I was talking with a good friend of mine last night – a mom. Super mom. Like, so great, I wish she would adopt me. And, she was sharing her heart and telling me how she has been re-evaluating how she parents. She said she realized that she had been disciplining her kids to please other people. Rather than looking at her children as individuals that she wants to impact and influence, she would spank when she thought that other mothers on the soccer field expected a spank. I still think she is Super Mom – even more-so now – because isn’t being a parent all about knowing how little you know and humbly trusting God to direct (and redirect) your path in this mission to love and shape your children into God-fearing adults?

After our chat, I realized that not only do I do this same thing in the way I parent, but really in every aspect of life. Anyone who enjoys being popular, will admit that they oftentimes base their decisions on what will make other people like them.

We’re living in a country with so many opposing opinions, it is hard to know or even to describe where you stand. Saying “I’m a Republican” won’t cut it anymore. Are you a tea-party Republican? Or a RINO? Or a socially liberal Republican? Or a libertarian Republican? Or…or…or… Can’t you just hear the other soccer mom’s whispering about you already? You’d better choose the right category of Republican.

All eyes were on Boston last week, and all mouths had different takes on how the situation was handled. There are those chanting “cover up!” and those who think it was an unconstitutional outrage that police officers locked down a city and searched private homes. There are others who say, “I’m a conservative, but I believe that the FBI did the right thing and that they did what was necessary for public safety, given there was a terrorist at large.”

I’m not going to share my opinion on Boston, but I will say this. Your opinion is the wrong opinion if you shaped it based on how many of your friends liked a particular meme on the topic. We all act like peer pressure ends in high school, but if we’re honest, don’t we watch our conservative or liberal leaning talk shows to learn how we’re supposed to feel about what’s happening in Washington?

We want to fit into a group, so we label ourself and then we look to our group leaders to see how we should think and feel. That is wrong.

Someone who I really admire is Kirsten Powers. She’s a liberal columnist for The Daily Beast and a Fox News contributor. She was a liberal atheist, turned born-again Christian and I love hearing what she has to say. She’s an individual who angers both sides because she stands for her convictions. She is THE liberal who brought the media blackout in the Gosnell trial to light, and she isn’t even in support of overturning Roe v. Wade.

We conservatives complain about “Obamabots,” but are we really that different? Do we get all of our news from the mouths of highly opinionated pundits or are we researching on our own? The White House has a website, and they post their press releases and legislation right on there for the world to see. Are any of us actually reading them? Or are we just reading excerpts with heavy spin?

The same thing goes for religion. How many “Christians” do you know who are living a life surrendered to Christ? If you look at surveys, most people who call themselves “Christians” are anything but. Hitler called himself a Christian. More self-identified “Christians” abort their babies than any other religious group. So, why are these people saying they are Christians? Is it because they were raised that way? Is it to make their moms happy?

I think that Americans tend to be followers. There are too many followers and not enough who are learning and thinking and fighting for convictions. We are a country of the masses.

It’s time that we all do what my mom-friend did and look inwardly at how we shape our convictions and why we have them. We need to first decide whether we’d rather have a comrade or a conviction, because the truth is, when you stand for genuine convictions, you WILL offend people. You will not be everyone’s comrade. And, you need to be okay with that.

Disciplining your kids by your own convictions may bring about some unwanted snarly comments from know-it-all-mom’s on the soccer field. But, you’ll know you’re doing right by your kids.

Reading and reviewing the decisions being made in Washington will cause you to fight for something – something that might make people in your own party call you stupid or ignorant. But, you’ll know you’re doing right by your country.

Reading the Bible for yourself and making a decision about whether or not you want to surrender your life to Jesus Christ will change your identity to many around you, who maybe thought of you as the “perfect Christian” but now see you as “weak” for doubting. But, you’ll know you’re doing right by God – because He desires a heart that is humble and one that seeks Him genuinely.

Take a good look at your convictions and choose to shape them around what’s right -not what’s popular.