I’ve been a Christian for just over two years now, but I live in a non-Christian household. We don’t discuss it, but I know my parents don’t approve when I go to church or Christian events. I really feel like this is holding me back, as there are so many things I’d love to do for Jesus which I feel I can’t because of my parents’ reaction. I know it’s not their fault, it’s mine for not having the guts to tell them what I want to do. How can I overcome this and follow God’s best plan for me?
I can certainly relate to your situation. I accepted the Lord at 16 at a YoungLife camp. My parents did not (and still don’t) identify as Christians, and both had pretty bad experiences with churches and Christians growing up. The good news is that the situation gets better with time. Both because you become more independent from your parents, so their disapproval just doesn’t mean as much; and because they will see that this is something important to you.
You mention that they don’t actually say anything but you know they don’t approve. Even if it’s true that they don’t approve, they may not actually be giving you as much pushback as you think. This is possibly the first major life thing where you and parents have been on totally different pages, so it makes sense that you don’t have a lens to view it through.
I can’t speak for everyone, but my life got a lot easier when I started giving my parents the benefit of the doubt as opposed to looking for persecution in everything they did. It is worth taking a long hard look at what is actually being said and how much is your perception. There may well be some real tension, and it’s easier to deal with when you get emotion out of the way.
Remember, the worst they can say is ‘no.’ So maybe ask and find where the line is. This is a blessing in a way (which I know is difficult to think about), because you have to think about what is legit in a way that people in super churchy families never do.
If you tell your parents you want to go serve the hungry with your church, they will probably respect that desire to serve. They may have some safety concerns, which makes sense and your church should have considered and be able to speak to. If, however, you want $600 for a ticket to the super duper “Aren’t We The Most Awesome Christians Ever? Let’s Get Together and Talk About Our Awesomeness” conference, that may be a much harder sell. That is a microcosm of the way people outside the church see things.
1 Timothy 3:7 says that one of the important things for Christians is their reputation with outsiders. The outsiders are in your own home. That gives you an important view of all the ‘christianese” stuff that is out there. Don’t see that as a hindrance. And remember not to always assume the worst about others, even your folks.
-Matt from The Bridge