~these are the days of fearless running~
A healthy fear of the ocean is a good thing. At least I think it is.
I’m not sure what the deal was with the sand in front of our beach house this year, but it served us well. The way the sand was positioned, when the tide went out, water pooled in front of the shore. That means that at low tide, the waves crashed on shore as they usually do, but in front of that instead of just sand, was nature’s kiddie pool, a long stretch of calf-deep water.
It was great for the little ones and even the older kids enjoyed just laying in the water and playing. It was helpful when I wanted to watch the older kids jumping in or riding the waves and the little ones wanted to just sit in the pool area.
Naomi was quite fond of this pool phenomenon. She wanted to roll around in the water, pretend she was swimming by crawling through with her hands, or just sit in it. She was perfectly content to do this for longer than I really wanted to stand there watching. At one point we were not directly in front of our house and I didn’t want to sit on the shore so while she was playing, I was looking for beach treasure and watching her at the same time. I looked up after maybe 15 seconds of looking away and I see her running into the ocean behind the little pool area. And while the waves were not big by any means, she still shouldn’t have been in the sea by herself.
I ran after her, catching up to her as she was happily letting the waves roll in. Where she was standing, the waves weren’t strong enough to knock her over, but she wanted to keep going in deeper. I had to keep grabbing her hands and reminding her to be careful.
I certainly don’t want her to be afraid of the ocean. But I also want her to recognize when there’s danger and she could get hurt.
I think this is one of the areas of parenting my kids that I still struggle with. The balance of wanting them to be “safe,” but wanting them to live without fear and take risks. I feel like there is a place to to understand danger, but not to live in fear of it.
It’s like when Eliana was little and had this obsessive fear of our house catching on fire. It happened after the fire safety talk in school when she was in Kindergarten. She would ask me every night if the oven was turned off and whether or not I was going to cook anything. She wanted to go over our plan of what we would do if there was a fire. I had to reassure her 58 times a night that I wasn’t worried about our house burning down. I told her that it wasn’t likely to happen, but we just need to know what to do just in case. I didn’t want her to be afraid of it, but to be prepared just in case.
In general, I’ve lived a safe life. I made safe choices, usually choosing the practical solution. I practiced the status quo and didn’t challenge myself or others to think differently. It really wasn’t until the last few years that I started relying more on faith than myself when making choices. I now love challenging the norm and am slightly unconventional with how I live my life. I’m learning for the first time what it looks like to not be dominated by fear in making decisions. Not perfect by any means, but learning. When it comes time to make a decision, I’m learning to recognize that the right decision isn’t usually the safe one. It requires a whole lot of trust, especially when it gets deeper than you want.
I want my kids to know this and practice it at a younger age than I did. I certainly pray for their physical safety. But I want them to know that God isn’t always going to ask them to do what’s safe. In fact, most likely, if they are really listening to Him, He’s going to ask them to do things that don’t make sense, that challenge rational thinking, and might make them look a little crazy to others. I want them to understand they might make decisions that will force them to face fear and I want them to defeat it. I want them to know that going after God and following Him in obedience won’t look or feel safe all the time. But it will be a much more rewarding way to live their lives. Being obedient doesn’t guarantee a safe or straight path. Being “in the world” but not “of the world” might mean persecution at some level. But it also teaches you to trust in the Lord with all your heart. He will make you brave.
I certainly can’t expect them to understand that much less do it, unless they see it modeled for them. They need to be encouraged by people who have made those difficult decisions or have done things that take them out of the safe zone. And who better to do that than their parents.
So today I take my tip from Naomi and maybe you can too.
What do you feel like you need to do? What is God asking you to be obedient in?
If you ask my two-year old, she’ll tell you this: run fearlessly towards the waves. Remember they can knock you over. But don’t let that stop you.
What do “these days” look like for you. Simply comment with one…these are the days of…
**If you want to check out the rest of my #write31days series, you can find the link here.
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