I sat poolside among a few other moms, our bare feet dangling in the water. The hot sun beat down on the pavement as we chatted and kept tabs on our kids splashing around us. We had much in common – devoted moms with busy lives and a deep love for our families. But as the conversation continued, it veered into a direction that left me the odd man out. It quickly became clear that my goals, priorities and vision for my kids were terribly different than those expressed. The more evident it became, the more I bowed out of the conversation.

Later I told my mom about the encounter. “Sometimes I just feel like I don’t fit in.” She nodded and answered, “We don’t! We’re in the world but not of it.”

In my momlife, I’ve had many of these experiences. At times it can be disheartening and naturally I wonder, “Are they doing this wrong, or am I?” But according to God’s Word, if we are Christ followers, we are “aliens and foreigners” in this world and it should truly feel like we don’t belong.

[verse reference=”1 Peter 2:11″]Dear friends, I urge you, as aliens and strangers in the world, to abstain from sinful desires, which war against your soul.[/verse]

I’m not saying that all my parenting approaches and methods are perfect. But when God gives me a certain belief or passion thanks to life experiences and His Word, it is my responsibility to carry it out. And it’s ok if it doesn’t look like everyone else’s.

God gave my kids with their unique personalities to me and my husband, with our unique strengths and history, and we are to raise them the way He directs us.

Recently I had to explain to my kids what it means to have different “convictions.” They told me about someone they love doing something “inappropriate” (as their mama likes to call it), although I knew technically, the behavior they pointed out was not a sin. I had to explain to them that the Bible did not forbid this behavior, but due to my life experience, I had come to believe it was not in our best interest as Christians. This is a difficult subject to explain to children, but it’s important because as they get older, there will be more and more times when our convictions and boundaries as a family will differ from those they know. They need to get comfortable now with the idea of being different.

It’s a struggle that never really ends. Whether you’re a child, a teen, or a mid-lifer, the human desire to “fit in” is there. But as we grow in spiritual maturity, sanctified by the Holy Spirit, it should lessen. In essence, the closer we get to leaving our Earthly bodies and joining the Heavenly ranks, the greater our desire should be to fit in there rather than with the mortals of Earth. After all, this world is not our home.

There is a song by artist Joshua Micah that asks: Who says you’ll never feel alone in the crowd? Who says you gotta be like everyone else? Who says? Who says?”

There are times as Christians, and therefore as moms, when we will feel “alone in the crowd.” We are on a narrow path while others flock through the wide gate. Our decisions and parenting methods may not fit the status quo. But when we are tempted to feel lonely on our route, we should remember that we are in good company. The Old Testament prophets were not accepted. Jesus and the apostles did not fit the status quo. So whether we find ourselves misplaced among the world or even among believers due to a certain conviction God has given us, may we find strength from His Spirit and His Word to “run with endurance the race God has set before us.”

[verse reference=”Hebrews 12:1″]Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.[/verse]