Parenting Courageously in a Fear-Driven Culture

Falling. Getting hurt. Not learning enough. Being “behind” developmentally. Causing a scene. Not fitting in. Not being happy.

Fear. It lurks around every corner. In nearly every parenting situation, fear rears its ugly head. Will we succumb to its whispers in our ears?

Fear drives much of our culture and even our economy. Marketing consultant Martin Lindstrom says that the main triggers advertisers use to coax our purchases are guilt and fear. When we step back and view these ads through that lens, it is easy to see how powerful fear is as motivator.

God is not unaware of how rampant fear is. He isn’t caught off-guard by how easily fear becomes our default mode of operation, disobedient though it may be. Yet even with how naturally fear comes to us, He has not left us to wallow in it. He provides examples of those walking in courageous obedience within His word. David records such faith in Psalm 27. Let’s look at it together.

God’s Steadfast Character

The Lord is my light and my salvation;
Whom shall I fear?
The Lord is the strength of my life;
Of whom shall I be afraid?
When the wicked came against me
To eat up my flesh,
My enemies and foes,
They stumbled and fell.
Though an army may encamp against me,
My heart shall not fear;
Though war may rise against me,
In this I will be confident.

Because of Who God is, David had no reason to fear any “mere man.” Here, David claims God as his light, salvation, and the strength of his life. He knew that God does not change. God would continuing being Who He always had been.

David’s Nearness to God

One thing I have desired of the Lord,
That will I seek:
That I may dwell in the house of the Lord
All the days of my life,
To behold the beauty of the Lord,
And to inquire in His temple.

David desired to walk closely with God, and this relationship is how he could claim God’s character in a very real and applicable way in his own life. Knowing God more and deeper was his one desire.

David Acknowledges the “Day of Trouble”

For in the time of trouble
He shall hide me in His pavilion;
In the secret place of His tabernacle
He shall hide me;
He shall set me high upon a rock.
And now my head shall be lifted up above my enemies all around me;

Therefore I will offer sacrifices of joy in His tabernacle;
I will sing, yes, I will sing praises to the Lord.

He wasn’t living in a dream world. David was acquainted with problems, struggles, strife, and yet he knew that God was “bigger” than such issues. None of those were too difficult for the Creator to handle.

David Cries Out, Confident God Will Hear

Hear, O Lord, when I cry with my voice!
Have mercy also upon me, and answer me.
When You said, “Seek My face,”
My heart said to You, “Your face, Lord, I will seek.”
Do not hide Your face from me;
Do not turn Your servant away in anger;
You have been my help;
Do not leave me nor forsake me,
O God of my salvation.
When my father and my mother forsake me,
Then the Lord will take care of me.

Teach me Your way, O Lord,
And lead me in a smooth path, because of my enemies.
Do not deliver me to the will of my adversaries;
For false witnesses have risen against me,
And such as breathe out violence.
I would have lost heart, unless I had believed
That I would see the goodness of the Lord
In the land of the living.

There is something about David’s confidence that encourages us to cry out to God in the same way. David knew that God would hear his cries and do something about them. God would do what would bring Him the most glory while not neglecting David’s needs.

The Key to Courage

Wait on the Lord;
Be of good courage,
And He shall strengthen your heart;
Wait, I say, on the Lord!

David reveals the key to courage: courage does not begin with us. Just as it all begins with God’s steadfast character, even the courage He commands us is not something we can manufacture in and of ourselves. God does not give us a spirit of fear, but of power, love, and a sound mind (paraphrase, 2 Tim. 1:7). He will strengthen us to choose to discipline our children rather than letting it slide. He will strengthen us to engage in intentional conversations about Who God is and what He has done rather than chatting on a surface level. He will strengthen us for the task He has given us.

As we seek His face, He will strengthen us. He does not command courage and then leave us to figure out how to muster enough to survive. He will empower us to live rightly, to parent courageously when the easier route for us to take would be cowering to fear.

What in parenting has God given you courage to face?

Encourage another parent today…leave your comments below!  Then share this post with a friend!

Scripture in this post from the New King James Version (NKJV). Image by CWMGary.