How to Stand Firm in Your Convictions
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The Girl Next Door has decided to:
- put her kids in public school
- quit her job
- go back to work
- switch to all organic foods
- start clipping coupons
- swear off Facebook, blogs and social media
- start her own blog dedicated to her passion
- hire a housecleaner
- fire her housecleaner and start doing the work herself and donate the savings
You name it and you are bound to run into someone whose convictions go counter to yours and tempt you to doubt your own priorities, goals, and decisions.
There are so many choices in the world. And probably as many combinations of choices as there are people in the world. It is all too easy to see what someone else has decided to do in her home and then to doubt your own convictions about what you and your family should do.
Right, Wrong, and In Between
Some situations are clearly right. And some decisions are clearly wrong. There is good and there is bad. Make no mistake. But there is also a lot of gray in between.
I have found myself in the dilemma of feeling good and confident in something that FishPapa and I have chosen for our family and then five minutes later, I’m wringing my hands because someone who does not know me or my situation has made a blanket statement dictating that I do the contrary.
It was uncomfortable — to say the least. In its extreme, it distressed me. What do you do when you find yourself there?
Don’t let others’ personal choices make you doubt your own.
1. Seek out God’s word.
I believe the Bible is God-breathed and therefore gives us direction on a multitude of topics. Here is where God makes good and bad very clear. But often we find gray areas, too.
In Mere Christianity, CS Lewis says,
When it tells you to feed the hungry, it does not give you lessons in cookery. When it tells you to read the Scriptures it does not give you lessons in Hebrew and Greek, or even in English grammar. It was never intended to replace or supersede the ordinary human arts and sciences: it is rather a director which will set them all to the right jobs, and a source of energy which give them all new life, if only they will put themselves at its disposal.
What are “the right jobs” to which Scripture is directing you? What are the clear cut decisions? Which areas of life is God allowing room for your particular personality, family, and season of life?
2. Consult with your husband.
I have found that when I know my husband feels good about what we’re doing as a family, I feel good about it, too. I have not only his support, but also his guidance which helps me immensely. During my recent hand-wringing moment, he was the quick voice of reason to lead me through the clouds of doubt.
Sometimes discussion is difficult. I give you that. And there are trying seasons for every marriage. But, communication really is key to success in your family life. For inspiration, check out Simple Mom’s questions for developing a Family Mission statement. These might be helpful in facilitating discussion.
3. Refine your goals.
Once you know that you have God and your husband backing you, sit down and write out your goals, or revisit previously written goals. These can be immensely helpful in reminding you where you are going and what your priorities for your family are. They also are instrumental in reminding you that your life can’t be lived by someone else.
4. Take every thought captive.
If you’ve gotten this far and you’re still unsettled, well, I don’t think you should be. If you’ve searched the Scriptures, consulted your husband, taken a realistic look at your life, and honestly determined the best course of action for you and your family, you should be able to rest right where you are.
Trust that God has led you to this decision and pray for peace. He will be a refuge to you.
But let all who take refuge in you be glad;
let them ever sing for joy.
Spread your protection over them,
that those who love your name may rejoice in you.
Women can be so cutting with their words, too. Sometimes it’s intentional, sometimes it’s not. When I feel like my convictions are being challenged, most of the time I feel so painfully inadequate, but I don’t necessarily have intentions of changing my decision. I feel as big as an ant, and I wish I knew what to say in response and still be gracious. I’ve been struggling with that a lot lately as people have shared their opinions on raising two under two (362 days apart) or on raising our kids since my husband is a pastor. I wish I could come up with a blanket statement as a response! My immediate thoughts probably aren’t the best to share out loud! 😉
Love this post – this is something I am always working on. I really need to stop comparing myself, my family and our choices with everyone else’s. What works for one family does not always work for another. I am constantly feeling I am not doing enough, not saving enough money, not cooking from scratch enough, not disciplining my children enough or the “right” way, not cleaning enough, and the list goes on. This post also reminds me of another one you had written awhile back. I can’t remember all of it but what has stayed with me was the line that went along the lines of “don’t compare your insides with another’s outside”. I tell myself this quite often! Thanks for the encouragement!
Thanks for sharing that quote! It’s so true!
Bethany – have you spoken to your friend about how it makes you feel? I hope so. As a friend, she needs to know that she is not being supportive. Regardless, I am sorry you are going through that.
One thing I learned a long time ago is “there is more than one right way” to do just about everything. Public schools where I live are horrid. But I can’t homeschool. I married a man who is not supportive of it. So – I am going back to school in the Fall and putting my son in a small private school. It’s the only other option. But I digress… bottom line – you don’t owe her or anyone else an explanation of what you do for your children. And if she respects you, as I hope and pray friends do, she should stop. Talk to her if you haven’t! I pray it works out.
Someone once said that “one man’s convictions is another man’s legalism”.
It’s it so true if you let it. You definitely have to find out as a family where God has you at this time and season of your life. Sometimes we feel like we are beating to a different drum altogether but we are confident in where God has us so that’s okay.
Have a fabulous day!
Uh passed not past judgements. Haha. I have difficulty typing and editing on my phone. Sorry
This is really good. Sometimes I think it’s hard because people make a change and it so impacts their life for the better and they can get carried away thinking it must be perfect for every family.
We over hauled our diet the last year and a half and it had dramatic results on our health. It’s hard not to be excited. I try not to tell people they have to do what we do because I remember myself not being ready and being annoyed and hurt when people past judgements. If people ask I’m honest but always encourage baby steps to changing. Really what can be a blessing and work for one family can be detrimental to another.
I remember with my first baby being told
By girls at church the only way to raise him was by the ideas in a particular book. I tried, I fried, I cried. It was horrible for our family. We found something else that worked better and have never looked back. Each family is different. Different goals, dynamics and personalities.
I’m going through a really difficult time right now with a close friend. She sends her child to a great public school and is constantly pressuring me to send my kids there bashing people at church that homeschool more for reasons of what appear to be perceptions versus actual offenses. I chose to homeschool when my hands were tied in terms of educational choices. It was a scary choice and I honestly did not want to do it. Here I am with almost a fifth grader and I love it. I live the time I get with my kids. I love watching them learn. While I know with a little effort I could most likely get them into this particular school, I no longer want to. My reasons for schooling my children have changed and I’ve really grown to love it (not to say there ate not still hair pulling out days haha). It’s so hard now when I see this friend because every time I get made to feel like I am making a wrong choice. I don’t question her choice. I think it’s great and a wonderful opportunity for her child I just don’t feel like it’s what is the best for mine (especially one that is very bright but also has some issues that probably would disrupt a classroom setting and cause him harm). It’s so hard because at the root of it all it hurts and makes me sad.
Everyone wonders if they are doing the right thing. Do what you feel is right for you and your family. It looks like you have been doing right so far so keep on doing what you are doing! FishChick2’s sweet face is so cute peeking through that orange tube!
God bless, Kathy in Illinois
You know, I think we all go through phases of figuring things out. Some do it in a public announcing way, some do it internally – but everyone’s situation is different, you know? I think there are those of us who truly see a benefit in Homeschool and wish we could, but can’t. My son is in public school though I hate it. I do go back and forth. But I don’t think it is me changing my convictions, just working it out (though I have never pulled him out and put him back in).
We are changing to clean eating. But in the transition we are not eating totally clean. And I think that is ok. One treat here and there is not going to KILL us.
I think we all do the best we can and am thankful God loves me flaws and all!
I really needed to hear this, after much thought and prayer , my husband and I have decided to homeschool our children next year. But every where I turn I feel that I’m making the ‘wrong ‘ decision. I feel I will have no one to support me and I feel my kids will miss out. Thank you for your blog, it was just what I needed to hear.
@Tina Piper, there are so many homeschoolers out there, you should be able to find some support. Have you looked into local groups?
Oh, sweet friend, you’ve spoken what I’ve so often felt with such eloquence. We spend too much time judging others and, sadly, often even more time judging ourselves…
I completely love this post of yours. I’ve often found questioning myself and our family’s convictions because of what so-and-so is doing or saying, online or offline. I know, it is sad.
Thank you so much for this post. One of those reads that I’m probably going to print out and look at everyday for a long time.
@Prerna, you are so sweet. Thanks for your kind words.
What you said about wringing your hands, wondering if the decision is right, really hits home with me. Our life seems to change so much with the seasons, with my husband being home or away for long periods and I find that I even go back on decisions, or leave them aside for awhile because other priorities kick in. Like eating organic. We always eat well, but sometimes because of life getting hectic, I can’t get to the organic store AND the supermarket and so I end up at the supermarket. It’s stupid and so a couple months later, I think, what am I doing? I had made a decision about this! I think it is really important to think and determine convictions, but depending on the type, not hitting ourselves over the head if things don’t always go as planned. Just think again, redetermine and get back on track!
@Jane, good to see you, mon amie. They didn’t have “organic stores” when I lived in France. You have me so curious.
@Jessica Fisher, All over France now you have what we call BIOCOOP http://www.biocoop.fr/ that are small organic supermarkets that guarantee a much higher standard of organic labelling than regular supermarket organic brands. They also respect the conditions of labor, ecological farming (like the palm oil problem), and as much as possible sell local or at least French /European products. So, my goal is to buy as much as possible from either our local biocoop or our markets with local growers. But there are still things I like/want in the regular grocery store! (like my favorite cereal) Or some products that are just SO much less expensive, even organic (like beef patties).