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Walking out your faith around family can be hard, especially if you’re the only believer. Read on for some tips on how to navigate this situation well.
This word means many different things to different people. There are so many layers to this simple word. It’s a word that has been marked and defined by experience, tender memories, opinions, unmet expectations, laughter, legal documentation, tears, or gratitude.
Perhaps you have a lovely family who encourages you and spurs you on in your faith. Maybe faith has never been talked about in your household. Perhaps one of your parents is a believer, but the rest of your family isn’t. Maybe your family goes to church and acts like a “Christian” family on the outside, but their actions and convictions don’t align with the heartbeat of Jesus. Maybe you come from a family that has no idea you believe in Jesus. Perhaps you don’t associate with your earthly family at all.
Whatever “family” means to you, I want to invite you to place yourself in this narrative. Wherever you find yourself while reading this—know you are not alone. YOU, dear reader, have been ADOPTED into the Kingdom family! When you received Jesus and believed in who He says He is, you have been reconciled back to God and have been welcomed into the Kingdom family!
“But to as many as did receive and welcome Him, He gave the right [the authority, the privilege] to become children of God, that is, to those who believe in (adhere to, trust in, and rely on) His name…“ – John 1:12 (AMP)
“I will be a true Father to you, and you will be my beloved sons and daughters,”says the Lord Yahweh Almighty.” – 2 Corinthians 6:18 (TPT)
“See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are. The reason why the world does not know us is that it did not know Him.” – 1 John 3:1 (ESV)
“And you did not receive the “spirit of religious duty,” leading you back into the fear of never being good enough. But you have received the “Spirit of full acceptance,” enfolding you into the family of God. And you will never feel orphaned, for as he rises up within us, our spirits join him in saying the words of tender affection, “Beloved Father!” For the Holy Spirit makes God’s fatherhoodreal to us as he whispers into our innermost being, “You are God’s beloved child!” And since we are His true children, we qualify to share all his treasures, for indeed, we are heirs of God himself. And since we are joined to Christ, we also inherit all that he is and all that he has. We will experience being co-glorified with him provided that we accept his sufferings as our own.” – Romans 8:15-17 (TPT)
Our identity and hope are through the resurrecting LIFE in our veins—not our bloodline. This is important—SO important!
I say this because when it comes to sharing your faith with your family, it’s important to know who you are. Be firm in the identity God has given you—His beloved daughter. Because if/when your family doesn’t agree with your faith—you must rest upon God’s opinion of you—not your families’.
“For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ.” – Galatians 1:10 (ESV)
Personally, my family and I do not share the same faith values.
Faith was never talked about in our household growing up, and I came to know the love of Jesus outside my home. I’m beyond thankful to come from such an incredibly supportive family that I absolutely love with all my heart—but there’s also a difference between feeling “you do you” supported and feeling deeply known supported.
All that to say, it’s been quite the journey of learning how to walk out my faith with my family—and has resulted in a lot of tension, heartache, and frustration over the years (mainly by my unsaid expectations).
Up until recently, walking my faith out with my family has become more of a positive experience, and I want to be able to share with you what I’ve learned along the way.
*Also, I think it’s important to note that I haven’t “arrived” in how to do this well!
It’s a process—and I think it should continue to be that way. It requires me to lean on the Lord rather than myself, and I hope that continues to be my posture moving forward.
These are ideas that I’ve collected—but it’s not an exhaustive list. These are quick notes about what I’ve learned about sharing my faith with my family and how I’ve shared my faith with my family. These are just a list of ways to get started…
“And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.”
– 2 Corinthians 3:18 (ESV)
Before we can walk out our faith with our family outwardly, I think the first step requires us to look inwardly. All throughout Scripture, we can see that “the Lord looks at the heart” (1 Samuel 16:7 ESV). God knows our intentions and our motivations before we even realize it for ourselves! I think a crucial step in sharing our faith with our families requires self-awareness of our heart postures.
What is our motivation in sharing our faith with our families?
Is it to prove ourselves? Is it to make a point? Is it to boast? Is it to shame? Is it out of arrogance in a way where we think we’re better than our families? Is it to convert? Or is it to share what Jesus is doing in our lives? Is it so we can feel more understood? Is it to testify the goodness of the Lord?
I think if sharing our faith with our families doesn’t come from a place of love—we need to get right with the Lord before doing so.
WHY? The things you say are an overflow of where your heart is actually at.
“The mouth speaks what the heart is full of.” – Luke 6:45b NIV
We want to make sure that we speak in love—not speak in pride or judgment. We want to make sure that our words edify and encourage—not tear down.
So even if we have “good intentions” for sharing our faith with our families, our family will pick up on our true motivations for sharing. They’re smart and they’ll see through it. It’s important that we’re aware of our heart posture before exposing them to what could be more of a hurtful experience.
So, ask the Lord to speak into your intentions for wanting to share your faith—ask Him to highlight your true motivations. If you recognize you wouldn’t be sharing from a place of love—ask the Lord to re-posture your heart to be more in alignment with His love.
That’s why we’re here after all, right? To share His love and make Him known!
William Shakespeare once said, “Expectation is the root of all heartache,” and I don’t think he could have been more right! How often do we project unsaid expectations onto others—all while they have NO IDEA about the expectation we have for them?! They’ll never measure up because we haven’t given them any possible way to! People can’t read our minds—and yet somehow we expect them to. I’m beyond guilty of this.
It’s no secret that sometimes we all have hope for how we wish a situation would play out. What would it look like to be honest with the Lord about it?
For me, every time I tried to share my faith with my family while I was in high school, I found myself disappointed time and time again. I felt so rejected. I felt so misunderstood. I had an expectation that I would share my faith, and that my family would be so curious and really interested and then… I don’t know, accept Jesus as their Savior all of a sudden based on something I said. Pretty high expectations, right?! And on top of that—I was even comparing my family to some of my friend’s Jesus-loving families. I was setting myself up for disappointment!
It took a while for me to actually get honest with God that I was disappointed. To actually be honest with Him about the rejection I was feeling. To share with Him how much I loved my family and how desperately I wanted them to know the INCREDIBLE love of God that I knew.
I couldn’t strive on my own any longer—I had to get honest with God and ask Him to intervene.
I had to ask Him to change my heart. I had to ask Him to help me let go of the expectations I had for them (and myself). I was putting too much pressure on myself, and too high of an expectation on them. I had to allow God to reframe my viewpoint—and speak into what He expects of me—just to simply love them.
When I surrendered my expectations to Him—I felt freedom and release from carrying it all on my own.
“…casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.” – 1 Peter 5:7 (ESV)
It’s time to put this into action! It’s time to be bold and share your faith in love!
I hope that this leaves you with more hope than discouragement!
Remember that sharing your faith with your family is a process—it might even be a lifetime’s worth of processing. These things certainly take time.
Keep praying and keep trying.
Keep sharing and keep reflecting.
Keep forgiving and keep receiving grace.
God has something GOOD in store for your family. He cares about the generations behind you and before you! Don’t give up!!
Remember that the most important thing is that if your actions don’t match up with your words, they are just words. You could have the coolest stories of Jesus’ love to share with your family—but if they don’t see Christ’s love in you, they won’t remember your words. When you are in alignment with the Lord, there will be a natural overflow into different areas of your life. My prayer is that you live by example as you share your faith with your family as you love God and love others.
THANK YOU for your presence!! You are so good. You are a God of abundant joy and steadfast love! You are the source of LIFE, and your resurrection lives in our veins—despite the bloodline we come from. Thank you for adopting us into your Kingdom family! You call us your daughters and delight in us!! Lord— we can’t keep this JOY and LIFE to ourselves. We pray for your Spirit’s discernment when it comes to interacting with our family members. You love them—each of them—deeply. Convict us, Holy Spirit, of when to speak up or when to be slow to speak. God—you know the posture of our hearts and our truest intentions before we even speak. Thank you for knowing us and loving us deeply. We pray for Your wisdom in our interactions with our family members—may we be LIGHTS that radiate Your hope and Your goodness. May we testify to Your hope and the way you have intervened in our lives! We pray our words and actions glorify you!
In Jesus’ sweet and holy name,
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