The “Alternative” Lifestyle Can Be Lonely

 Herbal bath after our homebirth

 

The more I get into “natural” or “alternative” living, the more I seem to alienate myself from those around me.  It’s not something I intend or want to do; it just happens.  Let’s be honest.  No matter how sure you are about the decisions you make, it’s really hard to be questioned by friends and family.  I tend to want to share everything I learn, even if that sometimes means people will either a) get mad at me or b) look at me like I’m a lunatic.  “No, we didn’t go to the doctor when we all had bronchitis, we just drank some tea infused with garlic”; “Yes, we’re going to have this baby at home”; “No, I don’t plan on taking the baby to see a doctor after he/she is born”; and my personal favorite: “Yes, I make my own lotion/deodorant/laundry detergent/bread/insert any item most people buy at the store here.”  If you’ve ever uttered any of these phrases, you have probably been met with an incredulous response at least once.  Then the explanations start: “Yes, I’ve done my research; yes I feel comfortable with our decision.”  If you’re lucky, the conversation will end there.  But, if you’re like me, you may often find yourself racking your brain for all of the information you’ve researched about the topic (I wish I could pull up charts and data in my brain with the click of a button!) so you can spew statistics like a human computer.  Also, if you’re like me, you will leave the conversation feeling dejected, frustrated and lonely.

 

By Faith, Noah Built the Ark

So, tired of finding myself in this predicament, I sometimes find myself withdrawing instead.  I have learned to be discreet about certain decisions that we make as a family about our nutrition and health.  It can be incredibly lonely to not join in on conversations because you lack common ground with your counterparts.  I was recently beginning to feel pretty low about my lack of friends who share both my faith and my commitment to natural living, when my midwife shared some wonderful words of wisdom with me: Hebrews 11:7- “ By faith Noah, when warned about things not yet seen, in holy fear built an ark to save his family. By his faith he condemned the world and became heir of the righteousness that is in keeping with faith.”  Just by being obedient to the Lord, Noah cast condemnation over the rest of the world.  But the condemnation didn’t come from Noah; it came from the Lord.

 

Don’t Throw Your Pearls to the Pigs

How many times have you shared an opinion about something, only to have the recipient of said opinion immediately feel like you are judging them?  Or worse- they judge you?  I have come to the conclusion that all I can do is try and live as closely to the way the Lord would have me live as I can, and not worry about what that means for those around me.  That doesn’t mean I tell people they shouldn’t feed certain things to their children, nor do I give much explanation when I don’t let my own children have something that others are.  Only if someone asks questions or seems genuinely interested in why I make decisions the way I do, do I really get into the reasoning behind them.  Another very wise woman shared the following verse with me: “Do not give dogs what is sacred; do not throw your pearls to pigs. If you do, they may trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you to pieces” (Matthew 7:6).  I have often found myself being “torn to pieces” because I chose to open up about an alternative decision I’ve made.  Lately, I’ve been trying to let the Lord guide me in whether or not I should open up about something, and more often than not, the right decision seems to be to keep quiet!  Why put myself in the position to be torn to pieces?

 

Let Yourself Be A Tool

Noah was merely a tool, and his obedience saved his family.  I’d like to think that my obedience is also “saving” my family in a sense.  I feel wonderful when I’m able to give my children good, nourishing food.  It gives me great satisfaction to refuse unnecessary medical interventions for which the risks outweigh the rewards.  And nothing gives me more pleasure than seeing my children thrive due to those decisions.  I believe the good feeling I get when taking care of my family is the Lord’s response to my obedience.  It lets me know I’m doing the right thing!  And even though I face uncertainty from time to time as I face new decisions (Should I home school?  Should we sell our home to buy a place “out in the country”?), I know that through prayer and petition, the Lord will continue to guide my decisions.  The information I’ve received to this point isn’t just happenstance.  The Lord has placed people in my life to share some wonderful knowledge, most of which I’ve used to change the way we do a lot of things in our family.  I just have to learn to trust in my God-given intuition as I continue to navigate these difficult decisions in taking care of my family.

 

So go ahead, build an ark!  Make the unpopular decisions because you know that’s what is right for YOUR family!  But, learn to be wise in sharing about those decisions, and be prepared to face adversity.  And know that you are not alone, and that your family will be blessed by the decisions you make!

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6 thoughts on “The “Alternative” Lifestyle Can Be Lonely

  1. I totally understand how you feel. As we have ventured deeper and deeper into living naturally/traditionally/healthy we feel more and more alienated from friends and society in general. Being healthy is great, but it does get lonely. Glad to know there are other “weirdos” out there like us. 😀

  2. You are an encouragement to me Jaclyn. You motivate me to want to learn more. Thanks for writing this. And I’m a weirdy bean too as my daughter likes to call us:)

  3. Jaclyn, what wonderful insight you have. I have also experienced this same alienated feeling and ridicule, even from my own family members!! Thankfully you have started this lifestyle early and your babies readily accept it as part of their lives. You are doing the right thing and don’t let anyone dissuade you from your intended goals. You are teaching your children values and ways that sets them on a path to future successes of standing up for what they believe in. I believe this will lead them to be different from the world around them. Isn’t this exactly what God called us to be, “set apart”? When I, a public school teacher, chose to remove Madison from public school and send her to the Christian school, that is not endorsed by the dept. of ed., I heard quite a bit of bad talk from others. Now when I hear the Godly words of wisdom that come out of her mouth compared to some of the worldly answers and behavior from students in her former class, I know it was the right choice. Stick with your choices, the only ones you need consult are God and your husband.

    • Thanks, Debbie! I’m sure you understood my feelings well giving your daughter an “alternative” education. We are going to try homeschooling for this first year and see how it goes for the same reasons. Sometimes being “set apart” doesn’t really feel all that great, but being obedient is a reward in and of iteself.

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