What does it mean to go against the grain in life?

woman leading horse

Plainly put, going against the grain in life simply means doing what you know you should do even if no one else is.  Forging your own path.  Not caring what everyone else is doing or how they’re doing it. Following your own arrow….even when it’s hard.

​For this purpose, going against the grain has nothing to do with:

  • a piece of wood
  • how to cut roast beef
  • direction of the grain
  • the direction of hair growth
  • ingrown hairs
  • razor burn
  • a closer shave

We’re talking about societal norms and going the opposite direction when needed.

None-the-less, who cares?  Seriously, why are we even talking about this?

I’ll tell you why.  Our world is getting crazy. Culture is losing its stinking mind.  And all too often, Christians are found right smack dab in the middle of the mix.  It’s disgusting.  Aren’t we called to be more? To be bold, strong and courageous?  If we don’t stand up for truth and morality, who will?  

If we want to see change, it starts with us.

And this will happen once we start living differently.  Not just following the crowd. Turning east when everyone else is going west.  Take different directions!  Just because everyone is doing something one way, does not mean it is the best way!  At this point, it is often the wrong way.

Going Against the Grain is for Both Major and Minor Issues

Minor Issue: Having a milk cow and chickens.

For example, Mark and I are loving this modern homesteading thing.  However, it is surprising (yet somehow not) how many people think we are complete idiots.  Dare I say nearly more people than not literally think this is so stupid, worthless, and possibly that we have completely lost our minds.  They have in their minds that we obviously have too much time on our hands, are overreacting to what we see happening in the world, and somehow don’t realize that it is way easier to go to the store and buy milk.

The truth is, there are different ways to this life. Yes, this is what Mark and I have chosen.  It certainly is the best way for us.  That doesn’t mean it is the best way for everyone.

In the same breath, it gets annoying trying to explain why we do what we do to people like that. Moreover, it gets annoying that I can fall into feeling as though I need to justify our decisions to someone.  Going against the grain often comes with negative connotations.  When it does, remember that you’re likely talking to someone who doesn’t go against the grain, therefore cannot understand.

Here’s a life tip (and listen up Brittany): If you know you are doing right, and it must align with God’s ways, then do it, and do it confidently.  You don’t need to apologize. You don’t need to ask for permission.  You certainly don’t need to explain yourself. The wishes of others must take a way back seat.  Above all they need to be behind the Lord’s leading and what you as a husband and wife know you need to do. All else after that is secondary. 

man milking cow with dog

Major Issue: What we allow our children to watch. Media consumption.

There is so much filth in every form of media.  As a mother of five children, the media gamut we deal with goes from peers getting to watch certain shows our family doesn’t allow to smart phones with no filters or parental controls to our kids thinking they need an explanation of why we require to know their passwords.  I won’t even get into music and social media.

Honestly, it gets hard constantly battling this.  Both Mark and I get tired of hearing all that we’re apparently making our kids miss out on, and aren’t we being too strict? You only have PureFlix and Frndly? You guys are clearly old fashioned losers who don’t have a clue how the real world works.  Your poor kids.  Evidently you homeschool too, right?

However, let’s think about this for a minute.

Obviously to us it is a good idea to not willingly put filth in front of our children.  PSA while I’m at it, all those good hearted, fun channels when we were kids are no longer good, clean fun.  Disney is at the top of the list of anti-God programming.  Do you realize that every time we allow immoral topics to flood into our children’s lives, we are desensitizing them little by little.  It’s called grooming. Consequently, pretty soon they won’t even realize they’ve (and you’ve) become ok with something God is not ok with.  How can you justify that?  

Although that was rhetorical, some ways to justify it, and honestly, excuses we’ve caught ourselves using are:

  • Free babysitting.  Kids are happy.  We’re able to get something done.
  • Everyone else is doing it.  Even that sweet family from church allows it.
  • It’s not really that bad.  People like Brittany are simply fear mongering.
  • We’re above being influenced by it.  (Have you noticed that no one raises too big a fuss over lying or gossiping.  That’s old news.  In other words we’ve been desensitized to that. Homosexuality?  Not good, but definitely not as bad as trans.  Yes, desensitized to that too.  So what’s next?  Even pedophilia is leveling down on the sin scale.)
We realize our efforts may be in vain, but we’re doing what we can.

I could go on and on with examples of what going against the grain looks like.  

e.g. The grain says:

  • Your church shouldn’t take a stand on culturally relevant issues of morality or politics.
  • More activities…more, more, more!  Family doesn’t need to be a priority.
  • Go to the doctor for every little tiny possible thing that could be wrong.
  • Don’t have serious conversations with people.  Instead have small talk that you know won’t cause controversy.
  • Don’t question the “experts”.
  • Be a passive parent.
  • A little porn won’t hurt.  
  • Everyone have a therapist.  After all, they know more than the Bible.
  • It was fine when we were kids, so what’s the big deal?

Those going against the grain say:

  • Think for yourselves.
  • Look around.  Something is not right.  It’s up to you to make a shift.
  • It’ll be hard.  People won’t understand.  Nevertheless, do it anyway.
  • Be bold.  Stick out.
  • We only answer to God.
  • Have a back bone.
  • Sometimes you have to make a tough choice for the sake of your family.
  • DO NOT FEAR!  God has already won.  We just be available, and let Him work.
  • Sure there are so many good things, but are they the best things?  We only have one shot at this life.  Where are our priorities?
  • No regrets.
woman leading horse

Going against the grain is not easy!

​However, it is thrilling.  Exhilarating.  It can spark a fire in others.  It locks you in step with God because often times going against the grain means it is you against what feels like the world.  You don’t have to have mastered self-confidence as you can do this simply by being confident in God and who you are in Him.  

In conclusion, for us it starts at our home.

15 But if serving the Lord seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.”

Joshua 24:15