Regular Contributor to PW&F
Personal Blog: End of the Tunnel
You’ve heard it a million times – whether you’re getting ready for a first date, preparing for a job interview, or meeting the future in-laws, someone always offers the sage advice to “just be yourself.”
This is probably the world’s most widely used adage, and it sounds so simple on the surface. But when people give this advice, do they really understand what they’re saying?
Because if you’re truly being yourself, you are guaranteed to irritate, offend, or otherwise alienate someone along the way. What is pleasing to one person will grate on the next person’s nerves. Everyone will not always agree with you. And worst of all, you will eventually commit the cardinal sin of going against the flow.
As a childfree Christian, I feel the ramifications of being myself most strongly in traditional church environments. It seems that church folk encourage you to be yourself…“unless.”
For example, “Be yourself, unless you don’t like the way we do things around here.” We’re “family” oriented, so if you’re uncomfortable participating in programs orchestrated around parents and children, you’d best keep your mouth shut and do it anyway. And for heaven’s sake, stick with the prescribed “Christian” lifestyle. A woman who’s uninterested in motherhood is misguided and sad – a child is the only thing that will make you truly happy, and if you choose not to have one, you surely aren’t following the will of God.
When it comes right down to it, what people really want is for you to be like them. Because if you are finding fulfillment by doing things differently, that just might mean that they are the ones who could have made better choices. And where Christians are concerned, I think sometimes instead of deepening our relationship with God to find confidence that we have chosen the right path, we instead find that comfort in the fact that everyone else is doing the same things as us.
Romans 14:22 says, “Cultivate your own relationship with God, but don't impose it on others. You're fortunate if your behavior and your belief are coherent. But if you're not sure, if you notice that you are acting in ways inconsistent with what you believe—some days trying to impose your opinions on others, other days just trying to please them—then you know that you're out of line. If the way you live isn't consistent with what you believe, then it's wrong.”
My husband and I believe children are not in God’s will for our lives, and we strive to ensure our thoughts and actions mirror that belief. I rejoice in being myself, because even if others don’t understand, I know God approves!
Flickr photo by geopollock (cc)
Technorati Tag: Childfree
June 27, 2007