I just heard there was another case of the Ebola virus and this time it’s in Washington. No doubt this will send many people into a tailspin. We’ve already seen the messages on Facebook that are telling us that this is why we shouldn’t let people into our country and why we shouldn’t go there to help. After watching so many different conversations take place about things like Ebola, I think it’s about time somebody talked to these parents and help them step back from the ledge.
So what’s a parent supposed to do when they find themselves gripped in fear of the world around them?
Let me suggest four things that I think every parent should do:
This is one of my number one suggestion to anyone who’s carried away by their emotions. If you’re angry – slow situation down… breathe deeply… give your brain a chance to catch up. If you’re crying uncontrollably – slow everything down… breathe deeply… give your brain a chance to catch up.
If your gripped with fear? Guess what? Slow the situation down. This means quit reading 100 articles a day about your fear… maybe read just 1. Give your brain a chance to catch up with all the information. Remember that there’s always two sides to every story. Remove yourself from the circumstance. Go for a run, watch a comedy, spend time with friends. Just do something to slow it all down.
* it’s amazing to me how many times a little “self-talk” and common sense can defuse our emotions.
Philippians 4:8 “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy–think about such things.”
Evaluate Your Priorities
Whenever our fear is about the unknown nature of the future it’s always a good idea to take a step back and evaluate your priorities and values. What really matters? What’s the most important thing? When fear begins to creep in it’s crucial that you have an understanding of what really matters. This will allow you to keep the “main thing the main thing” in your family.
Focus on Raising Spiritual Champions
In the day and age in which we’re living, it’s important that parents stop trying to raise good kids. There are plenty of good kids in the world already. What we need to do is raise kids who are “Owned by God”. We need kids who have an understanding that they are God’s “own possessions” (1 Peter 2:9) and as such they are to live their lives recklessly abandoned for his calling.
My wife and I actually have a belief that we’re raising a generation of Christians that will experience persecution firsthand. Without the understanding that our kids belong to God, this can be a terrifying thought.
So what can I do to prepare my children for persecution, trials, and challenges?
I can give them MY active faith
The faith my child will possess will look an awful lot like the faith I show them. So the burden is on me to live out an active, vibrant, growing faith. Let your kids see and understand your faith.
I can give them a chance to express their faith
Growing in your faith happens as you go. You don’t just learn it all and then start living it. You live it… and grow. Are you giving your kids a chance to live out their faith? Are you encouraging them to go on mission trips, retreats, and service projects. Are you showing them places where they can server others and offer hope to the hopeless?
Fear the Lord
Finally, I think we need to remember that the Fear of the Lord is the Beginning of Wisdom. (Proverbs 1:7)
“Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell.” (Matthew 10:28)
The bottom line is this:
God is so much bigger than our fears.
He’s bigger than the unknown
and He bigger than anything this world will throw at us.
“You are from God, little children, and have overcome them; because greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world.” (1 John 4:4)
Today it’s Ebola. Yesterday it was 9/11 and tomorrow it will be something else. This world is broken. It’s going to continue to function in a very broken way. Let’s not allow this reality to cause us to lose sight of greater reality:
Greater is He who is in you than he that is in the world!