If you’ve read my story, you know I’m the only Christian in my family. It’s not easy, but there are some things I’ve learned about surviving being the only Christian in your family!
10 Tips for How To Handle Living with Unbelievers
1. Know you are not alone
You have Jesus walking in front, behind and with you through every step.
It may feel very lonely when you are the only Christian in your family, but God supplies what you need.
Often I feel like I am missing out because I’m not able to compare “Jesus stories” or boast about him when really amazing and cool things happen, but truly, I lack nothing.
2. Pray without ceasing (even when things feel hopeless)
There were times when my parents would act out in ways I didn’t understand. Anger, disappointment and other emotions seemed to come out of them when something ungodly was trying to manifest in the house.
Hard times will come in your family like the loss of a loved one or financial struggles. You are going to have to pray your family through difficult moments so that Jesus shows up.
Hopefully one day, they’ll see His hand from your prayers.
3. Forgive them
Forgiving even when it hurts the most to forgive them is essential to surviving as the only Christian in your family.
Families are often the people who hurt us the most. Sometimes it is hard to bounce back after.
Whether it’s by their harsh words or uncaring actions always be ready to forgive. When hurtful things happen, it often reveals their own wounding and you are better able to pray.
Forgiving yourself is also a huge deal. When you are the only Christian you will sometimes wonder if you did God’s will in certain circumstances. Was there something I could have said better? Just trust that the Lord will honor your motives and He knows where your heart is, so even when you probably could have done something better, He is faithful to show you the fruit of your labor.
4. Discern their attitude
When dealing with my parents, and most people for that matter, one can usually tell when said person does not want to talk.
Knowing when to share something faith related can be difficult. There is a time to share and a time to move ahead.
When approaching family with questionable substances, we must discern our own attitude as well as theirs.
Here are some things to consider:
- Are they open to hearing what you have to say?
- Are you open to listening to what they have to say?
- Is the conversation heated? Calm? A debate? A discussion?
5. Share your experiences
When your family doesn’t experience God in a similar way, there can be a certain fear that comes with sharing your experiences and testimony.
What if they don’t believe you? What if they aren’t excited as you are?
Like I stated before, there is a time to share your experiences.
I remember telling my mother about some miracles that I had witnessed: physical healing and prophetic gifting. She wasn’t as excited to hear them as I was telling them.
A part of me thought, “This is amazing stuff! Why aren’t you soaking it in and accepting Jesus as your Savior in this very moment!”
But I have to remind myself that God has his timing. I have seen over the last five years that her interest in hearing these experiences has gone way up…she’s not completely there but it is making a difference. Sharing my experiences has played a role in her increased interest in my faith.
6. Expect Discouragement
Unfortunately, discouragement comes quite often in this journey.
I know it’s easy for us to lose hope but it won’t work.
For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through the endurance taught in the Scriptures and the encouragement they provide we might have hope. Romans 15:4 NIV
Jesus died to give us hope.
Although this journey feels so much longer than it needs to be sometimes, we must keep reminding ourselves that our family will have such a story to share and that is going to bring God glory.
7. Discern your battles
Discerning your battles is important, especially when combating the worldly views that may cloud your family’s judgment.
I have had many discussions with my parents about topics near to God’s heart such as abortion.
It can be a humbling experience when you realize you do not have a strong argument but only a strong conviction for the truth. You know what you are speaking is truth.
God has shown me that when you go into a battle with your own head knowledge and do not listen to the Holy Spirit’s prompting, there is no glory. Sometimes it is better not to engage in certain conversations because God has a different plan.
8. Lead by example
We cannot be the type of Christian who tells people the things they should do and never do them ourselves.
Your family is watching how you handle situations – is it in a Christ-like manner? How I treat my family even when I feel undignified matters more to God than being right.
This is the biggest struggle for me… God asked me to treat them with kindness and love even when my brothers treat me harshly. This will make the biggest difference in how they see Christ.
How I have changed over the years is proof that God can change a heart. Changes in my brothers have been huge in just the last 2 years – they actually say they miss me. They are eager to be around me and sometimes even hug me.
9. Boldly Give
Be bold in offerings, mainly your time and energy.
I think they appreciate it more when I offer to help them with certain things, like:
- Spend a day at the house weeding and working on the yard.
- Invite them often to events they would never otherwise have gone to.
- Ask them how they are doing and talk about what they want to talk about.
In my house, playing video game that I have no inclination to play just so we can spent quality time together means I’m sacrificing my time to show my love for them.
10. Trust God
Every day I have to surrender my family at the Lord’s feet.
I cannot be responsible for them or worry day in and day out for their salvation.
Recently, I went to a Bible study and was given a prophetic word. She said even after years of sharing testimony’s and experiences, I would be the one to lead my family to Christ. That is what God has promised me.
Hearing this, only affirmed what God has spoken to me about them. He has revealed to me who they are as his people (even though they may not be His just yet), He has helped me to understand why they are the way they are and how it has affected me.
I fully trust God to bring them into His kingdom. No matter how long it takes.
What About You?
Are you the only Christian in your family?
What are some of your best ideas on how to cope with being the only Christian in your family?
Share and maybe others will benefit from your wisdom too!
My name is Ashley. I live in Minnesota. I currently work for a lawn and construction company whike going to school full time. Graduating in December with my Bachelors in Business Management. I have a cat and love to visit my three dogs living with my parents. I have two younger brothers and I love art, music and Jesus.