He is capable of, we can’t help but trust Him. Through familiarity and intimate knowledge comes trust. So commit yourself to getting to know God better through spending time with Him in prayer and through His Word.
D – Depend on God to do what you can’t. Worry says “I must handle this myself.” But trust says “God, only You can truly work this through.” As the worry starts to rise up in your mind or heart, leave it in His hands and watch the worry and stress melt away.
E – Expect Him to come through for you. Philippians 4:6 instructs us to not worry about anything, but instead pray about everything, thanking God for all He has done. The command for us to thank God for all He’s done tells me we should be thanking God ahead of time for all we are trusting Him to do on our behalf. That is faith… the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen (
F – Focus on the truth, not the “what-ifs.” The truth is “with God all things are possible” (Matthew 19:26, NASB). The truth is He will never leave us nor forsake us (Hebrews 13:5). The what-ifs are the scenarios our mind will conjure up when we forget the truth of Who God is and what He is capable of. In other words, focus on the facts of God’s character not your fears of what might be if God weren’t in control.
Do you see how refusing to worry means choosing to trust in the One who can control all that you can’t? As you follow these ABCs, I guarantee your worries will gradually fall by the wayside. And you’ll have a new, healthier habit: Trust.
Cindi McMenamin is a national speaker and popular author who helps women find strength for the soul. She is the author of several books, including When Women Walk Alone (more than 125,000 copies sold), When a Mom Inspires Her Daughter, and her newest book, 10 Secrets to Becoming a Worry-Free Mom, upon which this article is based. For more on her ministry, discounts on her books, or free resources to strengthen your walk with God, your marriage, or your parenting, see her website: StrengthForTheSoul.com.
Publication date: March 28, 2016