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Are you Spiritual Enough?

Are you Spiritual Enough?

One of the most shocking things we discovered about the church was just how judgmental some people could be. Neither of us were raised in a Christian household, so the parent culture of the church was a bit foreign to us when we joined the ranks.

We quickly learned that some Christian parents had opinions about absolutely everything and many were very quick to voice them.

It starts before you even have the baby:

You shouldn’t eat that.

Are you taking these?

Have you been massaging?

We only recommend ___________ birth classes.

You’re going to have that baby at home, aren’t you?

Do you have a birth plan? Here’s our 8 page plan.

You should be rubbing _________ on yourself.

You’re going to that doctor?

You’re eating _______???

The pressure is often very subtle, but very real. I will never forget breaking down during a home group meeting because I was having difficulty nursing my second child. It was then, that I realized I was letting far too many people make me feel guilty about something I had no control over. Fourteen years later and it seems so silly to me that it affected me that deeply, but when you get pressure from those within the church, they can often inflict a kind of “spiritual guilt” on top of whatever opinion they are spouting.

Even though we are past those early years now, those subtle pressures never go away. It moves from birthing and breastfeeding, to play groups and milestones, to preschools and parties. Parents in any phase would do well to remember a few things.

Opinions aren’t Scripture

I know that seems obvious, but people often try to justify their opinions with some vague chapter and verse because they are trying very hard to justify their own decisions. What works for someone else may or may not work for you. Everyone’s style is different so when you feel pressure that someone is saying “This is the ONLY way” be very wary. Unless they’re talking about Jesus. Then, yes, they’re right.

Every family is different. That’s okay.

Don’t be afraid to try new things; to do things your way. Each family has to develop a culture within itself – that’s so important. You might pick and choose cool ideas from others, but don’t feel like you have to be just like anyone else. Our family loves watching TV together – and we know plenty of families who refuse to even have a TV in their house. To each his own. Let your family discover itself. We know other families that run races together. Our family doesn’t run. Unless we are being chased by bears. In that instance, we would run. But we’re okay with being a different kind of family.

It’s up to you two.

At the end of the day, every decision should be made in prayer with just the two of you. No one else has to account for your decisions, only you. Parents need to be spiritually healthy to be able to navigate such a confusing world. The more connected you are to God, the easier it will be to sort out the good ideas from the bad ideas from the “not for us” ideas.

Don’t worry.

When other people are dogmatic about the latest fad or the newest thing, feel free to listen politely, but don’t feel compelled to jump on everything. Do everything with prayer, not under compulsion or false guilt.

Don’t forget to have some fun!

Have something you’d like us to cover? Chime in! We’d love to hear from you.

By: Jeff and Sarah Sumpolec have been married for 19 years and Jeff has been a therapist in private practice for more than 10 years. They have three daughters together and Sarah writes for and speaks to teens. Visit them at www.sarahannesumpolec.com.

Join us at www.just18summers.com for our parenting blog each Monday-Friday and for info about the Just 18 Summers novel.

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