It’s hard to look around in today’s world and feel safe to let my daughter go out on her own. Thankfully she is 10 so she can’t really leave me all too often, but someday she will, and honestly, I should probably let go a little more often than I do to help prepare her (and me) while she is still young and impressionable.
I had to ask myself recently though, with all the time I spend working on anchoring myself in truth, how much am I helping to prepare her for the battles of the world, her mind, and other spiritual battles we face every day.
“For we are not fighting gainst flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spriits in the heavenly places. Therefore pu on every pice of God’s armor so you will be able to resist the enemy in the time of evil…” Ephesians 6:12-13a
In just the last few months my daughter struggled with anxiety, worry, and doubt. She is an athlete and exercise keeps her mind sharp and her confidence high, but during off season these feelings tend to creep in on her. Without sports and exercise to identify with – the only thing left to identify with was her emotions, thoughts, fears… and that is some scary stuff to deal with, no matter our age.
Two things stood out to me here:
1. Being active keeps our minds sharp and healthy, and all of us should find ways to add physical fitness because it is proven to reduce stress and anxiety.
2. There are a million and one things that keep our minds occupied, so much so, that we put our identity in the things that we DO and not into who God made us to be. It sure is easier to fill ourselves with our to-dos than to deal with the emotions that creep in or the hard things that God may be calling us to face that are too scary to deal with.
As an athlete myself, once sports stopped I struggled to find the thing or the “to do” to identify with. Losing my identity as an athlete made me feel like I lost myself. I still, to this day, identify too much with the things I do and not in the woman I am. The thing I’ve learned is that too much identity in things and actions has caused me to question my worth, wonder what my purpose is and run off into whatever direction I feel like I should be going so that I can start to feel valuable.
Identifying with things and our to-dos is a great distraction and lets us stay in a place of comfort. Unfortunately, that comfort isn’t real – it’s a false sense of security – mostly because our feelings, emotions, fears, and worries are too painful to embrace – we avoid them by doing – doing anything. We even tend to stick with things that are making us miserable because even the slightest change out of routine is too terrifying to accept. As we continue to turn to things and tasks to stay busy these ‘things’ tend to lead us to sickness, fatigue, low self-esteem, low personal worth…. we’re not living whole, bold, confident, or purposeful.
Our identity should be in Christ, not our to-do list or output
My daughter and I had many conversations about how we need to take every thought captive and make it obey the truth that God tells us. Then I realized, she doesn’t know what God tells us. I talk to her about my faith and growth, but I’ve never asked her to get into the Word and apply it to her own life.
So, we set out to memorize bible verses. The goal is 1 verse/day and we decided that every 10 verses would get a date or an at home spa and movie marathon date. We started with the armor of God in Ephesians. In just the memorization of one verse, God started to really work in her heart. She told me that she said the verse all day long, it was stuck in her head. What a blessing. Since then, she has written a catchy little song about the armor of God, memorized 10 verses, and has started to apply her verses to her day. The Lord works in wonderful ways! His word is living and active. We must put it to work within our Children and within ourselves.
I challenge you and your children to start memorizing verses and see what the Lord does in your life. You will gain wisdom, discernment, confidence, courage… Doesn’t our entire family need a whole lot more of that?
Our bodies are all we have for the rest of our lives. The foods, drinks, and the amount of movement we do directly impacts our health.
My daughter is a sugar junkie! Chocolate anything is pretty much her go to for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks. It’s amazing how cranky she gets if I put the stop to the sugar. It’s to the point now we should probably give her sugar craving a name. To beat her sugar monster we often talk about how amazingly God designed our bodies and that if we fill it with junk we will get a lazy junky reaction. But if we fill it with healthy nuritment we will get energy and confidence.
Our food makes us healthy or sick. It might not be instant sickness we see, but the long-term effects of poor nutrition will make us sick on the inside. When we feel drained, tired, lazy… there is no motivation to do the work we’ve been created to do.
As an athlete, it’s so important that my daughter is fueling her body properly with the foods and drinks she takes in. As her mom and a woman for God, it’s important that I take in food and drink that gives me the energy to endure the race set before me. Sadly, as a country, we fuel our bodies with food that fuels disease, not fuel that fuels energy. The food industry is terrifying, but that is a topic for a different day. Bottom line – what Goes in our bodies is what we will get as output.
Equipping Each Other
My daughter is equipping me as much as I’m equipping her. As we learn from one another we grow closer to each other and closer to God and his work in our lives.
God is at work, it comes down to us being aware enough to see it and join Him where he works. One place I know God is at work is in my heart as a mom and a woman for Christ and the hearts of my daughter and family. AND he is at work within you and your family too.
If you’re feeling burdened, overwhelmed, tired, frustrated, lost… you’re not alone. I feel like that all too often, but it’s been on my heart for a while that God has given us life so that we may have it abundantly. If things seem less than abundant, maybe we’re trying to do things on our own, that we are searching too hard for what we should be doing or what we don’t want to be doing. We need to open our eyes, read scripture, see where God is working and fuel our body so that we can endure the long race that is before us.
Nutrition – Body, Mind, and Soul. How are you fueling?
Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, 2 fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. Hebrews 12:1-2a