Subtle Spins

The winners from the giveaway with recording artist Cheri Keaggy are: the signed cd: Robyn; timestamp August 13th at 5:34 am and the tote bag and cd: Christy; timestamp August 12th at 1:14 pm. Please send your home address to me at karen@proverbs31.org right away. Congrats!

Spin.

You know, the twist reporters put on a story to slant it a certain way.

Or the explanation a coach gives for the team’s heartbreaking defeat.

Or the tone of voice and word choice we use when talking about another person. We speak in a way so as to entice our hearer into thinking what we do about that person and usually, the way of thinking is not positive.

Yep. We women spin.

A lot.

I have been guilty of it at times. And, I have been the victim of spins on other occasions.

You know where I see women spin the most, attempting to paint others in a bad light? In two areas.

Whether we work outside the home or not.

And how we educate our offspring.

I know there are people who read strong mandates in their Bibles when it comes to these two issues. They are passionate about their stance and resulting decisions. Some even go as far as to assert that if you don’t ‘do it their way’, you are not living biblically.

Now don’t jump to conclusions and assume I am only thinking of one side of the issue. No ma’am.

I’ve had Christians attempt to convince me that working outside the home is unscriptural, citing verses from the Bible. And others have tried to convince me that working outside the home is scriptural, again citing verses from the Bible.

I’ve had some who say it is never, ever, EVER okay to send a child to a public school. (Even if a mom of a half-dozen kids dies and her widowed husband feels overwhelmed just trying to figure out meals and laundry.)

I’ve had others who insisted if you did not send your kids to a public school, you were disobeying God’s command to be salt and light and to ‘go therefore into all the world…” (commonly referred to as the great commission.)

Once, a fellow church member of mine (whom I didn’t know real well, but with whom I was becoming friends) decided, after years of homeschooling her kids, to put a couple of them into the local elementary school that was just across the street from my home. I called her just after lunch on the first day of classes.

When I told her who it was, she stopped me. “Uh….” she mumbled, “I hope this isn’t another call from a homeschool mom asking how in the world I could ever disobey God and send a child to a public school. That I’ve ‘sold out’. “Cause if it is, I am not gonna be able to talk to you.”

I was dumbfounded.

“No….actually”, I gingerly answered. “I was just calling to say I heard your kids were going to the the elementary school. I was gonna offer this: Why don’t you  put my name down as the back-up emergency contact person for them in case the school can’t get a hold of you, since I live right across the street from the school and I’m home during the day? In fact, I can see your kids playing on the playground right now.”

She nearly cried. (And please…that is one situation in which I made the right call. Other times, I have not. In fact, I’ve either started the spin or joined in when it began.)

What a fine line it is to walk: to have both personal convictions and grace; strong beliefs for your family and love for those who do life a little different. To decide what God is telling your family to do. And then NOT to paint your way as Jesus-stamped and theirs as wrong.

I am not talking about someone who is living in outright contradiction to a biblical mandate and yet calls themselves a believer. We are told how to handle those tough cases. (See 1 Corinthians 5)

I’m talking about those subtle spins. The way, by painting another in a particular light, we suddenly shine a spotlight on ourselves in an “I-would-never-do-that” appearance of godliness.

Let’s stop doing that.

Okay?

Me included.

Now… any advice for how you decide some of these big decisions of life in a way that lines up with scritpture? How about what you think about those subtle spins. Why do we spin our comments sometimes? I’d love to hear what you think.

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  • Just getting to this now…I remember when we started homeschooling my husband always wanted the option to put our boys in high school when they got older. It was very difficult for me, like the baby cub being torn from the momma bears claws. It was a difficult summer for me but my husband was right, it really was the best thing for my boys and for my relationship with my boys. People did make some comments but I kept putting on a brave face and saying I was following what my husband said….lots of biblical references for that! I do have to admit, I still have not forgotten the sting of one homeschool mom’s comment, “So, how is school going for your son? Any regrets yet?” It was only the second week? Why such a negative comment? I am sure I have been guilty of this in some way, shape or form. I am so careful with my words since I have been on the “other side.” In fact, as a current substitute teacher in the public education system, to help pay for college for those high school boys, I am torn as I see what some kids have to endure on a tough day of school, but I also see some of the benefits other kids get from it. My mom brain, my public school brain and my homeschool brain are always battling! I hope all three of these brains will make me a good teacher one day. yes, I will probably teach in a public school when the last boy goes to college and then, ahhh, I can be a light in the darkness to someone and that is all that God needs me for. I am a firm believer in being a stay-at-home mo for my family, BUT I would never make someone feel bad for a different choice. Some women need the money, some need a break from their kids, some have problems at home that we know nothing about. We are not to judge, just to love.

  • I truly understand what you are saying! When it come to the way we raise our children. Everyone has there own way. I respect what other parents do. I am a stay at home mom. I have been ever since I had my first child. She is 12 yrs. old. I get a lot of how do you do that? I believe this is where God wants me. I am very grateful that I am able to be at home. I know lots of parents need to go to work. Not everyone can stay home. We lived in Fl. for two years. My husband and I home schooled our two chidren. We had some friends and family that were happy about our choice. Then we had some think we were not allowing our children to be kids. I believe prayer for our lives is very important. I pray everyday to be the wife and mother God has called me to be. May God bless you in all you do. Love Shawnia. Phil.4:13

  • I think that we sometimes spin things not to slam or convince others that what they’re doing isn’t right, but rather to justify our own actions to ourselves, and to others at well. It’s sort of a means of justifying/rationalizing our choices and decisions, because we may not be totally sure that we’re doing the right thing. It actually becomes of means of getting validation.

  • I think alot of times we feel inadquate in our selves. When someone who has a different opinion, or a different word from God, makes us feel uncomfortable. Scripture is a miraculous communciation with our Lord. But He uses it different ways for all of us, sometimes we hear different things at different stages of our lives. We just need to realize that each of our walk and relationship with Him is different, and accept our vast differences. Did I use different enough??!!

  • My husband and I have always known that we would send our children to public school. This was a beliefe that God was calling us to be salt and light, as well as growing up in a small town where homeschooled children had no opportunities and honestly ended up anti-social. Now our son is in first grade, I am seeing how he reacts to certain situations, and we are in a much larger town with many more opportunities, my heart really wants to lean the other way. I have to ask myself, however, if the Lord is speaking something differntly to me now or if it is a desire to simply keep my child with me. I truly believe God has a different plan for each child and each family. The same for working outside of the home. I have struggle with that since I had children. I have never felt right about it and never felt I had a choice. Now I work from home, but my husband still asks me to fill out applications. I truly believe that if the time comes that He wants me to go back, He will provide the perfect job and the perfect childcare, and I thank Him for His provision in the meantime. It all goes back to Christian liberty and God’s indiviual path for each individual and family.

  • This is an on time post for me.

    Our 20 month old has been sick for the last several weeks. Unexplainable symptoms. His pediatrician has no diagnosis. Multiple trips to the hospital returning with no answers. In light of this, I have been second guessing and experiencing guilt over some of the decisions we made regarding vaccinating him (another controversial issue especially in Christian circles). Throw in the mix, an online Christian parenting board where majority of the mothers talk about how unBiblical it is to vaccinate due to the ingredients and how we are not being ‘good stewards’ over our children when we subject them to vaccinations and medical complications as a result, well the devil really has been having a field day with my heart.

    At the end of the day, that is what it comes down for me: “being good stewards” over our children who have been temporarily loaned to us to raise in the admonition and knowledge of the Lord. But being good stewards looks different for each individual, family, based on the measure of grace given to them.

    For some this means homeschooling because they may not have the grace to respond to the secular values encouraged in school systems; for others it may mean schools because they don’t have the time, energy and sometimes discipline to homeschool. For some this means nursing their children for several years because they have the physical and emotional strength to do so and for some this means formula because they don’t (the list goes on).

    I have typically been the victim of spins (especially since I became a mother) which God has used to make me more sensitive and cautious about how I project my own values on other people because ultimately, it doesn’t matter what I *think* God is saying regarding any particular area; those are things between God and individuals and if I have a genuine concern for my brother or sister concerning an area where our values differ, my responsibility is to pray for them and ask the Lord to help them in their decisions and to open the door for me to encourage, share information, if that is His will. Beyond that I’m overstepping boundaries and most definitely not bringing God glory in any way.

    Thanks for encouraging my incredibly heavy heart this evening. Blessings.

    • Ayla–

      I can relate. When our kids were small, opinions (often unsolicited) abounded. Praying you & your husband can sift through the options and determine what God is calling YOU to do. Cyber {{hugs}}!

    • Ayla – I will be praying for you and your family. When I first read Karen’s post (kind of late – I’m behind) I thought immediately about the spin re: immunizations and breastfeeding. Everyone has their own opinion – but really! Aren’t these things an issue of what’s right for your family? YES.