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How to Handle Fear

What To Do With Fear

What do we do when the fear our kids vocalize is the fear we too feel inside but we can’t possibly let them see? Or when the fear they are looking for us to brush aside and write off is the same fear that keeps us up at night? What then? Below are a couple of things we can do when it comes to wrestling the fear in our lives and the lives of our kids:

1. Name the Fear.

Spell it out. Ask your kids to do the same thing. What exactly is the fear about? With each answer they/you give, follow up with: Okay, what if that happens, then what? Walk through a worst-case scenario. Talk it out. Putting words around the largest fears we all face lessens its power. That doesn’t make the thing we are afraid of less scary or less devastating, but it makes us more courageous, and it allows us to see a future beyond the thing we thought would be the end of us.

2. Properly Grieve.

Allowing yourself and your kids to lament and be sad around a fear being realized is necessary. So is feeling anger, frustration, and even a sense of helplessness. It is not weak or a lack of faith. It’s being human. Bring those emotions to God, and let your kids see you do that. Pray in the feelings that don’t feel tidy or put together, and know that not properly addressing the emotion created around what’s happened will eventually cripple you. For a healthy future, be present in the uncomfortable now. Don’t skip ahead to give a happy ending or use Bible verses to end a conversation on fear or hurt. Use them to convey messages of a God who is present in our trouble, and a healer of our hurts, and who is okay with us not feeling okay in the face of pain. Being present for your kids and others is one of the most helpful ways to help them grieve.

3. Take the Next Step.

Movement matters — physically, metaphorically, symbolically. Give yourself, and give your kids, one thing to do at a time. Begin the process of putting one foot in front of the other. The world feels big and overwhelming and scary. That’s true. Instead of hiding from it all, let’s conquer what we are going to have for dinner and then go from there. Turn off the news. Go for a walk. Vacuum the floors. Read a book. Anything. Decide what is one thing to do next, and then do it. Don’t imagine next week or next month or next year. Imagine the next minute and then go there.

4. Do What You Can Do.

We wish with every devastating news event, or personal crisis we could look at our kids and say this will never happen again because there will be better gun control, better mental health care, more suicide health lines, better-equipped relief shelters, no more natural disasters here or anywhere else, more world peace. But that’s not the world we live in. Still, we are able to do far more than many others in the world, and that is a gift. Mobilize yourself. Take the emotion the fear has created and use it for good. Donate to disaster relief funds, give blood, call your Congressman or Senator and communicate what you want to see happen legislatively, start a weekly prayer group with other parents, volunteer somewhere. We are more capable, and our kids are far more capable, than we give them credit for.

Fear is strongest when it has no foe, when it operates freely and with no boundaries. But when you put fear against courage, hope, and mobilization, it shrinks. It doesn’t go away, it doesn’t disappear, it doesn’t cease to exist in the corners of our mind or the recesses of our hearts, but it’s rendered a little less powerful than it was before.

We can’t eradicate fear. But we can put it in its place. And teach our children to do the same.

North Campus

975 S Central Expy, McKinney, TX 75070
Sunday | 10:00 AM
Thursday | 7:00 PM

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2644 E Trinity Mills Rd, Carrollton, TX 75006
Sunday | 9:00 AM + 11:30 AM
Wednesday | 7:00 PM

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