The deeper we get into the Bible, and into seeking God’s will for our family, the more difficult our social life becomes.  My husband has begun jokingly calling us “freaky people” because our lifestyle is becoming more extreme all the time.  JR recently asked why Daddy was calling us “freaky people,” and I explained simply that “freaky” was a word some people used to mean “different.”  We began discussing how we were different than most other people–Mommy wears lots of long skirts, the children are homeschooled, we want to be obedient to Jesus in all things, we make a lot of our own food from scratch, we try not to waste resources, we are willing to have as many children as God wants us to have, etc.  We concluded with the agreement that we liked being “freaky people,” and that it’s perfectly fine to be different–especially if God was calling us to do so.

In truth, however, I am learning that being “freaky” can be very hard.  I have realized the peace that comes with following God’s will, and I have absolutely no regrets in the choices we have made in raising our family.  I have accepted that God, my husband, and my children come first (in that order).  As a result, life is sometimes lonely.  I only have a few friends that I could call up if I needed something, and I rarely have opportunities to socialize with even them.  I rarely have “mommy time” or “me time,” but I have learned that that is OK.  Nowhere in the Bible does it command us to take such time for ourselves.  In fact, Proverbs 31 sets a completely contradictory lifestyle, by detailing a woman who is selfless from the moment she arises until the moment she sleeps.  Her entire daily life is spent serving others.  While I am far from the Proverbial woman, I feel like God has opened our eyes to a lot of things, and I am thankful for that.  If protecting my children from worldly, ungodly influence at such a young age means that I will be a bit lonely, so be it. 

I recently had my heart wrenched to the point of tears.  As a result of our choices to shelter our children from secular ways, they, too, have few friends and playmates.  When they do have playtime, we try to closely supervise the goings on, and pull our children away if the play turns inappropriate.  One of the most difficult secular ideas we currently battle is the idea that “boys will be boys.”  Watch any group of boys play, and, typically, you will quickly see aggression, rude and selfish behaviors, and other ungodly attitudes.  Children are quick to give in to peer pressure.  During a recent event we attended, I noticed my oldest son looking longingly at a group of boys he knew rough-housing nearby.  After watching for a moment or two, he ran into the middle of them, determined to be one of them.  Before I knew it, he was mimicking their behaviors, trying to “be tough” by punching another boy (who in turn was punching, kicking, pushing, tripping, etc. the other boys in the group.)   In our home, we do not allow such aggressive behaviors, and I certainly did not want my normally gentle son to pick these ideas up.  Therefore, I immediately called him away from the group.  He made a couple of comments that struck me hard in that they showed his true, young, untainted innocence, as well as his human-nature desire to be accepted.  He just wanted to be “one of the big boys” so to speak.  I then watched as he obediently walked away from the group, his hand in mine, his little chin quivering.  I made sure to reward his obedient behavior as soon as I was able, and we discussed the event in detail later.  He seemed to understand–as well as a 5-year old can.

Did I make the right choice in pulling my son away from his so-called friends, and not allowing him to just act like a “boy?”  I honestly don’t know the answer to that.  I like to think so.  Whether right or not, it still hurt me as a mommy to know the pain he was experiencing.  What I do know, is that Bible gives us explicit instructions in regards to our behavior.  Proverbs alone is full of such instruction.  “Stay away from a foolish man, for you will not find wisdom on his lips” (Proverbs 14:7), “A righteous man is cautious in friendship” (Proverbs 12:26), “Do not set foot on the path of the wicked or walk the way of the evil man” (Proverbs 4:14), “keep corrupt talk from your lips” (Proverbs 4:24). Throughout scripture, we can find countless verses commanding us to show kindness and love toward others, and cautioning us away from violent or aggressive behaviors and attitudes.  Scripture also explains what to watch out for.  “Folly brings punishment” (Proverbs 16:22), “A violent man entices his neighbor and leads him down a path that is not good” (Proverbs 16:29), “a fool is hotheaded and reckless” (Proverbs 14:16).  God instructs Christians to completely avoid any situation that could risk allowing evil temptations and behaviors to take root.

I feel, in that case, I essentially set my son up for failure and hurt.  I should have distracted him when I first noticed that longing look, but I allowed myself to get busy with other things.  “Folly is bound up in the heart of a child….”(Proverbs 22:15). My job as a parent is to protect my children from such temptations and ungodly situations, and I didn’t until he had already been tempted, acted inappropriately, and then set up for hurt. 

Yes, following Christ is hard, and sometimes full of hurt and pain.  Whether you want to call it “different,” “fanatical,” or downright “freaky,” doesn’t matter.  The simple fact is, God calls us to live by the Spirit.  “The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control” (Galations 5:22).  So, we press on, with the faith that “the one who sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life” (Galations 6:8).  “Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers” (Galations 6:10).