I was attending Dave Ramsay’s Financial Peace University when a not-so-peaceful thing happened. On my way out of the restroom, I read a sign posted, “If you’re not using the lights, please turn them off.” I thought I was alone so I flipped the switch. Before the door shut behind me, I heard a shrill, fear-filled scream from inside the bathroom. It sounded like a young girl.
I hurried back in and turned on the light. “I’m so sorry,” I said to the apparently occupied stall. “I didn’t know you were in here.” I thought about that little girl’s scream for a while. The feeling of her fear lingered with me.
She was terrified by the darkness and the uncertainty of being in the bathroom in the blackness.
Are there things about motherhood that scare you stiff? Toddler tantrums, potty training, boyfriends, girlfriends, and paying for college come to mind. There are a lot of things for a mom to be afraid of. You can worry about the distant future or about what will happen in the next minutes. You can agonize about school assignments, questionable friendships, and stranger danger.
We’re afraid of what might happen in the future. Many scenarios we fear as mothers are not really motivated by any clear or present danger. We manufacture them in our own minds, like the time I pictured my children being abducted when they took a short walk around the block.
Fear can muddle your thinking, keep you from using your gifts, and cheat you out of peace. God knows we all struggle with fear. Maybe that’s why the Bible tells us more than three hundred times not to fear. In fact, “Fear not” is the most frequently repeated command in the Bible.
We can fear the inevitable disappointments in family life. Your son might not make the basketball team. Your husband could be laid off. Your daughter’s BFF may find another BFF. My friend author Karol Ladd told me about her friend who has five children, four of which are boys. When she recognized life wasn’t going to be perfect and go according to plan all the time, she started saying to herself, “Oh well.” That became her little go-to phrase. Instead of succumbing to fear or frustration, she came to terms with her daily reality. She trained herself to be flexible and to respond with “Oh well” instead of “Oh no!”
I love what Karol told me,
We’ve got to recognize that life isn’t perfect. People aren’t perfect. I think a healthy, happy mom has to take that picture of perfection off the wall and throw it away. Yes, we want to strive for excellence and do things well, but life is not going to be about having every duck in a row. We need to be okay with that. Often we want things perfect because we want safety and control. We can make our plans but the final results are up to God. A happy mom is one who has her eyes on a perfect God. She trusts Him and relaxes.
Take heart my friend. Look up to your perfect God. Then trust Him…and relax. Everything is going to be okay. You’re not in the alone in the dark. He is with you!
GIVEAWAY INFO: We are giving away a copy of Arlene’s new book, 31 Days to Becoming a Happy Mom.
Arlene Pellicane is a speaker and author of 31 Days to Becoming a Happy Mom and 31 Days to a Happy Husband. She is also the co-author of Growing Up Social: Raising Relational Kids in a Screen-Driven World (with Gary Chapman). She has been a featured guest on the Today Show, Fox & Friends, Focus on the Family, FamilyLife Today, The 700 Club, and Turning Point with Dr. David Jeremiah.
Arlene lives in the San Diego area with her husband James and their three children.
To learn more and for free family resources such as a monthly Happy Home podcast, visit www.ArlenePellicane.com