Sunday, January 6, 2013

Breaking the Habit of Fear...

Feet pounding, breath matching the racing of heart, eyes wide open in the dark of night, she rounds the corner. Sometimes with screams, sometimes in quiet, "I scared! Monster in my cwoset!"

Feet pounding, breath matching the racing of heart, eyes wide open in the dark of night, he comes flying through the door. He is always quiet. "I am scared! Please pray for me! Can I sleep on your floor?"

Feet pounding, breath matching the racing of heart, eyes wide open in the dark of night, she comes through the door and stands over me staring until I am startled by a person standing over me. "Mom, I am scared. I think I am going to be sick. Can I sleep on your floor?"

This has become the habit in my house. I am sure they all started for good reasons - sickness that made it hard to sleep on her own or a scary movie he watched. Maybe it is a wild imagination. Whatever it is,  it happens every single night. And I cannot stand it. It is exhausting to be woken up at least three times (that is, if I cave and agree to their demands - my bed, my floor). If I am firm and send them back to their beds, it might be up to ten wake ups. 

I am desperate for sleep. And all I can think is that these kids have a habit of fear. There is nothing that they have to be afraid of. Nothing bad has happened. We have been careful about shows they watch since this started. But somewhere along the line they embraced fear. I do not know if it is intentional, but it is happening. And I need to figure out how this is going to change. We talk before bed about plans, but all are resolved, "If I really need you, then I NEED you!" and "If I am sick what would you do?" 

So the plan of action is verses. I am working on some verses for them to memorize, so instead of immediately running to me when fear strikes, they can cling to God's promises. Because, the only one who can make the 100% guarantee of protection is God. I can give it the best I can: "I am sure it is more likely you will get struck by lightning in the house then someone breaking in to steal you." Or "If you do throw up, I will pay you five dollars, tell you I love you and send you back to bed." Those are the best guarantees I can give. But God, God can make promises, not that everything will be perfect, but that He will never leave them. 

So we are going to work on one verse at a time. The one we will say now and work on in the light of day and in the dark of night is this one:
"I will lie down and sleep in peace, for you alone O Lord, make me dwell in safety." (Psalm 4:8)
I will learn it too, so when the feet are pounding and breath is matching racing hearts and little ones come in my room in the middle of night, I can whisper it to them and walk them back to their beds. We can work together on the breaking of a a habit of fear.

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