Apr
03
2012

Nonconformity Has Blessings

I was sitting in the waiting room at the hospital. A commercial came on and it displayed a theme that I’ve seen before. A crowded street — downtown Manhattan or somewhere similar — with hundreds of people all walking in the same direction.

It’s a familiar storyline. You know what comes next, don’t you? One guy looks behind him with a look on his face that says, “Wow, I should’t be going in this direction!” In this commercial, the good looking young man found a good looking young lady. The two, together, found the light with walking against the current. They’re rewarded somehow…they buy whatever the commercial was selling.

My, my. Isn’t it interesting how media glamorizes nonconformity? You’d think nonconformists would be more appreciated.

Like a lot of families who visit this site. Moms and dads like to read our articles to be encouraged as they raise their children – sometimes several children. They are not the typical two-income, two kids, two car families that you’d find on television. In fact, it took me sitting in the waiting room at a hospital to turn on the boob tube for the first time in months! We don’t even own a television set, as do 97% of American homes. In fact, there are lots of odd-ball things we are in the minority on:

There are more, I suppose, but it is interesting to note that many large families fit this mold. It isn’t because there is some “how to be a nonconformist family” book out there that mandates these things. I believe (at least it’s a strong hunch) that Christ followers are – or should be – repulsed by conformity:

“Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind…” – Romans 12:2

Meditate on this for a bit. This is not a bitter condemnation of all things of this world. We wear normal clothes, eat regular food, go to popular movies, and all sorts of things that some Christians may feel are worldly. By all means, our convictions are not condemnations on small families (or television or public schools or employed people). This is a simple understanding that, for most, the conviction to walk the road less traveled is usually that — a conviction — that doesn’t come from a popular mandate. Convictions come from God. It takes a significant amount of faith to step out of the expected direction.

Here’s another thought. While the media may glamorize nonconformity in commercials like the one I saw in the hospital waiting room, the media doesn’t really encourage it. They want everyone to buy their bag of goods, just like in the commercial. Nonconformity has a cool factor to it, but those of us who are living it feel the subtle condemnation that comes from our family, neighbors, coworkers, etc. Wendy and I have learned to shrug it off our backs, growing in confidence that the life of nonconformity is more than just a cool trend. It’s quite awesome.

And what a wonderful conviction it is to love another child. We have a house full of blessings as a result of this road less traveled, this life of Family, Children, Love & Jesus. Nonconformity definitely has its blessings.

About Chris Jeub

Chris is the father of 16 children, busily running the family businesses and learning the depths of love along the way.

  • Sheila (UK)

    An excellent post Chris!
    We are to be in this world but not of it. We are always to be mindful of where the broad road leads.
    There is a line in a Ralph Stanley song which says, “Though narrow the way, thank God I can say, I’m travellin’ the highway home.”

    • http://www.jeubfamily.com/ Chris Jeub

      Thanks Sheila! I always appreciate your feedback.

      Say, Wendy and I still have not seen your show. The links you sent me a while back didn’t work. Something to do with the UK and US formats. Do you have some updated links? Youtube?

      Or, if I can beg and plead with you, could you send me a DVD?

      • Sheila (UK)

         Hi Chris,
                    I am sorry that the links I sent you didn’t work. Here is another one for you to try.
            http://www.channel4.com/programmes/15-kids-and-counting/4od       

        • http://www.jeubfamily.com/ Chris Jeub

          Still not working. It appears that the 4oD format is not readable here in the US (or outside the UK), some sort of IP requirement. Below is the webpage that I’m led to, and the link that says some movies are available internationally doesn’t go to any movies that can be seen here in the States. Do you have any ideas to get that movie to me?

          http://www.channel4.com/4viewers/faq/name/can-i-watch-4od-in-another-country/id/400288839

          • Sheila (UK)

            Sorry Chris but that was the only link that I could find.
             The only other thing that I can suggest is for you to get in touch with Tania at “Larger Family  LIfe” as her family features in the film.
                I know that you have posted on their website before and I am sure she would be able to help

            • http://www.jeubfamily.com/ Chris Jeub

              Heh, don’t I feel silly. I got you and Tania mixed up. I’ll get a hold of Tania. Thanks!

  • T. Gates

    Thanks, Chris!  I needed this at this point in my life.  Being in my early 30’s with five children ages seven and under is not “normal” and does leave me feeling left out of the two kids, working mom circle sometimes.  Those moms don’t understand me, nor do they try, even within my own church.  I love my life and am so happy that God has blessed me beyond comprehension!  I may not fit in with the “crowd”, but they don’t know what they’re missing!

    • http://www.jeubfamily.com/ Chris Jeub

      Your post is very interesting. Early 30s? Five kids 7-and-under? Wendy and I were right there with you. Now in our early 40s, our crown is much nicer. I suspect it will only get better. Not many regrets on this road less traveled. 

  • Fran

    I’m proud of you and Wendy. God is smiling!

  • Mjohnandsarah

    Isn’t it ironic how marketing reps want us “Non-conform” all in the same way?  LOL

    Blessings to you as you “stick out” today!  
    “Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.” Matthew 5:16Sarah M. in MI

  • Angela Beltran

    At age 36, with 8 kids and 1 on the way I really don’t fit the mold of what normal “is”. And I guess I’m really happy about that. Normal seems so boring to me, always has. I also home school my kids and people seem to get so lost when they find out about my family. I can’t figure out if people are scared or confused why I would want this life. At the end of the day I LOVE my life. I think people feel we must be supermoms or dads, but we not. We get mad and yell sometimes, we have our ups and downs just like everyone else. Just with more noise. ( I love the noise! )

    • http://www.kjllovemylife.blogspot.com ~kjl

      Angela, you sound like me… except I have 7 kids and 1 on the way. 😉  Other than that, I could have written your comment!  Even the name of my blog is “Gotta’ Love My Life.” 

  • Rizzi1009

    My husband is in his early 30’s and im 25, and we have 5 children, ages 7 years down to 7 months old! and nobody agrees with us even our own family gets mad with each new pregnancy and gets mad at how we raise our children, not much tv etc…    its hard, but worth it!

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  • http://twitter.com/anjanetteopal Anjanette Barr

    I’ve always leaned toward non-conformity. If I were born in a different time or in a society where I enjoyed less freedom, I’d probably be arrested or worse at some point in my life. I’m very thankful to have the option to rebel against the norm a little without fearing for life and limb.

    That being said, non-conformity can be an idol. I struggled particularly as a teenager (whoda thunk?) with wanting to, well, conform, to the ideas of other non-conformists – just because it was the minority behavior/opinion.
    I’m thankful to be a bit more removed from that time of my life (I’m 28 now, expecting baby #3 in July), but still have to remind myself to analyze each decision individually and take or leave things based on whether or not they will honor God in our particular circumstances.

    THAT being said, we don’t own a tv either. We also live on one income and make many of the choices you do.

  • Molliem

    We have 5 going on 6 children.  It is liberating to give it over to God. Although satan has been at work. I truely feel that we are living the rich, exciting, joyful life!

  • Katiuska

    Have you thought about adoption?

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