Dear Moms, Jesus Wants You To Quit Giving A Rip What People Think About You

I write this post at the risk of becoming the world’s first male mommy blogger (even that combination of words makes me feel uncomfortable). But, at the encouragement of my wife, as well as my friend and fellow author Trillia Newbell, I’m going to write one more post. Deep breath…feeling secure in my manhood…here goes.

Moms, you really need to stop giving a rip what other people think about you.

I know that it’s tough. You go on Facebook and  see comments like, “Any mom who bottle feeds her baby must be devil spawn!” Or,  you’re in the moms and infants room at church, and someone says, “I just can’t see how any godly, loving parent could send their children to public school.” Or someone includes you on an email that includes a rather shakily researched article about how all processed food absolutely causes cancer. The email concludes by saying, “We can’t stand for this any longer!” You happen to be eating a bowl of Lucky Charms as you read the article.

When you read these things and hear these comments, my guess is that you’re tempted to think, I’m an absolutely terrible mother! And everyone knows it! Everyone knows that I bottle feed my kids, send them to public school, and regularly feed them Lunchables! And God is probably displeased with me too, because I’m not loving my kids enough. You can feel the opinions of others breathing down your neck. You start making plans. Only organic from here on out. Homeschool, or unschool, or private school…or military school. No more television. Ever. Unless it’s an educational documentary on PBS, and even that is questionable. Awww shoot, you already vaccinated your kids! Is there a way to unvaccinate them?

Stop. Okay? Just stop. Finish your Lucky Charms, eat a big bowl of gluten, then come back and finish this article.

Now please understand, this is not an article in favor of or against schooling, vaccinations, organic food, bottle feeding, breastfeeding, television or anything else. This is an article AGAINST sinful fear of man and being overly concerned with what others think about you.

Moms, your security and identity are not found in a particular practice of parenting. Your security and identity are found in Jesus Christ. If you have trusted in Christ as Savior, you are joined to Christ. If you are joined to Christ, that means that God wholeheartedly, unabashedly, without reservation approves of you. He delights in you. You are his daughter. He sings over you. You can rest in that. It doesn’t matter what other moms think of you. It doesn’t matter if they don’t like the fact that you feed your kids bologna sandwiches for lunch. You have all the approval you need in God, through Christ.

Your job as a mom is to first and foremost, love God with all your heart. Run hard after him. Pursue holiness and godliness. Read the Bible and pray your heart out. Your second job is to love others. If you’re married, worry more about pleasing your husband than pleasing other moms (husbands should do the same, but that’s for another post). If you and your husband come to the conviction that you should feed your children organic food, great! If the two of you realize that you can’t go hard core organic for cost reasons, that’s also great! Whatever you do, don’t let the fear of what others think guide your actions.

When it comes to your kids, you main job description is to raise them up in the ways of the Lord. It would be better to feed your kids Lucky Charms than to spend hours researching a particular subject and neglect this primary duty. Focus on raising your kids to love Jesus. If you come to the conviction that you should send your kids to private school, that’s fine. But don’t do it out of fear of what others think. Let your thinking be shaped by God’s word, not the words of others.

Remember, the fear of man is a snare (Proverbs 29:25). It will actually snare you as you seek to be a mom. So rest in Christ. In Christ, God approves of you. Completely. 100%. Not 99.9%, 100%. Obey God’s word, pursue holiness, love your spouse, love your kids, and hold the rest loosely. If people don’t approve, who cares?

The next time you’re tempted to worry what others think about you, remember that you are secure in God, and that’s all that matters.

Comments

  1. Melanie Stanley says

    Really appreciated the gist of your blog! I've been preaching it for 30 years. Something for you to consider as you move through more life experience and get to know God more, what new insights would you gain if your language reflected the freedom that Christ gives? For example, "man" does not really include women and children does it? Not in a modern society where we value and educate our girls for more than motherhood. Also, have you ever considered the many scripture references to God/Jesus as feminine/mother image? Women AND men need to know that the very first word in Genesis 1:1 to describe the Creator is a feminine word: Ruach….she who hovers and brings forth life. You seem like an open and growing person, so I wanted to share this with you.
    In Christ,
    Rev. Melanie Stanley-Soulen

  2. Tracie says

    AMEN! Thanks for this. That's why I gave up a subscription to Better Homes and Gardens Magazine. I constantly felt like my house wasn't good enough and that I needed to buy stuff to make it better. And that's also why I refuse to get on Pinterest. My job is to raise my children to know and love Jesus and to give them a solid foundation. Whether I home or public school them, work or stay home, etc just doesn't matter. What matters is what I feel Jesus is calling my family to do.

    • Stephen Altrogge says

      Yeah magazines can have that effect. Real Simple, Better Homes and Gardens, Etc. What matters is following Jesus!

  3. Elaine says

    "Your job as a mom is to first and foremost, love God with all your heart. Run hard after him. Pursue holiness and godliness. Read the Bible and pray your heart out. Your second job is to love others. If you’re married, worry more about pleasing your husband than pleasing other moms (husbands should do the same, but that’s for another post). "

    I find that if I am doing these things, I really don't have the time or energy to worry about what other people think – wish I had learned this lesson years ago! Would have saved myself a great deal of grief.

    From a homeschooling, organic, artifical sweetner avoiding mom ..who still loves a Big Mac once in a blue moon. :-)

  4. allison says

    Stephen you have hit the nail on the head. we live in a culture of pleasing others. It is overwhelming at times. Our minds must be guided by our convictions, which need to come from God, not others. Sometimes its hard to tell the difference. Even in our church, the cultural differences are growing by leaps and bounds, because GOd has brought us together. Not to compare and contrast, but to bless one another and experience grace… receiving it and extending it. I feel for young moms who get bombarded by so many decisions, so many choices and are feeling pressure to accept one or the other. But most choices have nothing to do with our salvation, our faith or how good of a parent one is. Thanks for pointing all this out.

    • Stephen Altrogge says

      You're welcome! Yeah, it seems like young moms in particular are vulnerable to the pressure of fitting in. I know Jen has felt that on many occasions!

  5. Ellen says

    This article kind of rubbed me the wrong way and I know a woman author would never have written it. I mean, don't do anything but raise them to love Jesus? Seriously, talk about putting pressure on us poor women. And we can spend however long we want researching things even if we have kids, because we are human beings who are allowed to have interests that don't include our kids or husbands. You just shot everyone who reads this to a code red guilt level because we can't raise our kids to love Jesus. Only the Holy Spirit can teach our kids to love Jesus. But thanks for giving us permission to feed them lucky charms whilst chaining us to the impossible task of teaching them to love Jesus.

    • Stephen Altrogge says

      Ellen, I think you completely misread the intent of this article. First of all, I never meant that you can cause your children to love Jesus. Only Jesus can do that. But as parents, both mother and father are called to raise their children to know God's word and follow the Lord. I can't make my children become Christians, yet I still teach them the Bible and teach them that they need Jesus.

      Second, I would say that, Biblically, you can't spend as long as you want researching whatever subject you want to the neglect of your family. That's called selfishness. I can't spend as much time as I want playing video games because I have interests other than my wife and children. I'm called to love my wife and kids more than myself, and that means sacrificing things I want to do.

      I was not trying to raise the guilt level for moms, I was trying to lower. I'm sorry if you took it the wrong way.

    • bernadertte says

      I think you may have taken this article wrong. Maybe the first issue you should address is why you feel teaching your kids to love Jesus is “chaining you to an impossible task”. The Holy Spirit can absolutely work through you to teach your kids to love Jesus…especially through example. I know I wasn’t “shot to red guilt level”. It is nice to be reminded that others opinions aren’t what matter.

  6. Stephanie says

    Thank you. I think I exhaled out loud and did a little jig inside as the words that you wrote reminded me of the spiritual freedom that I have from living my life for the praise of men. God is doing a deep work in my heart right now regarding comparison…and what a joy-robber it is in my life. It’s across the board–parenting, marriage, ministry, appearance, spirituality.

    This article was a blessing as I am yearning to seek God earnestly and intentionally above all things. Thanks for the reminder: I am in Christ!

  7. Cathy Kilpatrick Leadership says

    Great stuff! Sane and sensible, like what I learned at the Young Moms' Bible Study our church had when I was a younger mom. (I am a Nana now.)
    We are free in Christ, and no man (or woman) or tradition should again put us into bondage. This is a great perspective on that Scripture!
    BTW, older moms and Nana's still struggle with fitting in, too. We just do it over different stuff . . .

  8. says

    Thank you for writing this article. You are so right, and it is so freeing. It takes an awful lot of pressure off. My children are grown, but i still feel a responsibility to live out my walk with Jesus in front of them, as I do anyone else. When we take care of loving Jesus with all our hearts and souls, the rest usually falls into place: relationship with my husband, my children and everyone else, and fulfilling my responsibilities. Because Jesus love is filling my heart, it overflows to everything else in my life, when that relationship with Him is what is should be. That feels like less pressure to me than what anyone else can put on me.

  9. Joelle says

    I smiled as I read your post. There is so much freedom in not comparing myself to other moms. It is a regular struggle, but has become less intense as I've changed my focus. My two boys are gifts from God, given to me for a season and I am to be faithful with these precious lives. I do what I can, the best that I can, and many times it is far from great (there can't be perfect…perfection doesn't exist in this world!) but doesn't God tell us that He will use everything for good? So I walk this journey of motherhood trying to be transparent and real about my relationship with God in order to show my kids what it looks like to be a sinner saved by grace! Thank you for your words!

  10. Beth says

    Exactly how I feel! Just sad the article was written by a man. Nothing against the article, I just don't like someone who is ot a mom to provide permission to "ake it easy.". But, I know your heart s in the right place. Topic for next blog: how fatherscan contribute to the family nother ways than working….since most of us moms do both :)

  11. susan says

    Thanks for the great article. How many times I've compared myself to another Mom, and found I just didn't measure up – I walked away discouraged, or frustrated, determined to whip my family into "so and so's" approved state. Wrong wrong wrong. The joy I find when I read my Bible – make choices for my family the please God – this is what He wants. I'll never measure up to everyone, but by HIS help I'll be the mom, wife and daughter HE wants me to be – when I bear fruit for Him, my children will see a godly example – teaching them in turn it doesn't matter what others think – it matters what God thinks!

  12. says

    My sister in law found this post and sent it to me.

    My two main goals each and every day as a mom of 4 is:
    1. Keep them alive.
    2. Keep them fed.
    And not necessarily in this order.

    If I'm doing both of those things, then my day has been a huge (and I'm talking COLOSSAL) success.

    Thank you, Jesus, for figuring out all the little stuff in between!

    What a great article. You hit the nail on the head and I think anyone who thinks otherwise is too wrapped up in their issues to understand the broader scope.

    Or they just want to pick a fight!

  13. says

    I've been thinking about this blog post for a few days now. Something about it bothered me. I keep thinking I've figured out what it is, and then realize, "No, that's not what he was talking about."

    Thus, I'm commenting, even though I know what I'm commenting about wasn't really your point.

    I get your point. Fear of man = stupid.

    But, I think what bothered me was the kind of flippant way that you described what moms do – they provide structure, early education (essential for reading the Bible), make diet decisions (that can become lifelong patterns), teach about friendship, responsibility, sharing … and so on.

    I think the point I wanted to make is that though these things are not the MOST important thing (raising our children to know and love the Lord is), these matters are of some importance.

    Moms should take time to think through their family patterns from diet, to exercise, to social activity, to finances.

    However, as you said, they shouldn't make final decisions based on what other people think of them, but in a way that brings them peace before the Lord.

    Thanks for writing.

  14. julie bayles says

    I think this blog is the biggest blessing! I put it on my facebook page..I struggle so much in this area I feel like a weight has been lifted off my shoulders but… then I wonder how many people will like my status…proving case and point….by acting like this I am obviously not keeping the main thing the main thing…I so appreciate this more than you know and countless others Im sure have been blessed but didnt take the time to comment…so a heartfelt thank you..to you and to the women who encouraged you to share this..I have been enlightened..convicted…and will press on to focus on Christ alone…

  15. themessicks says

    Well…male mommy blogger or not, you've nailed the yuck most of us mom's feel all the time that we're not measuring up! I realized the other day that God is not asking perfection of me (that's the feeling you get from the "general" mom world…if you're not perfect, you are just not anything)…but that He wants my *complete* love and worship as inadequate as that may feel to me. Thanks for this post!!

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  17. Laura says

    Woohoo!! Fabulous! The Lord has been ripping all that comparison stuff away from my heart for the last year or more. Understanding my identity in Christ helped a lot. Also, learning about grace. My husband, kids and I are all learning what it looks like to live in grace daily. You know what? It's really messy. And I may lose friends and family over it. But I do not want to go back to the bondage of compairing myself to others and having perferct little fashionista/homemaker/make-me-look-good girls who grow up under Law and know nothing of God's grace and love toward us.

  18. Ruralgirl says

    A word fitly spoken, indeed, … and I’m sharing it with all my mom friends. Your humor is a delight, too, and it’s how God speaks most effectively to me. Giggle, giggle!

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