I'll try to make this quick as I'm supposed to hit the hay. I've been sick with allergy-induced asthma and all sorts of phlegmy goodness for about a week now. Getting better. But shouldn't stay up blogging.
Had to share this gem with you.
Lil'Bro is 6. It's around this age that many kids start wrestling with fear. Pokemon Boy went through a real battle with this that was exacerbated by his anxiety disorder. Lil'Bro seems to be pretty much on par for his age.
He's becoming more aware of the world. He hangs with older kids more than PB did at this age. Simply because he is included in PB's world. He's also more saturated in a peer group at this age than PB was. So he hears all sorts of stuff from other kids of all ages.
One kid on the bus informs him that curses (like in movies) are REAL and can kill you. This same kid tells him days later that there are these certain words that, if you say them? They'll kill you! This kid needs to stop watching horror movies.
Another child regales the after school class with stories of parasites: what they are, what they can do to you (always the worst case scenarios, mind you). She informs everyone on bed-bugs later in the week. She's probably just reciting snippets from her recent viewing of something in Discovery.
Then there are the real worries of little kids like, what if something happens to mom? What if so and so dies? What if lava erupts under our house? What if a tornado hits us?
I don't want my kids to live in fear. I held on to lots of fears as a kid. I had a particular fear of "bad guys". And I'm talking stereotypical cat-burglar types, all in black with the black ski-masks, etc? Oh yah. I would have waking dreams where they'd be standing in my room with a ravenous barking dog. I'd be convinced they were outside my house, holding a single match to the corner of the house to burn my house down. Because I'm sure that's how arson is done. I was terrified of hurricanes and tornadoes. Earthquakes and volcanoes. At one point, I was terrified of the Bermuda Triangle. This, while I lived in New England.
So I get fear. And I get how it can stick to you. My mom told me she never knew to teach us kids how to pray against it. It never occurred to her.
In 2005, my small group specifically targeted fear with in-depth prayer. It was amazing. And when God broke the grip of the paralyzing fear in my life at that time, it really did feel like freedom. Oh don't get me wrong. I still wrestle with fear. Real and imagined. I don't watch the news because of how it affects my boys. But also because it's too easy to buy into the media's biased frenzy. And there are still nights when I leap onto my bed, careful not to let my feet dangle over the edge . . . just in case there's someone or something under my bed.
But now I know how to battle it. God is a God of peace. The prince of stupidity is the author of fear. And he's darn good at it. But he still can't stand against earnest prayers in Jesus' name. Nope.
So, yah. Back to the subject (my hope of brevity once again shattered by my vomitous verbosity).
I've been arming my boys for years by teaching them to pray. I've shown them God doesn't care about fancy words. There's no secret formula to "praying the right way." You just tell him what's going on. You tell him what's wrong or what you're happy about. So I tell them to tell God what's scaring them - just like they'd tell me.
Well, praying against the fear wasn't really working all that well for Lil'Bro. It's one thing to ask for it. It's another to believe it. And it's a whole other kettle of fish to receive it. Especially when you're 6.
I'm pretty sure it was my Boston small group that taught me this visualization. I would package up a problem. Wrap it up in my mind. I usually visualized wrapping it tight in brown paper and lots of packing tape. And I would give it to God. Sometimes I would lay it at the foot of The Cross, asking God to take it from me. Or I'd say I'm releasing it to you, please take it from me.
So with Lil'Bro, I told him that we're gonna box up all our fears and ask God to take them. So we do this thing. We close our eyes and hold out our hands like we're holding the sides of a box. Then I say, "God, we're putting all these fears in this box," [miming putting things in our box]. "We need help because we just can't conquer these fears all by ourselves. But we know you can. So we're putting a lid on this box," [miming the lid] "and we're releasing them to you," [miming handing it out to God]. "So God, we release these fears to you and ask you to take care of them. Because we know you're big enough to handle it for us." That's the general gist of it.
So the other night, we're doing this. And after we released the fear box to God, Lil'Bro said something like, "Let's ask God to give the box back to us filled with [mumble mumble]..." I said, "What?" because it sounded like he said something like toys. And I thought, oh boy, he's getting the wrong idea. He mumbled it again and I said, "Toys?" He goes, "No mom. Let's ask God to return the box to us filled with JOY." Oh my goodness! And here I was thinking he might not be getting the idea. I nearly hugged his head off. "Of course! Yes! Let's ask God to return it to us filled with joy!!" I had him pray that part. Which he did swimmingly. I have no doubt God did so with a big huge smile on his face.