We all struggle with moments of anxiety. Will he like me? Can I pay this bill? Is my job at risk? These are very real concerns, and worry seems inevitable. But left unchallenged these seeds of worry take root in our thoughts and imaginations and unattractive things begin to grow: irritability, fear, headaches, heartaches, stomach aches and more.
However, as anxious as you and I can be, there is one segment of the population that has us beat, hands down. Foster children. Research shows that over 80% of these children can be anxiety ridden, stressed, depressed, developmentally delayed, and behaviorally disturbed. Having spent years counseling these children I understand why.
Picture Susie. Pulled from her parents’ home due to extreme abuse, she is whisked away in the middle of the night and placed in a home with complete strangers. She wants them to like her and so the pressure is on. She smiles, she helps, she represses her anger, and attempts to present a perfect front at every turn.
Eventually, no matter how hard she tries, Susie will crack under this intense, self-imposed pressure. She will act up or shut down, and inwardly the anxiety will grow and grow. Through no fault of her own, she has entered a performance based world. Potential foster parents or adoptive parents will accept her or reject her based on how she looks, how she acts, and the abilities she has. A foster child has to “earn” her way, look out for herself, find ways to meet her own needs, and plan for her own future. It’s a very hard world.
Spiritual Foster Children
I often live as a spiritual foster child. I live as if God’s love was conditional, fickle, and His affection has to be earned. I rush out to meet my own needs. I grab what I want before it goes away. I hide my true feelings hoping God and others will approve. And I fear an apparently uncertain future. It’s no wonder I am anxious. As a spiritual foster child, my actions say, “If it’s going to be, it’s up to me.” But nothing could be further from the truth.
Child of the King
With a sense of sacred awe, the Apostle John tells us this, Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God! I John 3:1 (NKJV).
I am not a foster child. I never again have to live on a performance basis. I am an adopted, beloved daughter of the King.
As children of the King, we are not on our own. We don’t have to depend on our own resources, for our Father is very rich. We don’t have to scheme and make our own plans because our God is all wise. We can lay pretense aside since we are eternally loved. We have no cause to ever worry or be filled with anxiety for God is our Father and He is the King.
Can a woman forget her nursing child
And have no compassion on the son of her womb?
Even these may forget, but I will not forget you.
Isaiah 49:15 (NASB)
Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.
I Peter 5:7 (NIV)
Rejoice! You are the beloved child of God.
Digging Deeper: Understand the bondage that comes from living as a foster child. Hear first hand the freedom that can be yours as you daily walk out your spiritual adoption. Arm yourself with practical tools to live a life free from crippling anxiety and performance-based living.
- Explore the root of all anxiety
- Hear how embracing spiritual adoption transformed one woman’s life
- Embrace and savor God’s peace in your life
Hear Kim’s teaching on “Overcoming Anxiety”
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