parenting in fear

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

"Running directly at the herd is a ploy to generate panic" David Attenborough's voice comes through the Netflixed first episode of Planet Earth. As I watch the 3 million strong herd of caribou being split apart by a handful of white-haired wolves, I think of a video a friend posted earlier this week. "The herd breaks up, and now it's easier to target an individual." The wolves are particularly after the young.

In the (likely highly edited) video, parents at a park were asked if they thought their child would talk to a stranger. Every last parent, of those included in the video, responded "no". They were confident they had gotten the message across to their children - "do not talk to strangers". But we (the viewers) watch as each child (with parental permission to test their child) is coaxed  away by a man with a puppy to go look at other puppies. Each parent in the video is then drop-jaw shocked to see that their child could be coaxed away so easily. 

I don't believe the video my friend posted was meant to be harmful. I believe the creator's original intent, actually, was to be helpful and cause parents and caretakers to think about how easy it might be for someone to take their child away. But to me, it felt exactly like "a ploy to generate panic", as the wolves against the caribou. Frankly, as a parent, I am tired of the messages that tell me to fear everything, and everyone, when it comes to raising my children. I know that stuff like this happens, and it is *awful* when it happens. But I also think one of the most effective tools that the enemy uses to drive us apart is fear. When we are taught to fear each other, and to teach our children the same (every stranger is a child molester), "the herd breaks up, and now it's easier to target an individual". 

A friend read from Psalm 34 today. Verse 4 says "I sought the LORD, and he answered me; he delivered me from all my fears." In the hearing of it, I realized that the psalmist does not say "he delivered me from all my pain" or something like that that we might tend to pray for. He realizes that God delivered him from what he truly needed deliverance from in that moment: fear. I need to make that my prayer more often - that God would deliver me from all my fears, because in many ways it is fear that truly traps me (us).

How often do I (you?) ask God to free me from fear? Trial? Sure. Pain? Yes. Troubles? Yup, been there too. I think there is nothing wrong with asking God to free us of these things. But what if...what *if*, what I *really* need to be free from is my fear? *Fear* of trials, *fear* of pain, *fear* of troubles, *fear* of things that are so far outside of my control anyway that I can do nothing but lay them at His feet. There is no lack of things to fear in this world, my friends - take a minute to read your newsfeed, and it's all there. I don't think the solution, actually, is to ignore things that we might fear. They are there whether we want them to be or not. But when the psalmist declared here that the Lord had answered him? He had answered him by delivering him from *fear*! From *all* of his fears! How free would I feel if I knew myself to be delivered of all my fears?

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