5 Ways to Avoid Being a Helicopter Parent (part 4)- Takeaways from Helicopter Mom by Bethany L. Douglas

Oh dear friends you’re almost there! I do hope that these little excerpts from Helicopter Mom have driven you to find out more about how <not> to be a helicopter mom! This series is by no means a complete synopsis of the book, rather meant to give you some go-to tools to start you on your journey towards a fear-free parenting lifestyle.

If you missed the first three blogs, check them out here:

Intro

Trauma Drama

Medical Mayhem

Now on to this week’s blog which will be a couple of chapters rolled into one. Another major issue, actually THE major issue that I’ve found helicopter parents deal with is the big C word.

CONTROL, CONTROL… WHO’S GOT CONTROL?

We like getting it, we like taking it, we like wielding it, we like having it.

Helicopter parents are total control freaks. #sorrynotsorry #truthbomb

We like to think that we can control the small universe of our children. We like to think we can alter their destiny. We like to think we have the ultimate say in their little lives.

We’re wrong.

So, let’s take a quick closer look at this control-thing… or as I like to call it what it is…. a complete facade of illusion (DElusion) of who’s in charge. We did some redecorating last week, now its time to step aside and let the actual pilot-in-command take the controls.

I tend to be a bit of a control freak &lt;though I’m much better than I used to be!&gt; but at the

same time, I know when to say when. I know that there are times and places and things that I

need to hand over control to someone else. Like actually flying a helicopter…

People who see me in my flight suit will almost always say, “Ah, so you fly the helicopter?”

No. Uh uh. Absolutely not. You wouldn’t want me trying to fly anything! Not my thing, not my

skill set. I like my life and would really like to stay alive for a while longer. Nope. The whole

piloting thing I tend to leave to the pilots.

Let me be frank- I’m smart, I’m talented, I’m educated, and people like me (Stewart

Smalley anyone?) I’m NOT a pilot and I cannot fly a helicopter. In one yes, actually controlling

one, no. And I have to be okay with that! In fact, I am VERY okay with that!

Not, however, a good friend of mine.

My person, who is an amazing lady (and shall remain nameless but you know who you are),

absolutely hates to fly. Any and all modes of aviation, she just cannot handle it. It gives her

anxiety attacks to even talk about flying. And if you were to ask her why, it’s all about control.

She will tell you that she doesn’t like not seeing the ground, not knowing what is happening in

the cockpit, not having control over the aircraft, not being able to be in a position to ‘handle’ any

emergencies that may arise. I really think she legitimately thinks she could help. Have I

mentioned that my friend is not actually a pilot? Yet, she feels the need to control the place, the

destination, the altitude, etc. Not. Even. Joking.

Anybody relate?

Perhaps in a different area of their lives?

Maybe with fearing loss of control over their children? Worst. Nightmare.

I’m hearing resounding amen’s…

I think it may be safe to say that every mother’s absolute worst nightmare is to lose

control of her kids. In whatever way that manifests itself- be it kidnapping, lost at the zoo, lost to

drugs, taken off to exile by terrorists, growing up and not needing us anymore. Really any

situation, big or small, that we can’t immediately and directly control makes us nervous… and

we fear those times greatly. We can’t handle the idea of letting go control, or worse, having it

taken from us. It’s terrifying!

But Bethany, it can’t be all bad right? We take control because we have to, right? No one

else will. No one else loves and cares about our children as much as we do right? No one

understands what they mean to us. No one will ever take as good of care and love them like it do.

I know best. I can. I will. Is it just me or is this starting to sound familiar? Control, control,

control. I, me, mommy- am the end all, be all, to my kid’s safety, security, health, protection, and

destiny. Anyone feel that way? Be honest.

So, what do we have here? What we have here is pride. We are the momma, we are the

caregiver, we are the protector, the preventor, and the provider. We have placed ourselves

squarely in the pilot’s seat of our helicopter- convincing ourselves that we know best how to fly

the aircraft. We fear losing control so what do we do? We take MORE control. Makes sense….

Or not at all.

I would be a fool and very dead to try to think I could really do much to help fly the

helicopter. (excerpt from Helicopter Mom, ch. 6)

I’m not a pilot. As the book discusses, just because I’ve flown thousands of hours IN a helo doesn’t mean I can FLY a helo. Big difference!

And, dear ones, just because you’re IN your kid’s lives, doesn’t mean you can CONTROL your kids lives. Only God can do that. Somewhere along the line, we’ve gone from being a caregiver for our children, while assisting God in His plan for their lives as best we can- to taking those reins from Him and leaving Him and His wishes in the dust.

We’ve taken God off the throne and put ourselves and our wills there instead.

Ouch.

This is the spiritual equivalent to me telling my pilot how to fly a helicopter. Me… who has zero training or experience in doing that. Me… who has no business dictating to a higher officer how things are going to go.

It just doesn’t happen.

So what to do now? It’s time to give controls back to the One who is actually IN control. Let us take ourselves out of the picture a good bit… exiting stage left to allow for more of Him and less of us. Dear ones, I know it is not an easy thing to ask; giving control of your children’s lives and well-being to another. But this is The Other… really the Only.

For this last bit, I need you with me. We have some more work to do- and this may be the

hardest part- not because we’re sacrificing ourselves to the cause, but we’re giving up control of

our kids. Our most precious children need to be given back to the One that really IS able to care

for them the best. It’s not us, ladies! It’s not their dad’s, their grandparent’s, pastors, teachers,

coaches, or family members. “Can a mother forget the infant at her breast, walk away from the

baby she bore? But even if mothers forget, I’d never forget you – never. Look, I’ve written your

names on the backs of my hands…. As sure as I am the living God,” God’s Decree.

Isaiah 49:15-18 MSG

God- the Pilot in Command. He is the One in control. He is the One to best take over the

controls out of our white-knuckled, cold, over-my-dead-body hands. Will you let Him?

Meditate on these questions this week. How much of a control freak are you? How much are your expectations (fears!) dictating to God how things are <supposed> to go? This is a faith-game friends. There is no faith-building without faith-testing, and I can think of literally no harder or better thing to trust God with than our own kids.

Give them to Him…

And I’ll meet you back here next week for a few more thoughts!

For more lots more reading and much greater insight into all this please don’t hesitate to grab a full-copy of Helicopter Mom, available in ebook and paperback from my website and Amazon.

5 Ways to Avoid Being a Helicopter Parent (part 3)- Takeaways from Helicopter Mom by Bethany L. Douglas

Okay, so here we are. Blog three is comin’ at ya in this series based on Helicopter Mom about fighting fear for our kids and being fearless in our lives and parenting. If you happen to miss the first two blogs, check the first out here and number 2 here.

Thus far we’ve acknowledged that there is, indeed, an actual problem of fear in our lives, and we’ve started dissecting out some of the reasons that this fear is so pervasive. Last week’s blog focused on what we focus on… the kinds of fear-mongering shows, books, movies, music, etc. that we put into our minds. These kinds of images and ideas take our focus off of the One who deserves it most. The fear drives us to worry instead of the cross, it focuses our attention and minds on things of this world, not on things of the Almighty.

So we have a renewed focus. Check.

Now it’s time for some redecorating. And I do mean we’re changing the very scenery of our souls…. we need to clean out the idols we’ve erected all around us.

Medical Mayhem

We live in a society that flourishes with knowledge and with intellect. We have at our

fingertips the vast data of all scientific studies and medical breakthroughs; article upon article

about history, religion, science, politics, and economics. We have access to more knowledge than

has ever been accessible in the history of man about subjects that are only still newly discovered.

There is so. much. knowledge.

As parents, we obsess about the best food, the smartest doctor, the safest car seats,

immunizations, the most eco-friendly wood to use on the playhouse, whether or not the udders of

the cow were shaved when they produced that organic, raw, partially soy almond milk you just bought

<actually I conversation overhead at a mom’s group the other day- I kid you not!>. We

read books, skim articles, become members of mom chat rooms, watch YouTube videos, pour

over parenting books, take out subscriptions to magazines, join Facebook pages, and attend

seminars. We get a special plaque from WebMD quarterly as a most-valued costumer.

<Kidding, those don’t exist! At least I don’t think they do>, All to attain more knowledge; to

gird ourselves with the safest, the healthiest, the best. And then we can back up our craziness

with 1400 articles from Google and our Mommy-and-Me blog that will all prove us right…

because we can! You get my drift? We are both blessed with such knowledge and absolutely

cursed by it. Because the cold, hard fact is we think we know best.

Knowledge is fine. In fact knowledge is great! Don’t get me wrong. I’m just putting forth

the idea that man’s wisdom will always be imperfect. Thus we need to look at it for what it is.

MAN’S WISDOM. I have no issue with researching stuff. I have no issue with making sure

we’re giving our children the most appropriate upbringing. But consider the source! Unless the

source of your decision making is Christ you are in dangerous territory my friend- and very

foolish territory to boot. If you spend more than 5 minutes researching “sore toe” in WebMD,

guaranteed you’ll eventually find out it’s probably Ebola. I promise it’s not!

We live constantly bombarded by tales of woe and tribulation because of this or that. Faulty

knowledge, man’s knowledge, knowledge we too often stake our claim on. Antibiotics or

probiotics, to vaccinate or not to vaccinate, dairy is good/dairy is bad,

paleo/vegan/Adkins/SouthBeach, to oil or not to oil, there’s glass in the juice boxes, there’s fecal

matter in the water, there’s a fly in the ointment, etc. etc. etc. The news no longer delivers news,

now we’re hard-pressed to hear any story about something happy. It’s all bad, all the time. Some

of it is real, some of it is faulty. How often do we take it all at face value though? Can I get an

amen? No wonder we lose sleep at night! The world around us is a scary place!

We have failed to protect our brains and now they are contaminated with filth from our

eyes (see blog 2 of this series) and false-gods from our knowledge. Again we’ve internalized an attack

from the Enemy that has been allowed grow and fester into unrealistic fear and at the same time

prideful knowledge. In most cases, as is cancer to the body, it has grown insidiously in our

minds. I would even argue it’s metastisized to our hearts. We too often place trust and faith in the

man’s knowledge. We’ve conditioned ourselves to run to that knowledge first- to take comfort in

that website first, to check our magazine articles first. It has a place of honor in our lives, and

thereby the lives of our children. And like the Israelites waiting on Moses in the desert, when

God tarried in showing up to them, they turned to something more “concrete”- man’s inventions,

man’s reasoning. My sisters… we are guilty of the very same thing. Hear me out, man’s

knowledge is fine but fallible. Our calling as Believers is to a higher knowledge- a more pure,

infallible way of thinking. (excerpt from Helicopter Mom ch. 5)

Dear friends- we have put idols on our thrones. Idols of knowledge, of learning, of (man’s) wisdom. We run too quickly too often to that which is not of God to fix our woes. And then wonder why the answers don’t stick…

So what to do? I would suggest a re-prioritizing of fear-mitigation. Instead of going to that webpage, that chat group, that book… seek FIRST God’s wisdom, pray FIRST about your worries, read FIRST about it in your Bible. This is not rocket-science people! Don’t oil first, pray first. Don’t google first, open your Word first.

I’m not saying that knowledge from the world isn’t helpful, I am saying let God bring it to you as you seek Him through your fears. Put Him in His proper place…. FIRST in our lives! Take the idols that we seek for and acknowledge too much… down. Don’t use God as a back-up in case everything and everyone else doesn’t work.

He’s not a “when all else fails” kinda guy. He’s a “I will never fail” kinda God.

Give man’s knowledge it’s due (which let’s be honest, is very little…) and start giving some real weight to what God would say, what He would instruct, how He would lead. Forget what the internet says, what your best friend says, what the family member says… find out FIRST what God would say.

Here are some questions to consider-

What or who reigns heavy in your decision-making?

When you worry about something for your children, what most effectively calms your fears- advice, books, WebMD, other moms, God?

What CAUSES you more anxiety?

We need another day of confession about this. Ask for forgiveness for placing idols ahead of God. Ask for help in keeping Him at the center of your life, asking Him for wisdom and guidance, looking to Him for calming of your fears. Look to nothing else sister!

You’ve stopped the distractions so you can look at the right area. Now put the right Person in the right place.

But regarding anything beyond this, dear friend, go easy. There’s no end to the publishing of books, and constant study wears you out so you’re no good for anything else. The last and final word is this:

Fear God. Do what He tells you. And that’s it. Eventually God will bring everything that we do out into the open and judge it according to its hidden intent, whether it’s good or bad.

Ecclesiastes 12:12-14 MSG

You’ve got this! See ya back here next week!

But regarding

anything beyond this, dear friend, go easy. There’s no end to the publishing of books, and

constant study wears you out so you’re no good for anything else. The last and final word is this:

Fear God. Do what He tells you. And that’s it. Eventually God will bring everything that we do

out into the open and judge it according to its hidden intent, whether it’s good or bad.

Ecclesiastes 12:12-14 MSG

5 Ways to Avoid Being a Helicopter Parent (part 2)- Takeaways from Helicopter Mom by Bethany L. Douglas

Wahoo! You came back for more! I’m super proud of you because this fear-stuff is no joke. I hope you’ve had a great week of hashing out with God the amount and kind of fear you have. If you missed the first blog in this series about overcoming helicopter parenting, please check it out here. For those caught up though, let’s get to it!

Last week we worked on simply acknowledging that there, in fact, IS a problem. That’s a huge step. Getting to say the words out-loud is no small thing. This week we’re going to take the next step and identify some of the reasons we fear. In my book, I go into great detail about many of these roots but for this blog we’ll just skirt them a bit. (For the complete read, please grab yourself a copy of Helicopter Mom <shameless plug>. I promise it will revolutionize how you deal with fear!)

These next 3 blogs will all address certain factors in overcoming fears- call them fear-mongers if you will. These are the WHYS of fear as well as the answers to fixing them. As you read, see which ones strike a cord with you…

Trauma Drama

Friends, our minds are simply filled with trash- with blood, guts, goo, rape, violence, abuse, profanity, nakedness. The list of what we intake daily (by choice!) is crippling our souls and infecting our hearts.

Our culture adores blood and guts for some

reason. They get a kick out of the horror of it or the heartbreak of it. Walking Dead anyone?

They love the freakish nature of terror and letting the worst parts of their imagination get the

better of their sanity. Americans go in droves to theatres to be entertained by the morbid.

Weird… and wrong.

So much of our battleground fighting fear is in our minds. In our imaginations. And I

believe women, the female gender, is especially prone to breaks in the protection for our minds.

We, more often than men, live in our imaginations. The fight is for control of our thoughts. And,

gals, our thoughts are too often out of control! These blood and guts visions are not unlike those

distracting injuries I spoke of earlier. They are gory and scary and often can distract us from

what we should be working on. We are losing the battle for our minds because we obsess over

the fear and lose sight of the faith.

Mom’s fear trauma. We fear blood, broken bones, broken backs, broken heads, broken

hearts <yes, it’s a thing> broken skin, broken fill-in-the-blank. Our blood turns cold to think of our children

laying in the middle of the street having been run over by a car. Our heart stops

when we see them fall down the stairs and we’re sure their neck is snapped in two. Our thoughts

explode and tears spring up in our eyes to imagine them drowning in the pool. We are terrified of

these things! They keep us up at night and haunt our dreams. They cripple our days. One stray,

random thought can hijack an entire afternoon. One ill-placed news article on Facebook can

overcome our sense of the realistic and plunge us into the fatalistic. One sad scene from a tv

show can alter how we approach a certain situation. And before we know it we are already in

deep mourning for our child that has died some horrific death- if only in our (overactive)

imaginations.

We are masters of destruction in our own minds! We’ve become distracted by the

injuries. We have become slaves to fear- slaves to the vibrancy of our imaginations.

It’s time sisters, to acknowledge our pitiful state. It’s time to acknowledge we have not

been diligent in protecting ourselves from fear and worldly thinking. We have blurred the lines

between real and make-believe: by not taking every thought captive to Christ, by allowing death

and dismemberment into our heads as a way of entertainment, by allowing the images of gore in

our culture to permeate our minds, by allowing the fear of fictional situations and stories to play

out in our daily, non-fictional lives. (excerpt from Helicopter Mom ch. 4).

Oh friends! How filthy our minds have become! We intake the most horrendous things and then wonder why we fear that which we regularly and intentionally watch. It’s confounding when you think about it. Satan is using these shows, books, movies, etc to distract us from reality. Better yet, he’s using the make-believe to keep us pondering ‘what-ifs’ not the ‘here-nows’.

Distraction is never a good thing when it takes our focus off of Christ. EVER. He is a

jealous God and demands 100% all the time, every time. This is hard enough to do in a perfect-

case scenario let alone when we’re battling demons from our imaginations. I would venture to

say it’s impossible! So let’s start clearing out the trash, the blood, and the guts from our homes,

our families, our lives, and our own imaginations. This is indeed, a bloody mess, but let’s hang

out here for a bit. Look at it for what it is. Identify what it is, what it causes. You have to know

what you’re stained with in order to know what cleaner to use right mom.

So today we’re going to work on cleaning up and cleaning out.

What needs to go?

What do you need to examine in your life/mind that is creating distraction between you and God?

What shows, movies, books, music are you intaking that needs to go?

Are you a glutton for sob-stories and fatalistic accounts?

Are you filling your mind with scary and frightening images?

God calls us to a much higher standard than the world. We simply cannot dwell within in like the rest of the world.

bibleversestogo.com

Philippians 4:8 - 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.

True

Noble

Right

Pure

Lovely

Admirable

These are high standards… are you meeting them?

Before we go to next week, we need confession and cleaning. Ask God to clean our your mind. Ask for help and accountability to avoid that which is contaminating your spirit. Fear needs no additional help from ourselves feeding it. Have our Father renew your mind and I promise all this distraction will not be for much longer.

Cant’s wait to see you back next week!

5 Ways to Avoid Being a Helicopter Parent (part 1)- Takeaways from Helicopter Mom by Bethany L. Douglas

Okay, so it occurred to me the other day that although I’ve published an entire book about helicopter parenting and how to avoid being one, I’ve never really written a blog about it. So, in order to wet your whistle I’ve decided to condense the book into a few super helpful (and more importantly, BIBLICAL) tips on how to ‘not be that parent.’ This will be an short blog series that I’m super excited to bring to you, hopefully you will gain insight into yourself as well as your fear behaviors. More importantly I pray that you will be inspired to LIFT instead of hover! .

We all know them, some of you ARE them… helicopter parents.

As some of you may know, I <sort of> know a thing or two about this particular phenomenon. Being a flight nurse for a number of years gave me an extremely unique perspective on the helicopter mom thing. And oh! dear ones… it is most definitely a thing… and a growing thing at that. Following the launch of Helicopter Mom I heard from all manner of helicopter grandparents, helicopter dads, helicopter wives, helicopters bosses, helicopter husbands… literally the list is almost endless. There are people hovering all over the place!

As it turns out, everyone on the planet has fears. Which is the crux of what Helicopter Mom is about- facing fears for your children (or fears of fill-in-the-blank…) and pushing past them so that we can LIFT! But for those who haven’t yet read the book, I’ve condensed it for you (I highly encourage you to get yourself an actual copy though, I’ll even autograph it for you!)

So, without any further ado, here’s 5 takeaways from the book that will help all you hoverers out there. (Stay tuned for all the follow-up sister-blogs to this one!)

Acknowledge the REASON for the hovering behavior.

Fear is a funny thing. It manifests as worry, anxiety, co-dependency, love at times, abuse at others. None of it’s manifestations is healthy or of God however.

I remember, before having my boys, my younger sister talking to me about the overwhelming

fear she had experienced as a new mom. I had not yet had my own children, so I had no personal

experience to base her reports, but I had been around enough new parents as a nurse that I could

at least empathize with her musings. Then I had my first son…. And suddenly a dark cloud of

fear came into my field of view almost immediately. Like storm clouds in the distance, the

horizon suddenly became dark… and as I held my newborn child, Jesse, I suddenly felt fear

unlike I’d known before. Fear for his life, for his health, for his walk with Jesus, his first scrape,

his first heartbreak; fear for potential car wrecks, drowning, kidnapping, tornadoes, dog bites,

tick bites, spider bites; fear of future addiction, future relationships, future grades in school,

future illness, future sports losses; fear for rug burns, wrestling bruises, choking on hot dogs,

falling out of trees, eating poisonous house plants… well, you get the idea. In one fell swoop, I

was terrified, stricken, paranoid, and basically rendered into a blob of new-mom goo. After all,

being an actual helicopter mom, I’ve seen the worst of the very worst happen to kids…. Believe

me, I guarantee you some of my peds calls can rival your worst nightmares! And now I had my

very own kid to raise, keep safe, keep fed, keep healthy… basically keep alive. All of a sudden, this mom

thing was looking a bit out of my league… actually I was thinking it was not even in

my universe.

Anybody relate?

As if these (technical) possibilities of maiming, dismemberment, horrific death, and slow

parasitic wasting away by some remote Pacific island virus carried by a previously unknown

species of albino snail was not enough- my mind was completely unprepared for the absolutely

sick and twisted visions I would have occasionally of me accidentally causing death to my son. It turned

my blood cold that such musings would pop into my head. I seriously though there was

something seriously, seriously wrong with me. Surely I was, in actuality, the worst mom/human

being/wife on the planet! Who thinks such things? It’s one thing to be paranoid, it’s quite another

to envision yourself causing the hurt. Lord Jesus, I thought! What is wrong with me??

Anybody relate?

And yet, even in the midst of these visions, feeling these feelings of inadequacy and

incompetence… I also, just as vehemently, decided that I, and I alone could protect my son from

all these things. I would protect him from the big, bad world out there. And, perhaps, in my

biggest shortcoming and display of pride, decided that I could protect him from the big, bad

world out there. He was mine, my very own, my son, my precious (cue Gollum voice...); and I

was going to ensure his forever safety- come hell or high water. Makes perfect sense right? I

should’ve won the award for most delusional and hypocritical mother for 2012.) <I’m pretty sure

I was at least nominated… I’ve yet to receive any official letters about it though.>

Reading about my mindset on paper clarifies the absolute absurdity of my feelings. Yet, in

the moment, at the time, and I suspect for many of you, these thoughts and attitudes, oxymoronic

as they are, seemed totally legit. And how much do those delusions still dictate and shape our

lives?

This is a scary book to write but I imagine for those of you who live in the fear of the Valley

of the Shadow of Death, this book is even more scary to read. Scary because, as I’ve already

said, it addresses our very deepest and darkest fears about those we love the very most.

But I do know a thing or two about fearing for our kids. Mine and yours. Too often their lives

are in my hands… and that, my sisters, is absolutely terrifying. I know you hear what I’m saying.

Kids are petrifying. Fear for their health, their well-being, their life, their bodies, their brains,

their emotional stability… every single, little, sticky, hair on those heads is precious to us. And

damn it! we’re going to keep them fed, healthy, alive, and unharmed in any possible way

including physically, mentally, emotionally, economically, spiritually, politically,

geographically, seasonally, religiously, homeopathically, etc. etc. etc. etc.

We all know that we fear for our kids. This chapter could be an entire book by itself, talking

about talking about writing about fearing for our kids. We talk at nauseum about it. We feel

guilty about feeling guilty about fearing for them. But enough of talking about it and I’m

certainly not writing about it anymore, let’s look at it. (excerpt Helicopter Mom ch.2,)

In order to truly fix any problem we must first acknowledge that it exists right? I had a crazy hard time with publishers getting Helicopter Mom published because editors had an issue with my demographic. In the wise words of one of them, “The women who need this book most likely fall into 2 categories- either they are totally unaware that they are a helicopter mom, or they are very aware of it and proud to have the badge. You’re going to have a hard time getting people to read it.” They were not wrong. This is a systemic, western parenting issue. And yet, whether is be oblivion or a medal of honor, living in fear and the attempts to mitigate it is no way to live.

Like in all successful recovery programs, we have to admit we have a problem.

“Hello, my name is Sally Sue and I am a helicopter mom.”

Cue, “Hello Sallys” from around the room.

So, today, right here right now… let’s take a look at your fear level. This is written specifically for moms out there… but the Biblical principles we’ll apply are good for any kind of fear, worry, and anxiety.

Prayerfully consider your fear levels. Here are some questions to ponder-

Where are you on the helicopter mom scale? Do you make decisions (both for or against) out of fear?

How much time do you spend just flat-out worrying about your kids?

How much energy do you expend hovering over them (physically, emotionally, academically, etc etc etc.)?

How much of your head is partitioned off and labeled “things to worry about”?

Pray it out. Admit the problem, whether huge or small, and let’s start rooting it out! See ya next week for the next step!

If you’re like, “Yaaasss, it’s about time. I NEED this book!” I’d love to get a copy into your hands! It can be purchased on Amazon or this website (if you buy it from my website, I’d love to autograph it for you!)

Playing Hide and Seek

Lately my kids have been on a hide-and-seek kick. Generally from each other, though occasionally they just <love> to hide from me... especially when they're playing and I'm not even aware that I'm in the game.

They think it's hilarious to hide when I call them.

The other day after a particularly frustrating round of me calling and looking for my oldest (all the while not knowing she had decided it was hide-and-seek time) I came to my momma-whits-end. I had started by simply telling her it was time to get in the car. She disappeared. After 5 minutes I was generally yelling around the house telling her is was time to get in the car. After another 5 minutes I was actively searching for her and yelling even louder to come.get.in.the.car. We were late. I was frustrated. I had finally realized somewhere along the line that she was in fact, playing the game and not being <completely> disobedient.

And yet she was being completely disobedient.

And now several people would be late to a  function that would make many others have to change their plans as well.

That night my husband and I were talking over the general hide-and-seek situation. As I was bemoaning her general lack of behavior and how it vastly changed the outcomes of our afternoon, God gently reminded me that I had done the very same thing to Him... on more occasions to count.

How many times had He told me to do something and I didn't? I ran away. I hid. Like my daughter I literally went the other direction and disappeared. How much of His Word, meant for my good and instruction, have I disobeyed? Sometimes inadvertently, sometimes I was simply 'playing' a game and not listening, and other times I intentionally and purposefully didn't listen.

I was immediately convicted that my own games of hide-and-seek with my Father have (I'm sure) caused my fair share of frustration and Fatherly angst. Several situations in which I didn't do what I was supposed to ran across my memory-banks. Ugh. I wonder how many people were depending on me to obey? I wonder how much blessing I lost out on because I didn't listen to what I was told? I pondered who I made 'late' and who had to change their 'plans' because I was MIA. Innumerable I imagine.

But God is good, and even in those dark thoughts He reminded me of something else. That just like I had done for my daughter (probably a bit less angry...) He will also come looking for me. When I was lost, He came after me. Yelling my name, searching high and low.

Better yet, HE is never hard to find, because He never plays games with me. If I need Him, He is there- right there, always ready and willing to be together. There are no games, no hide-and-seek, no wondering where He could be.

In that moment and in the moments after, I have found that wonderfully reassuring. I have a God and a Father who looks for me and is always with me. He will never leave me or forsake me. He will not tire of searching for His wayward daughter, nitwit that I may be at times.

Deut. 31:8 "It is the Lord who goes before you. He will be with you; he will not leave you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed.” ESV

Jeremiah 29:13 "You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart." ESV

Isaiah 41:10 "...fear not, for I am with you;
be not dismayed, for I am your God;
I will strengthen you, I will help you,
I will uphold you with my righteous right hand." ESV

Amen and Amen!