My convictions don't have to be yours

 1 Thessalonians 5:11,
            "Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing."

I don't know about you, but every now and again I get on a kick about this or that. During my 'kick' I become passionate and vocal about my view on the topic. Somehow I become super human and more knowledgeable than even the 'experts' concerning the subject matter.
I think we have all done this at one time or another.

Have you ever been to a baby shower?

Inevitably at a baby shower, women will discuss their personal experience with childbirth. If you sit back an observe this little thing called competition kicks in. I don't think anyone intends for it to happen but away the conversation will go with personal convictions and stories.

You will hear horror stories of brutal doctors and nurses. Sometimes you will hear just the opposite of how thankful someone was for the care they received.

From across the room you will hear someone chime in about how they were 'all natural' and yet another will express why you should or shouldn't have an epidural.

       Breast feed or bottle?             Cloth diapers or disposable?             Midwife or hospital?
                             Water birth?               Natural or unnatural? (although birth is always natural)
   Epidural or not?               30+ hours vs. the momma who took 2 hours...

And this all takes place at one baby shower!!!

Sometime during pregnancy you will hear people tell you why you should or shouldn't vaccinate.
Look online and you will find an answer that will support either argument, regardless of the validity of the research.

What about how you feed your baby? Organic or inorganic.

We are bombarded with all of this within the first couple months of becoming a parent. After that we constantly feel compared to other moms. Once they make it out of the toddler stage we are forced to decide if we will put our kids on the big yellow bus or home school.

I can't imagine why at times we totally exhaust one another?!?! Or why it's often so difficult for women to connect with other women.

Everyday we face decisions that affect the path or direction our life will go. Often those choices are not huge but they are personal. 

One thing we can be sure of...

         We will all be faced with 'real life' situations that force us to make tough choices.

We have to decide if we will be a stay at home mom or a mom that works outside the home.
For some of us this is a heart wrenching, sleepless night decision that has to be made.

We see our friends appearing to have it all together... balancing home, work, school, church and family.

And inside we feel like we really don't measure up.

We log onto Facebook and see a conversation about homeschooling verses public school and everyone seems to be the resident expert on the topic.

You see what is happening?

We are tearing each other down rather than building one another up. We forget that every life, every family, every situation is different.

Just as there are no two people alike, there are no cut and dry answers to these tough topics.

Is it worth being martyred over? 

Is it worth destroying our relationships? 

Is your stance on a topic so solidly grounded (factual) that you are willing to potentially cause division? 

God has given us clear guidelines on many topics and on others they are not so clear.

A wise professor in college once told me that we need to temper our responses and only give absolutes about things we are willing to be crucified over.

Is it a matter of heaven or hell?

Is it a matter of eternity or temporal things?

"Therefore encourage one another and build one another up." 1 Thessalonians 5:11

Next time you find yourself in a room with a friend or you decide to post on Facebook here are some questions to ask yourself?

Is my comment going to be helpful or hurtful?

Is this just my opinion or fact?

If making a statement about God's character or behavior... Back it up with scripture or don't say it.

Am I giving this person permission to be who God created them to be or am I expecting them to conform to my way of thinking.

Your convictions are personal and if you wait a year those convictions will probably change.

We are all vastly different in our experiences, knowledge and current life situations, therefore we must offer grace to others.

God may be lighting a fire under your fanny to stay at home and cook 21 square meals a week for your family, but this doesn't have to be true for your neighbor.

God may be pressing on your heart that homeschooling is the best option, while your best friend still chooses public.

Perhaps God has been asking you to lead a Bible study for your teenagers group of friends and this will require you to buy take out for dinner that evening. It's okay.

If your friend is in the pains of labor and says "I don't know if I can do this!" Remember labor hurts like  H-E-C-K and every person is different.

It is okay to obey God, even if everyone around you is doing the exact opposite.

Our convictions are personal and we need to cautiously approach others with our zeal for life.

Remember that God may not be calling everyone to the same thing or things. One thing we know to be true is God has called us all to love one another (John 13:34-35).

Give yourself permission to say yes to God and no to people.

We all love to share our experiences and knowledge; heaven knows we enjoy hearing from others but when you do hear opinions remember these key things:

-Condemnation and conviction are two separate things. Conviction stirs your heart and causes you to act. Condemnation feels heavy and smothers out life.

-What is right for their family, may not be God's best for mine.

-Seek counsel from trusted people. Make sure these aren't 'yes' people, instead people willing to speak truth over your life and into your situation.

-Does what I am hearing line up with scripture?

We are all on this journey called life. All of our stories are as different as the animals in the sea, but God created us all to live together for a reason. We need people. We need each other. We need affirmation and someone to encourage and speak life into our weary bones.

Will you begin today to speak life into a dry valley?

Will you release yourself from the chains that someone else has tied you up with?

Thank you for letting me share my heart. I'm thankful that God created you unique and different than me. Let me know your thoughts. Maybe I can pray with you about something.... I would love to hear from you.


Feel free to share this with anyone!


  1. Nicole, Wise words as always. I'm so blessed by God through you. He has chosen you to be a strong and encouraging voice. I've so missed your heart since I "quit" Facebook. And He reminded me of your blog today. Praying all is well with you and yours, I look forward to your next post!

    Tanyon Daniels

    1. Hi Tanyon, I miss seeing your face and hearing about your life on FB. I'm glad you were able to read today's blog. I pray God is moving in your family. Have you found a church and how is life going? I feel like I'm so out of the loop.

    2. God is doing great things in our family! We did find a wonderful, small, intimate church, where the message is great and the people are even better. Brian is playing on the team (of course)and we just started attending a small group. I'm not sure of His plans for us, but this is good for now. Hope all is well with you, happy to reconnect!