Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Nitty Gritty Day 3- When Sanballat Testifies Against You

Sanballat- that old naysayer from the Old Testament who bullied and badgered Nehemiah as he tried to do something extraordinary, crazy and what everyone said couldn't be done. Sound familiar? Sanballat is THE one who made Nehemiah's life, vision and mission so miserable that his nagging, pestering persona has been recording since ancient history. Sanballat is a great analogy of the people who go beyond "concern" (though they initially might start out that way) and actively try to destroy what you are doing and how you are doing it.

Homeschooling, my friends, while it is now legal in every state, and everyone knows someone who has or does do it, is still way off the beaten path. And because of that, I am warning you, you are inviting the Sanballat's of your life to come out of their closets and holes and torment you. Because one thing our public school has taught everyone to do very, very, very well, is to conform.
The Nitty Gritty? 
Homeschoolers don't conform.
Sanballat was a bully (dressed up in a lot of royal finery- read, he's not always easy to identify).
He wanted his way, power, control and the ability to tell people what to do and how to do it?
Homeschooling paints a target on your back and invites the Sanballat's to act out thier control issues towards you, your family and your children.

I'm sure there's a few people in your life like that. So, what's a homeschooler to do?

1. Recognize that you will encounter a Sanballat (or 2, or 3 or more) during this journey of homeshcooling. Homeschooling is really about intentional parenting. Sanballat's hate that. They'd rather have everyone shuffling through the doors of  a mass educational institution learning the ways of dog eat dog existence. Because people steeped in conformity are easier to control.
2. Take note of how destructive they are- are they simply asking irritating questions or are they undermining your relationship with your kids? Are they someone you see everyday or once a year. Are they a relative, a social worker, a friend, a neighbor? How committed to the relationship are you? Have their irritating questions devolved to pity towards you or your children? (in other words, are their words or behavior getting progressively demeaning?) By definition a Sanballat is someone who can cause serious damage to you and your purpose. They aren't just interested in discouraging you- though  that could be a huge part of their strategy. They are interested in tearing down what it is you are trying to accomplish with no concern for your vision or purpose.
3. Determine what hedges of protection you need to take. Fielding irritating questions from a neighbor at the pool is a totally different deal than a close relative who undermines parental authority and trash talks parental decisions such as homeschooling, family size, and other decisions to or in front of the kids. Nehemiah built a wall around Jerusalem- a wall to keep the bandits out and the Holy of Holies safe from marauders. You might need to build some some boundary walls as well.
4. Determine with your spouse what measures you need to take for the health and well-being of your family and then stand firm.

This all gets really dicey when its a relative involved. Especially when you are attempting to live out scriptural mandates of honor, respect and love and the relative involved is trying to work out their own agenda. We've encountered this and it has damaged our family in fundamental ways. If I did not truly believe in the God of Redemption, I would say that these Sanballat's have damaged our family in ways so profound that members of it, and who we are collectively, might never recover.

One of our biggest parenting mistakes has been to ignore yellow warning signs- kids not being allowed to or belittled for calling home while in the care of these people, our decisions and fundamental family values being questioned and undermined like family size, where we go to church, our decision to homeschooling, our politics, where and how we live, being belittled in front our children and us. Incessant questioning of our decisions. Constantly feeling the need to justify how we live. Being the ones to take the hit and pay the price in the relationship, even when the return on it continues to diminish. Loving Sanballats is tricky. Nitty Gritty? Love them with your eyes wide open and maybe from afar.

If you go off the beaten path, prepare to get a bit beaten up. Especially if you are a Christian. The enemy hates you. He hates your children. He hates anything you do that follows a decision for Christ and not for socialism or self or conformity or him. Because Christians are far more dangerous than homeschoolers, even. And so, the enemy will send Sanballats to beat on you, to offer false testimony, to lie, cheat, steal, kill and destroy whatever they can so that you end up discouraged, give up and go live the same life of mediocrity and consumerism and so-so as everyone else.

If I sound like  I'm some crazy radical let me assure you. We pay our taxes (an awful lot of them!), we follow the laws and engage in a whole lot of other normal, expected activity. But the reality is that if you are seeking out what God wants for you in life, in you are seeking out what is best for your kids, it might take you beyond what's expected. You might start questioning formula, or hospital births or vaccines or government school. I'm not saying if you do any of those things, you are not following God or your conscious, I'm just saying you might start asking questions. Just like Nehemiah, the status quo might not "be good enough for you" (an age old argument against homeshooling, "Why do you think you're better than your public school neighbors?") The reality is you are not better than anyone, but you have been called to do something different.

When the Sanballats show up you need to do things to protect yourself and your kids and your family. This might include limited contact with these people. Prayer. Prayer that God would give you the heart, courage and resources to complete the good work that He has called you too. Nehemiah had the King of Persia on his team- firepower, right?! You have the King of Kings on yours (unless you don't know Him, in which case, pm me and let's talk ; )

2 Chronicles 20:17 You will not have to fight this battle. Take up your positions; stand firm and see the deliverance the LORD will give you, O Judah and Jerusalem. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. Go out to face them tomorrow, and the LORD will be with you.' "

Luke 21:19 By standing firm you will gain life.
Come back all week long for more Nitty Gritty!
#1 Organize You, Your Stuff, Your Space, Your Students
#2 Show UP
#3 When Sanballet Testifies Against You
#4 The Dangers of Teaching Truth in a Post Modern World
#5 Staying the Course / Finishing Well -when to stop, when to re-asses
Summer Blog Hop


Anonymous said...

I SO get this!!!!!

Wish someone had prepared me 10 years ago.

Great post.

Anonymous said...

Sometimes the Sanballat is me. I discourage myself and question myself way more than anyone around me has. Sometimes the Sanballat is your own pastor who uses you as an "anonymous" example of overprotecting children from the world when they really need to be out there evangelizing their classmates.

LaughingLioness said...

Thank-you for your comments! It's so true- sometimes Sanballat is US and sometimes its those we look to for protection and love. hugs to you both!