For childfree women, an unspoken culture of shame exists within the Church. When you’re childfree and in ministry, everyone and their mother seems to have an opinion on your life choices. Here are five truths to always come back to:
Just because you’re not a parent doesn’t mean you can’t partner well with parents.
When you don’t have kids, it’s intimidating to give guidance to parents. How can you know they’ll take you seriously?Russel Brunson says it best:
“You don’t have to be the most knowledgeable person in the world on your topic, you just have to be one chapter ahead of the people you’re helping”
You have valuable perspective and resources to offer. It’s important to stay humble and acknowledge the limitations of your own experience, but don’t sacrifice your parent ministry on the altar of your own insecurity.
Here are a few resources to keep you one chapter ahead:
You don’t owe anyone an apology.
“When we can let go of what other people think and own our story, we gain access to our worthiness—the feeling that we are enough just as we are and that we are worthy of love and belonging.” -Brene Brown
If being childfree makes someone uncomfortable, that says much more about their maturity than the validity of your decision.
You don’t owe anyone an apology or explanation for being childfree. Don’t bend backwards so that you can fit neatly within someone else’s worldview.
You are uniquely positioned to show the love of Jesus in a way that others can’t.
Let’s get real. A lot of time, emotional investment, and money goes into parenting. It’s respectable, but tough.
Being childfree doesn’t make you a better youth worker, but it does free you to invest more time, resources, and emotional energy into discipling your students. These should not be points of shame in your story, but points of gratitude. Praise God.
Rest. Protect your time.
Having more time to invest in ministry does not give anyone license to take advantage of your time. If you want to avoid burnout, make it a priority to develop healthy rhythms of rest so you can continue to thrive in ministry and show students the love of Jesus.
“If we want to live a Wholehearted life, we have to become intentional about cultivating sleep and play, and about letting go of exhaustion as a status symbol and productivity as self-worth.” – Brene Brown
Here are a few resources to help you prioritize rest:
Kids never have or never will define you.
When we talk to teenagers about identity, what do we tell them?
We remind them that they are made in God’s Image, and that they are His children. That they are loved and valued. That’s who they are.
It’s about time we start practicing what we preach.
Being childfree doesn’t make you lesser or greater than someone who has chosen to be a mom. Having kids or being childfree shapes you, but it is not and never will be your identity.
At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter if you have zero kids or fifteen, our identity is found in Christ alone. Live out of that identity, be faithful, and go do what you’ve been called to do: show teenagers who God is.
“But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.” 1 Peter 2:9