Letting Go of Fear When It's Time to Let Go
October 5, 2012
With the hectic senior-year schedule, the college move-in date and inevitable "good-bye" may seem a long way off. But it will be here before you know it, and now is the time to prepare your own heart for that transformational event -- for your student AND for you!
Today's post was submitted by guest blogger, Carla Ritz. Carla and her husband Jason have been involved in ministry to college-aged young adults for the past 12 years in California, Tennessee, and Pennsylvania. Enjoy Carla's word of exhortation and encouragement ...
When you send a student to college, the intensity of that act of separation can and will draw out all sorts of unexpected things from the depths of a mom and dad's heart. You may find yourself feeling, thinking, and even fearing things that never gave you a moment's pause before. Or, you may find that fears you have had all along simmering just under the surface are now causes for full-blown anxiety.
Consider some of the common fears that Christian parents face when their children leave the nest:
- "He won’t succeed." – failing grades, it will be too hard for him, he won’t apply himself or live up to his potential
- "She will be victimized." – raped, molested, mugged, harmed in some emotional or physical way
- "He will be led astray." – stop going to church, believe a false doctrine, neglect his spiritual life, compromise his standards
- "She will fall into sin." – sexual activity, drunkenness, drugs, cheating, gluttony, laziness
- "He won’t be able to handle the pressure." – suicide, anxiety, depression, mental breakdown, eating disorders
- "She will fall in love too soon." – not finish school, marry too young, marry the wrong person,
- "His health will fail." – an already fragile condition will be worsened, he won’t take care of himself
- "She will resent me or not need me any more." – she won’t call home, she’ll become distant, she’ll find other role models to ask advice from and forget her family
- "He will finish college behind the game." – his chosen degree won’t land him a job, he’ll have too much debt and no job options that pay enough to help him get on top of it, lack of experience will keep him from getting jobs, he will have to move back home
- "She won't make any friends, or she'll make the wrong friends." - lonely, difficult roommate situation, friends who lead her astray
- "He won't have the resources he needs, or he'll make poor choices with money." - he won't be able to afford food, gas, insurance, tuition, books; he will squander his resources or overextend himself with credit cards and loans
These aren't thoughts any parent wants to be consumed with, and yet, most parents will find themselves filled with concern for their child(ren) around one or more of these issues.
In all of your prayers for your son or daughter as you sent them off to college, did you ever stop to think that perhaps YOU will do just as much learning and growing as your child will in the days ahead? Each of these common fears are rooted in an underlying view of God or self that is inaccurate and needs to be corrected.
If God doesn't give us a spirit of fear (2 Timothy 1:7), then when we are experiencing fear, we need to take a deep look at why. Could it be that your child heading off to college is just what it will take for God to do some work in YOUR life by teaching you important lessons as you face your fears? Ask yourself these questions and then ask God to help you answer them honestly:
- Is my fear rooted in pride? Am I concerned that if my child doesn't succeed or "turn out right" that I will be viewed as a bad parent? Am I putting too high a value on my involvement in my child's life and too low a value on God's involvement? Am I afraid of having my heart broken?
- Is my fear rooted in a false impression of God? Do I really not believe that God has my child's best in mind? Do I not really believe that He will work EVERYTHING together for my child's good and His glory? Do I believe that if something painful or devastating happens to my child that it will ruin his/her life?
Let God walk you through these fears and help you get to the root of them and begin to change your heart! As your child pursues a college degree, you can receive an education as well, one that will ultimately bring you peace and improve your relationship with your Creator and the child He created through you.
"In God I have put my trust, I shall not be afraid. What can man do to me?
Do not fear, for I am with you; do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, surely I will help you, surely I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.
Ready for a life transformation?!
Meet the author: Carla Ritz is a graduate of the University of Arizona where Baptist Campus Ministry became a catalyst for her spiritual growth during her college years. Upon graduation from U of A, Carla served as an intern in the chaplain's office at Yale University before meeting and marrying her husband, Jason, who also shared a passion for college ministry. When not sipping strong coffee and sharing life and Truth with young adults, Carla can be found trying to keep her competitive streak under control while playing board games with Jason and their son, Timothy.