So, you’ve made this commitment to God to go, do, say and give as He leads. What happens if what God calls you to do isn’t what your parents imagined or expected?
When the Bible clearly teaches that we are to both honor and obey our parents, it’s hard to justify going against their wishes. Both the fifth commandment (Exodus 20:12) and Ephesians 6:1-3, as well as other passages, admonish children to revere and obey their fathers and mothers.
God’s Gift to You
Certainly not all family situations are healthy, and there are times we have to make choices that are independent of parents who are unable to be stable and helpful influences in our lives. If you were blessed with one or more parents who provided love and shelter and food and opportunity for years, they probably are thinking about what is best for you. Your parents are one of God’s most precious gifts to you. Their wishes should be among the pieces of information you consider in discerning God’s leading.
We are always to be committed to honoring our parents, but there comes a time when we are personally accountable before God.
College is a transitional time. In most cases parents are still providing financial support, and yet there is a growing sense you are becoming independent. It’s often difficult to point to an exact day that you move from under your parents’ direct responsibility to being independent before the Lord. Living in this transitional time, therefore, requires wisdom and prayer, and both courage and humility.
As you pray and discern what God is calling you to do, go, give or say, finding ways to honor your parents in potentially hard conversations is important. This demonstrates obedience to God and gives them evidence of your growing maturity and faith.
Here are a few ideas to consider:
• Pray that your parents will have a positive response, and that you will respect their decision. (Ephesians. 6:1-3)
• Provide them with information, so they won’t imagine the worst.
• Be prepared to answer questions. It’s easy to get defensive if you are unsure or get confused.
• Help them understand how this next step will help you grow as a person and as a Christian.
• Ask for your parents’ input. They may surprise you. It’s amazing, but the rest of your life you will be discovering just how wise your parents really are!
• Be lovingly persistent, but give them time to think about how they will support you. This will communicate two things. First, it will show them you are serious about responding to God. Second, it will communicate that you respect them and are concerned about with what they think.