I have lived most of my life doing what others tell me to do. Whoever seems trustworthy, spiritual, intelligent or socially mature is who I will listen to and make decisions based on what they say without much thought of my own. It took listening to the wrong people and making wrong life decisions with painful consequences to wake me up to my irresponsibility of not thinking for myself.
As I was planning a home birth with my fourth child, I had a wonderful midwife who taught me to make informed decisions. I just wanted her to tell me what to do in my pregnancy (just like I did with the doctors in my other pregnancies) without my taking responsibility in understanding my body, nutritional health, testing, herbs, circumcision, vaccinations, etc. She would give me lots of information from lots of different sources that would give me both sides of an issue. Then she would ask me, "What is your decision?"
At first this made me really uncomfortable. I was used to entrusting myself into the hands of others without thought and realized how often I just want someone to tell me what to do. I don't want to take the time to really understand the issues and also to have to take the responsibility for the consequences! If we just listen to others' opinions and things go wrong, we can just blame them. Being an informed decision-maker means I must take time, learn to think, learn to discern, pray, and make a decision based on all the facts along with the Lord's leading. It causes me to become more intuitive and to ultimately entrust myself to the Lord.
Having the home birth changed my life because it truly empowered me. The process showed me that I had been a blind follower throughout my life (mostly out of sheer fear) and that having a home birth was something I decided to do without the influence of anyone else in my life. And I did it! And I became responsible for my body and my daily living in a whole new way.
Being an empowered thinker transformed every area of my life after that home birth. I simply cannot get enough of the library or the internet for research. I feel free for the first time in my life to question everything in my faith, my values, my habits, my eating choices, my finances, my relation to creation, my homeschooling, my parenting, my home, my community, my church, my hobbies, and on and on. I read a wide variety of authors and viewpoints on every topic that sparks interest in me. I examine, talk with Mike, pray, compare ideas with the truth of the Bible, realize that there is sooooo much I just don't know in life, and then jump into learning even more! My brain has come alive! My faith has deepened and been encouraged, enriched, and expanded...God is bigger than I ever imagined and more wonderful than I ever dreamed. Many of my lifestyle choices are changing and evolving as I seek to find a simple and more natural way of living in every single area of my life. I want to live life well and with authenticity.
Why do you do what you do? Are you just going with the cultural flow? Or with the culture of your faith? Or with your family or friends? Are you afraid to question life? To take full responsibility for your choices?
Be empowered to walk your own walk in dependence on the Lord. Read both sides of every issue and know all your options in the daily choices you make. Talk to or read many different people in areas that interest or concern you. Live deliberately, responsibly, humbly and with mindful intention. Listen to the gentle promptings of the Holy Spirit. Trust Him and your gut.
Enjoy the expanding journey!