The following is a transcript of the audio. Transcript has been edited for clarity.
Emily: Welcome back to Risen Motherhood. I’m Emily Jensen here, with my sister- in-law, Laura Wifler. Laura wanted me to mention that it’s my birthday today. I’m just going to go ahead to tell you guys that I’m turning 30.
Laura: The big Three O.
Emily: To commemorate the early hours of my birthday, I woke up and fed a baby [laughter] and I woke up with other kids, a couple of times.
Laura: This is 30.
Emily: This is 30 [laughter]
Laura: It’s going to be a good year.
Emily: My husband asked me what I wanted for my birthday and I was like, “I can’t think of any material thing but if you could find a way to give me 12 hours of sleep, I would take it.” That’s what the world has come to.
Laura: Well, congrats on 30 years old Emmy. That’s awesome. For the record, I am not 30 but I will be turning 30 in September. We are very close in age, if you guys were wondering how old we are. I'm still in the 20s.
Emily: Today, we are talking about your fears. Not just your fears about getting grey hair but your other fears [laughter], extreme fears in motherhood and the things that are probably pretty unlikely but sometimes they take over our mind, and it feels like it’s really bad and it’s going to happen.
Laura: It’s important to remember that today we are not talking about worrying about meal planning or what activities to sign your kids up for, which are legit things. I’m not trying to make light of them, but what we’re talking about is those bigger, like Emily said, more unlikely things. It’s a scary time to be a mom, let’s just be honest. It can feel scary with things like kidnappings, and terrorism and global warming happening. I live in Chicago so there are a lot of murders that are happening downtown or the whole like, “I have a pain in my toe. I must be dying,” these unlikely conclusions that we draw.
Emily: Last night on Facebook, when I was thinking about this episode, I literally clicked on an article that said something about, “You’re killing your children if you’re feeding them hotdogs.” It was something like that. I was like, “Really?”
Laura: Perfect example.
Emily: Then I read the article and afterwards I was like, “How many times did I feed my kids hotdogs in the last week?” [laughs]
Laura: You’re not going to be able to feed your kid a hotdog, without worrying if you’re killing them inside. That is why it can feel like a scary time. It’s exactly what Emily said. The access to information that we have right now with Facebook, for example.
Emily: Facebook is crazy these days.
Laura: I had to start going through it and saying, “See less from this brand.” Because I could not handle the amount of fear-centric articles and I was like, “I don’t want to know about that.”
Emily: Here’s the thing too. It’s always people who post their opinions and they're not experts. So now we’ve got fear-mongering articles in front of our face 24/7 on the news, all over the internet, and you have a bunch of non-expert people speaking into these situations and it can start to feel like, “What is going on in the world?”
Laura: I’ve heard from so many people saying, “Our world is going to fall part. It’s so much worse than it’s ever been.” It’s just interesting to me because I’m like, “Well, it’s not really worse than it’s ever been. It’s that you hear about literally every bad thing that ever happens.” You hear about it now, whereas before, you lived in a bubble because there was no 24/7 news cycle. Remembering even in Biblical times, there was persecution, slaveries, gladiators, fights to the death of humans!
Emily: I know.
Laura: Kidnapping, people doing whatever they wanted to do it, these crazy politics. There is nothing new under the sun.
Emily: Yes, I’ve just been spending some time reading through the Old Testament and literally, I’m shocked at how similar it is but even how much worse it sounds than where we live. I’m like, “Wow, I’m glad those are not our problems.” One little walk through the Bible or a history lesson would tell us, this is normal humanity. The things that are going on in our world have been going on since the fall, which I won’t jump into right now.
Laura: It’s fine. Let’s get to the gospel. [laughter]
Emily: It’s just that sin entered the world and now everything is broken. Everything is impacted by sin and so we live in this fallen world, but God sent Jesus and so we are counting on Him for His ultimate justice to be done. The punishment for sin and all of the suffering that has happened was placed on Jesus. We cannot even imagine what that was like. Now God is working out His perfect plan and Jesus is going to return.
Somebody said to me one time, “Hey, we feel like the world is spiraling out of control but it’s really coming into place.” This is God’s plan. All of these things that are happening, we can hope and we can have confidence and we can almost look at it feeling like, “Yes, it’s awful and it’s hard but this is part of God bringing about His ultimate justice and His ultimate grace for us.” One day, I don’t how it’s all going to work out but we are going to look back and be like, “Wow, we want to worship and glorify God forever because of what a wonderful story He played out, and the salvation and the justice, and everything that happened.”
Laura: It’s really important to remember that when we’re worrying about these things, we’re making God smaller. We’re not looking at Him as He truly is. We’re not believing who the God of the Bible is. A God that values us enough to sacrifice His own son, who took all of the wrath, all the suffering. The one person who shouldn’t have had a hard life, or any suffering or anything bad happen. He took everything - and that is how much God loves you!
When we worry about those things, we are totally negating the gospel and not even placing any value on it. I think it’s important to remember things like, God made flowers because they are beautiful. He literally made something to grow up to be beautiful for a short term, and die again simply for our enjoyment. How much more does God love you and want you to understand that - when He would just make a simple flower for you?
Emily: Another thing - we live in a culture and in a time that wants life to be as easy and as comfortable, and as convenient as possible. As people, we can sometimes pursue that and when we hear all these things, we think, “Oh, this is going to mess up my plan for my kids’ lives,” or, “If this happens, this is going to be the worst thing ever.” We need to remember that the God we follow had His own son sacrificed. That probably wasn't in Mary's, Jesus' mom, perfect plan to stand and watch her son be tortured and shamed, and spit on, and killed but that was God’s good will.
We need remember, and this is a hard, hard truth for us to swallow as moms, that God has not promised us an easy life but God has promised that He will do everything for our good, and for His glory. And we can trust Him in that. Sometimes His good does not look the way we want it to. When we’re having these fears or we’re worried about what will happen, there is that element of saying, “No matter what happens, even if it is this irrational fear that I’m having, I have to trust that God can redeem everything. That God is going to be over everything and that God is going to sustain me through that, and help me face that, whatever that is.”
Laura: I think that the concept of future grace is something that has always sustained me. Every time I get down the path, no matter what type of worry, when you start thinking ahead in the future, remember that God’s grace is meeting you. That’s all that you have and all that you need. Worry isn’t going to change tomorrow. God will give you that grace to face whatever it is in the future. The reason you can’t comprehend, “How in the world am I going to face that if that happens?” The reason you start getting in a tizzy when you start allowing yourself to go down a path of any type of fear, is because you have not been granted the grace to deal with that yet.
I’m amazed as I watch friends walk through trials and I’m like, “Oh my goodness, I have no idea how I would handle that. I would be a wreck. How are they so at peace?” That is because they are looking to the Lord and they are resting in that grace that has been arranged and set forth for them; at that perfect time. So we don’t need to worry about things that may not happen at all, and how we would deal with that because God is going to help us to deal with that at the right time.
Emily: One thing that comes to my mind sometimes and that I have been struggling with recently, is that my children will do something or go through something bad someday. All of a sudden, my brain hops about 15 years in the future and I am like, “That child is going to be kicked out of school forever for bullying,” [laughter] or, “This child is going to have this other big health issue or something.” I just have to remember what the Lord has asked me to do today. He has said, “Emily, faithfully discipline this child today. That’s all I’ve asked you to do, and all I’ve asked you to worry about is the fact that this child is hitting your other child. Just deal with that.” [laughter]
Don’t deal with what’s going to happen in 13 years or whatever because you don’t know. I think we just have to stop ourselves. That would be one of the one ways we would say to combat this is just stop thinking about. Just cut that path off.
Laura: Okay, so what does that look like? That looks like saying, when we feel the worry coming, "Wait. No. I’m worrying. I’m going to go think about something else.”
When people say, “Just stop,” I'm always like, “That’s impossible,” as a woman, I’m like, “No way.” But really, what I’ve learned is that my brain is always thinking and so I need something else to think about. I will say, “Think about good things,” A lot of times my illogical fears come out at night and I’ll be spiraling down a path of something scary, and then I’ll try to think of a good memory from that day, or try to think about something fun that’s happening the next day.
But even better, if I were really on top of it, I would have a verse that would say, “Hey, this is what I’m going to think about,” Like Matthew 6:25-34 - amazing verses about not being anxious. We’ll probably link to a couple of these in the show notes but remembering scripture to say, “Hey, this isn’t what I’m going to do because I don’t need to, because I have nothing to fear, because I have God on my side.” Having those things and then redirecting your thoughts is key.
This is the battlefield of the mind, moms. We are at war with our own minds and so that’s where you want to come armed, equipped, ready to fight, and that looks like something as simple as changing what you’re thinking about.
Emily: If you’ve heard our Quiet Time episode, you should definitely go back and listen to that because that is where we build up this foundation of, when we are spending time in God’s word. If you haven’t read anything in scripture, you don’t know any truth. Any situation is going to be really difficult because that is where the Holy Spirit works for us, pulling some of those things out of our minds and our hearts to remind us of truth.
This is a practical thing but I have to stop reading stuff and stop watching stuff sometimes. I’m not going to advocate for being sheltered. I know there are some good things about being aware of the hardship that’s going on in the world, but for each of us, we have to use discernment. If you are feeling continuously anxious or continually concerned or it’s causing you to really freak out, or if you have those hot button things in your life that if somebody talks about, you really get defensive, it may be time to back off clicking articles on Facebook.
Laura: Those are super good tips. It's a lot of irrational worries. For example, I totally looked this stat up and I was like, “Okay, my kid has more of a chance of getting in a plane crash than being kidnapped.” I get on a plane with them about four times a year.” Just looking at the illogicalness or just the very unlikeliness of these things that we allow ourselves to spiral down with, that simple fact alone should hopefully help abate some of those fears.
But ultimately, God is the only one who can transform your mind in His word. We want to encourage you today to take control of your mind and not allow it to go down these rabbit trails. When you do so, you’re not trusting in who God is and believing in the God of the Bible. Go forth today-
Emily: …With hope that God is going to fulfill all of His promises and yes, go hang out with Him.
Laura: Yes, do that [laughter] and happy birthday Emily. Thanks for joining us ladies.