Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Think for Yourself

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!


Lois E. Lane said...

Thank you for sharing such inspiring thoughts! For me, empowerment came not as much from simply starting to make my own decisions as it did from making a series of poor ones and learning from them. One of the blessings of adulthood (if you embrace it) is really getting know yourself and having a true understanding of why you prefer certain things to others. It's also important to note the difference between taking responsibility for your life and thinking you're in control of your life -- what a peaceful balance to make informed decisions while accepting the circumstances we cannot change. Thanks again and God bless!

AIMEE said...

i agree with your distinction b/t responsibility and our choices we can't control the outcomes of our lives or our children, but must be faithful to still be responsible and trust the results to the Lord. We walk an ACTIVE faith that steps out and trusts even though we'll fail and make mistakes...I have lived a "passive" faith and lifestyle for many years and have consequently allowed myself to be blown around by many people and teachings.

Andrea said...

I love what you've said here. For years, growing up and in my early 20s, particularly, I was apt to listen to others and let others make those decisions for me. (Which I think is common at that age.) There comes a point in our adult life where we need to be responsible in our decisions, and have that active faith which you just said.
When we moved to NY 8 years ago, it was a lonely time being away from family and the close community I had known. However this forced me to form who I am and not rely on my family's opinions or friends' opinions, so I am grateful for that.
It sounds like you had an amazing midwife...was she Christian? If we ever get pregnant again, I am seriously considering a homebirth, too.
Blessings to you Aimee, and thanks for sharing!!

Wheelchair Mama said...

Another WOW to this post. This came on a day we were going through books and rearranging our house a bit. I looked at this books and realized...have I ever read this? What have I become? My brain needs more food, that's for sure. College kind of soured my joy for reading...I plan to rekindle that! Thank you for your blog. It helps me on my journey to a simple life.

Mrs. Pivec said...

Wonderful post, Aimee.

I have long been doing things my own way... not in a fighting way, but, just as you write, going with the way that works and feels right for me and my family.

I am thankful to be able to live and act with freedom and intention in our country. We *are* allowed the freedom to make our own choices and because of that I have been led to have a vegetarian diet for the past 19 years, homeschool my children, practice voluntary simplicity, and much more.

This same freedom, coupled with listening and trust in the Holy Spirit, has led me away - for the moment - from the church in an institutional sense. This has been big for me and is one of the harder choices I have made in a long, long time. And yet, I am thankful, again, to be able to listen and wait until I am led to another place or community or just group of fellow believers with whom I may fellowship.

It's not easy - as you noted - choosing your own path, because plenty others might not be on that path with you... at all! But, not only does it grow you, but it also allows you to be empathetic to others who are making their own way and wish them the courage they'll need - as we all need - on the journey ahead.

Jana said...

I tried responding to your comment on my blog via email, but I got an error message telling me the email address was unavailable. Anyway, here's what I wrote:

Thanks for stopping by my blog and for taking the time to leave a
comment. I spent a few brief moments scanning your blog, and I LOVE
IT! I've bookmarked it and will be coming back for a good, REAL read!

Elizabeth said...

Hi Aimee,
I love your blog. I was taught to be a good girl and do what i was told. I was never allow to think for myself or ask questions.In the past few years I am learning to ask questions and make decisions for myself. My sweet husband has started refusing to make all the decisions for me. He has started forcing me to research things and to make choices for myself. It is freeing once we take the first chance. Thanks for sharing .

christy said...

Excellent post. We used a midwife - but they don't offer home birthing here. It was a wonderful experience even though we ended up at the hospital. I love your post so much that I re-posted it with lot of bloggy love.