Has that ever happened to you? Did you ever admire someone greatly, perhaps follow their blog in order to receive encouragement and support, and then — wham! — you find out they have ditched their convictions and are now doing something different? No explanation or apology. It feels like being betrayed. Abandoned.
Now, I understand that people sometimes change their mind. I do that, too! Sometimes I think I’m right about something, and then I think about it a lot and decide to go in a different direction. That happens, and that’s okay. At least, it’s okay when it makes sense, right? When the decision is based on logic and biblical reasoning. I also think it helps to try to explain things to people who might be affected by my decision, so that they will not feel bewildered.
For example: I used to send my two oldest children (back in the day when I was a much younger mother) to a local charter school. It was a small, Montessori/traditional blend, and I felt comfortable with it. At that time, I also felt a lack of confidence in my ability to homeschool, even though that is what I had really hoped to do. By the time my oldest had been going to this same charter school for almost four years, my husband and I decided to homeschool. Yes, we changed our minds. But, there was solid reasoning behind it, and we did it after a lot of thinking. The longer I’ve homeschooled, the stronger my conviction has become that it is what’s best for our children. There are so many reasons for this, but that’s not what this post is about. The point is, I changed my mind, and I believe it was for the best.
Let’s talk about wearing skirts and dresses only. I’ve been living this lifestyle for six years (since February of 2012). When I first started, I was motivated by the changes some people I knew were making toward a full skirts-and-dresses-only life. Let me clarify that I DID NOT start to wear skirts and dresses just because they were! I am not a people follower! However, it was something I hadn’t considered since I was eleven or twelve, and these people gave me the opportunity to reconsider it in a fresh light. There were a couple of major reasons for making this wardrobe change, the first being modesty, and the second being a more distinguished femininity. Pants can be sort of modest — if they are loose enough, and if the behind and thighs are covered with a long shirt. But, skirts and dresses can be more so, if long, flowy, and not see-through. Additionally, skirts and dresses cover up the crotch area — big deal! Men may be somewhat desensitized to crotches, behinds, and thighs since they see them all the time — but, men are still men! Even in our degraded culture, perhaps especially in our degraded culture, it is still important for Christian women to dress modestly and cover up their private parts with more than a thin veneer of stretchy jean material! So, I started to dress differently for good reasons, which I had thought out very carefully.
However, it was very disappointing to see those people who had first inspired me ditch their beliefs, with no explanation at all or concern for how it might affect me. Even today, I still feel hurt, though I try to get over it and acknowledge that they have a right to change their minds, even if it doesn’t make any sense to me. I still can’t understand how they could change their minds after they had felt so strongly about wearing skirts and dresses, and especially after they had demonstrated a clear understanding of the need for modesty, based on the Bible’s teaching! Personally, I think they just got tired of being different. They got tired, so they gave up. But, where did that leave me? I don’t have any support from the ladies in our church, nor do I have any from my family, but I keep on going, because it is what I know to be right, and because I want to be (hopefully) a catalyst for much-needed change in our world. Why couldn’t they persevere? Why did they leave me hanging? We could have supported and encouraged each other, and now . . . I’m all alone. (Which makes me exceedingly grateful for all the wonderful support I have gotten and continue to get from my online friends! Thank you so much!)
Today, I felt that way again.
There was a blog I used to check up on every now and then for its helpful articles about organizing and decluttering, homeschooling a large family, and wearing skirts and dresses only. The original blog was later replaced by a new one. Both blogs have been deleted, and with them, all the great articles I had found so inspiring! I was so disappointed. Even if the author didn’t want to continue writing new articles, couldn’t she at least have left up the old ones, so people like me could continue to benefit from them? I had no idea what was going on, so I looked up her Facebook profile. Oh, no.
It looks like she is selling all her homeschool curriculum, and her daughters are now wearing pants! I guess they are going through some major life changes, and I presume she didn’t want people criticizing her and making things worse. Perhaps it was her husband who wanted the changes, and she is just doing her best to go along with what he wants, as a submissive wife. She, just like everybody else, is free to change her mind about things. However, here’s the thing: In her articles she had been SO committed to homeschooling and skirts and dresses only! She had very good reasons — with Bible verses to back them up — for their lifestyle. If her reasons were good, and she sincerely believed them to be true, then how could she abandon them? Not only has she confused me, but I’m sure she’s left a ton of other ladies scratching their heads, too. And not only that, they may be feeling abandoned and betrayed.
Now, let me set this straight. Everybody has to form their own convictions; we cannot depend upon others for a perfect example of how we should be living our lives. People are not perfect. Therefore, it is the Bible we should depend upon. However, may I please highlight that though we should not depend upon others for our convictions, neither does that let them “off the hook” for how their lives influence others! We can say, “So what, my choices are my choices, and it’s not my fault how it affects other people,” but that would not be love. The Bible tells us that we should care how our choices affect others! When making decisions, we need to not only consider ourselves, but also those whom our decisions could affect. And, even if after much consideration, we still choose to move forward with our new course of action, we at least owe our friends and blog followers some sort of explanation. It doesn’t need to be detailed; but, it should at least acknowledge those people and their faithful readership. It should at least treat those loyal blog followers with enough respect and dignity to honor them with a decent farewell and kindhearted invitation to keep up with them through another forum, if possible.
Perhaps this particular blog author did do that through one last blog post before she deleted her blogs, but I didn’t make it in time to see it. Now, she’s just one more person who has left me feeling disappointed and unsupported. Let’s not let that be us, ladies! I don’t want to be a negative person, please understand. But, can we please learn to stand in our convictions, no matter what happens in life? So much depends upon it! I think that Satan has had the chance to snicker and sneer and ridicule those who have given up, saying, “Look, I knew they wouldn’t last.” And he was right; they didn’t. True, they may not have given up their belief in the gospel, which is THE MOST important thing! But, they gave up on one or more aspects of living a holy, set-apart life, which will have consequences for not only their own family, but for other families and individuals who are watching them. Because, yes, people are watching us, observing us closely, and either hoping for the chance to prove we’re hypocrites, or hoping to be able to look up to us as a source of inspiration. Which are we going to be?
“Therefore let us pursue the things which make for peace and the things by which one may edify another. . . It is good neither to eat meat nor drink wine nor do anything by which your brother stumbles or is offended or is made weak. Do you have faith? Have it to yourself before God. Happy is he who does not condemn himself in what he approves. . . We then who are strong ought to bear with the scruples of the weak, and not to please ourselves. Let each of us please his neighbor for his good, leading to edification. For even Christ did not please Himself . . . “
Romans 14:19-15:3 [emphasis added]
*Note: Next week I am planning on continuing with the next chapter of Pivot of Civilization: “Children Troop Down from Heaven.” It should be interesting!