Day 2: “Don’t Take Counsel From Your Fears”

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This post is part of a 31 day series. Go here for Day 1, the intro post.

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Don’t take counsel from your fears.

Stonewall Jackson spoke those words over a hundred and fifty years ago. He was talking about fear during a time of civil war but that bit of truth applies whenever we’ve governed by fear and anxiety instead of courage and trust.

A recent amazon search using the words “homeschool public school” offered up a list of books. Here are some of the words I found in the titles of those books: blood, enemy, dread.

I wish I were joking.

Fear is a powerful motivator when it comes to making decisions about school. Truly, there’s so much at stake – safety, academic success, future opportunities based on that success, peer influences, the type of education they’ll receive, the indoctrination of beliefs that are not our own.

But how can we be thoughtful and sober-minded about our decisions instead of afraid?

Step 1: Recognize that Fear is a bully.

  • Fear can paralyze you, blind you, and make you reactionary instead of proactive.
  • Fear elevates the ideal and discounts the “real.” Common sense and practicality matter. But Fear keeps you pining for perfect.
  • Fear hints that maybe you’re getting it wrong.
  • Fear discounts the all-important variable that each family is wonderfully different.
  • Fear “assures” us if we choose one way, our children will inevitably escape the pitfalls of that lesser, other way.
  • Fear looks at stereotypes and generalizations and then force-feeds it to us as absolute truth.
  • Or Fear looks at a specific incident and then goes global with it.
  • Fear motivates with law and perfection and gracelessness.

 

Step 2: We recognize that God doesn’t motivate with fear. He motivates with love and grace.

As a child of God, I constantly have to remind myself that I don’t take counsel from my fears. I take counsel from the Father’s love and the truth of his Word. Scripture has a lot to say about fear but these are two of my favorite verses.

There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. {1 John 4:18}

For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind. {2 Timothy 1:7}

He has given us these things. They are ours. Today. For our decisions about school and money and jobs – everything. That doesn’t mean the answers will write themselves in the sky and it doesn’t mean that we’ll have perfect peace about a decision. It does mean that fear shouldn’t be part of the equation.

Easier said than done, right?

  • When you find out your son has been learning all sorts of unsavory words from a kid at school.
  • When your toddler has distracted you 100 times in one hour and your big kids are sitting at the kitchen table not getting the education they surely need to get today.
  • When you think there might be a learning disability.
  • When middle school looms next year and you’ve heard it’s a cesspool but the alternatives don’t seem great either.
  • When your friend’s homeschool genius kids make your public school kids look rather unimpressive.
  • When your kid’s irresponsibility has ruled out the college choices you’d counted on.
  • When your real-life options for school simply aren’t the ones you’d hoped for.

 

I write from experience, friends. These situations and so many more can send us running straight into the arms of Fear and Not Enough and Surely I’m Getting it Wrong.

But these folks are not your friends and they certainly shouldn’t be your counsel.

Run into the arms of Love. The Love of a Father who loves you as his child and who’s got your children too. You can rest here. You can keep making decisions — even though you’re unsure — and trust that He’s walking beside you.

Know where else you can rest? In the love you have for your kids. Yeah, I know it’s messy and inconsistent and sometimes clueless. It’s not perfect love. But it’s there.

Guess how I know?

You’re reading this post. Apathy wouldn’t care but you do. Love shows up and that’s what you’re doing — showing up for them every single day. It counts for so much more than you think.

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I welcome your questions and comments. What would you like to see in these 31 posts?

To read the other posts I’ve written on this topic, you can go here and find them all in one place. This series of 31 encouraging “mini posts” for the month of October will be different than the lengthier posts I’ve written in the past.

I’m linking up with The Nester and her tribe of 31 Dayers here.

To see all the posts in the Cool About School 31 Days series, go here.

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Comments

  1. says

    Fear is such a bully. This is just the word I needed, even today. Thank you for sharing-I need a grand dose of God’s love and to listen to his voice, instead of the voice of my fears.

  2. says

    Sadly, I let fear rule me for too long. It still tries to sneak in, but I am trying to slam the door of Love on it, hoping it won’t come back.

  3. Linda says

    Oh I so appreciate this! With a 4th, 2nd, kindergarten, and a baby my thoughts & fears are all over the place about school. What an important message you’re sharing, thank you!

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