You finally figured out what you’re meant to do in life (or who you’re meant to marry, or what job you’re meant to have). Maybe you’ve even finally found God’s call on your life! How, then, do you deal with discouraging family members or friends?
The worst is when your husband, boyfriend, or best friend doesn’t support you. It’s so discouraging to feel called or compelled to follow a certain path, go to a specific school, move to a particular country, or even adopt a certain dog…and be discouraged by the people who are supposed to love you most.
The most important thing—which kicks my three tips off below—is to know where your desire comes from. In other words, why are you doing the thing? Let’s use building a tabernacle as an example. Your “tabernacle” might be leaving an abusive or unhealthy relationship, moving to a different country, quitting an unsatisfying job, or even setting new boundaries with people.
The second most important thing is to learn and accept the reasons your family is discouraging you from building your tabernacle. If you don’t know their why, then you’ll just stay discouraged. You won’t even remember your own “why” (your reasons for building a tabernacle). You’ll just drown in their discouragement.
Good news! I have three things to help you deal with discouraging family members.
What to Remember When Your Family Discourages You
This blog post is part of my She Blossoms Through the Bible project; God willing, I’m writing an article for every chapter in every book of the Bible. I started with Genesis — beginning with The Reason You Were Created – Genesis 1. Enter Exodus!
Exodus 36 is about Moses and the Israelites building the tabernacle at Mount Sinai. Do you think they got discouraged? I sure do. How do you think they dealt with discouraging family members, friends, and neighbors? I have a few ideas…
1. Why are you building your “tabernacle”?
In Exodus 36:1 we learn why some Hebrew craftsman and artisans built the tabernacle: “So Bezalel, Oholiab and every skilled person to whom the Lord has given skill and ability to know how to carry out all the work of constructing the sanctuary are to do the work just as the Lord has commanded.” God not only gave them the skill and ability—which of course is incredibly encouraging!—but He also gave them the heart and spirit. Bezalel and his fellow workers felt compelled or called to build God’s tabernacle. God gave them special skills and abilities, talents and resources, time and motivation. This doesn’t mean they never got tired, confused, frustrated or even angry—nor does it mean their family never discouraged them. It just means they knew why they were building the tabernacle, and that changed everything.
List three reasons you’re building your tabernacle. What is motivating you to pursue the calling, leave the relationship, quit the job, or start a new business? If you’re the black sheep of the family, why are you following a different path than they expect? Get clear on what you want to create in your life, why you want to create it, and who you’re working for. If you follow Jesus, talk to Him about how discouraged and disappointed you feel. Ask the Holy Spirit to help you in ways you know naught of. That’s why God gave you Jesus and the Spirit—to talk to, walk with, and lean on. When you have problems with discouraging family members, remember that talking to Jesus is be the most important and powerful thing you could ever do.
2. Why is your family discouraging you?
Exodus 36 does not mention problems with discouraging family members while Moses and the Israelites were building the tabernacle, so perhaps I’m reading too much into Scripture. But I keep remembering that the Israelites were human, building a tabernacle is hard work, and working with people can be painful and stressful—even when you know you’re called by God. Exodus 36 doesn’t say that Belazel and his brothers, sisters, father or mother helped him build the tabernacle. Maybe his family helped, but they weren’t mentioned. Or maybe his family discouraged him because he was spending too much time at work, not getting enough sleep, not eating properly. I don’t know exactly what was happening, but I do know this: even the best, most loving family relationships can get complicated.
List three reasons your family is discouraging you from building your tabernacle. When you’re going through hard times with your family, you may be tempted to think they don’t want you to be happy. You may even think your family hates you…or you may hate them. A discouraging family member can tear you apart in so many ways; it’s a betrayal of the deepest kind. But, you will find it easier to deal with a disruptive family member if you know their reasons for discouraging you. Maybe they’re worried about your future, or the future of your tabernacle. Maybe they’re scared you’ll get hurt, or you’ll leave them behind. Maybe your family is discouraging you for their own reasons, which could be selfish or even unconscious. Try to learn their reasons for discouraging you.
3. Whose voice will you follow?
Guess whose voice the Israelites followed? “Then Moses summoned Bezalel and Oholiab and every skilled person to whom the Lord had given ability and who was willing to come and do the work. They received from Moses all the offerings the Israelites had brought to carry out the work of constructing the sanctuary. And the people continued to bring freewill offerings morning after morning. So all the skilled workers who were doing all the work on the sanctuary left what they were doing and said to Moses, “The people are bringing more than enough for doing the work the Lord commanded to be done.”Then Moses gave an order and they sent this word throughout the camp: “No man or woman is to make anything else as an offering for the sanctuary.” And so the people were restrained from bringing more,because what they already had was more than enough to do all the work.” – Exodus 36:2-7. The Israelites followed God’s voice, and brought more than enough supplies to build the tabernacle. The individuals and families brought so much, in fact, that Moses had to discourage them from bringing more.
Your family’s history or discouragement doesn’t have to dictate your destiny…unless you let it. What is the tabernacle you feel called to build in your life? If you sense or even hear God’s voice telling you to pursue a particular path, don’t let your family’s discouragement stop you! I know how hard it is to move forward when the people you love most are discouraging you…and I also know how fulfilling and meaningful it is to keep building a tabernacle when others don’t believe. Know that the power and love of Jesus and the Holy Spirit can change any situation—even one as disappointing and disheartening as discouraging family members.
Whose voice will you follow? Will you let your family’s discouragement stop you from building the tabernacle of your dreams? Your comments — big and little — are welcome below!
With His love,
P.S. If you’re struggling with fear and discouragement, read Stop Being Scared and Start Leaping in Faith – Blossom Tip 71.