When you have a chance to go on a road trip, what do you see?
Fun, adventure, laughter, memories to be made?
Well, this weekend one of my children had a chance to go on a road trip but what they saw was the possibility of getting car sick and not being close to home if they fell ill.
My heart ached for my child. I came beside them and listened. I tried to encourage "green light thoughts," as I call them, to counteract their "red light thoughts."
Red light thoughts
- I can't do this
- I am going to get sick
- I won't be able to go home
- This is too tough for me to handle
Green light thoughts
- I am able to this
- Yes, it has happened before but it doesn't mean it will happen again
- I will be with loved ones who will take care of me
- I was made strong enough to do this
99% of me wanted to keep my child home beside me and comfort them.
1% of me knew that was not going to help my child grow stronger...it would actually make them grow more dependent on me to comfort them rather than them learning they were made capable enough to overcome hard things, and through the process they will grow stronger in heart.
As hard as it was for me, I listened to the 1%.
My husband too came beside our child, encouraging them that they could do it, expressing they just needed to get in the car and start moving. We asked what they needed to feel comfortable in the car and provided those things for an extra layer of comfort for them.
Our child went and...
came home smiling, so grateful they made the trip!!! It was awesome to see their face full of joy and even expressing how disappointed they would have been had they chosen to stay home:-)
We were so grateful they took the leap of faith and conquered their fear.
I am grateful I have experienced anxiety myself because it has given me the ability to understand my child. I am able to come beside them to let them know everything they were experiencing - the mental confusion, the nauseous stomach, the feeling that you may self implode, the tears, etc. - was okay. I expressed how grateful I was they were sharing these feelings with me and that I completely understood all they were going through so they didn't feel alone.
Recognizing what we see, and what others see, matters.
For me, traveling by plane is a trigger. For my child that day, it was a long road trip.
Whatever your trigger may be, I invite you to:
I n h a l e a n d e x h a l e
Recognize your thoughts.
Are they red light thoughts full of fear and doubt?
- or -
Are they green light thoughts filled with truth and encouragement?
PRACTICE THINKING GREEN LIGHT THOUGHTS
Shifting our thoughts is a practice. It takes awareness, time and effort but over time, as my child and I have experienced, our minds are renewed and we able able to live fuller - freer - lives. I pray each of us grows in awareness that we are strong enough to overcome these trials and meet them with faith of knowing we are to move through the struggle and grow stronger through the process.
"Be strong and courageous for God is with you wherever you go." - Joshua 1:9
I am not saying this is will work for every person in every circumstance. I am sharing the event this weekend and how this perspective applied to this particular situation. For some people anxiety is about renewing their minds, for others its more complicated.