5 Signs of Growing Pains in Your Family's Faith

mom talking to teen girl on her bed

5 Signs of Growing Pains in Your Family's Faith

If you’re wondering whether you may be in this season of life, look for these five signs of growing pains in you and your family’s faith. Ultimately, all of the uncomfortable experiences will amount to a stronger family of believers.

There’s a saying that “a family who prays together, stays together.” Is that phrase always true? Can a family who prays together still find themselves at odds despite a shared faith?

If Christians at church can have varying views on theological or social issues, then surely there can be disagreements within the family unit.

Family can be a great source of strength or a source of profound weakness. The lessons we learn from family affect us from our childhood until the day we leave this life. In turn, we affect our children in the same way.

What adults come to realize is the lessons we teach are just as important as the lessons we once learned.

No matter who you are, a father, mother, sister, or brother, developing your faith alongside your family is bound to provide a rich experience for everyone. Each participant will get a chance to do some teaching, but also some learning.

Here are a few ways families grow in their faith together:

  • Being part of a church
  • Reading the Bible
  • Praying

The Bible encourages Christians to grow one another in their faith. Iron sharpens iron, and one person sharpens another” (Proverbs 27:17).

Family definitely has the ability to mold and shape us, but as any teenager would attest, growing up is a painful process. “Growing pains” is what society calls this discomfort.

Just like maturing from a child to an adult, physically and mentally there are a lot of changes people go through in order to become better versions of themselves. Adding more people to the mix means more discomfort.

If you’re wondering whether you may be in this season of life, look for these five signs of growing pains in you and your family’s faith. Ultimately, all of the uncomfortable experiences will amount to a stronger family of believers.

1. Asking All Those Questions

Some Christians mistake questions for a lack of faith, instead of an inquisitive mind.

People who ask about what the Bible says about dinosaurs, dating, and atoms, should not be ridiculed into silence. The Bible speaks highly of people searching for knowledge, especially when their hearts are turned toward God. The Bible often considers these individuals to be wise.

“The mind of the discerning acquires knowledge, and the ear of the wise seeks it.” (Proverbs 18:15)

Questions make some people doubt their faith. For others, questions help them to thrive in their belief.

If you or someone in your family has an assortment of questions to ask, then ask. A person can only sharpen another when communication takes place. While the Bible may not always have specific answers to questions, many questions will receive answers. And any time a question can be answered, this will lead to strengthened trust and faith in God’s word.

Moreover, families that can engage in healthy and open communication will reap the benefits of closer relationship with each other.

2. Fear of Doubt

Asking questions about faith will lead people to consider or reconsider previously-held beliefs. When doubt creeps in with one or all people, there is only one proper response—communication.

“Jesus said to him, ‘If you can’? Everything is possible for the one who believes.’ Immediately the father of the boy cried out, ‘I do believe; help my unbelief!’” (Mark 9:23-24)

People who experience doubt should share with their family, and in return be encouraged by fellow believers. Those who begin to doubt their faith should also pray to God to help with their unbelief.

While doubt is not encouraged amongst believers, most Christians have in some way struggled with faith. The experience is normal and to be expected. Be patient with yourself and others as you all seek to grow in faith.

God is not upset with you for having questions. He wants you to communicate with Him and each other.

3. Disciples That Disagree

When tense topics come up in discussion, conflict may be well on its way. Some people are afraid of conflict, but conflict can be beneficial for growth.

The key in conflict is to aim for having a disagreement rather than an argument.

“A hot-tempered person stirs up conflict, but one slow to anger calms strife.” (Proverbs (15:18)

Seeing conflict as an opportunity to learn rather than win will determine whether or not your family is strengthened by conflict or hurt. Even if someone else leans into having an argument, you have the choice of following up with either anger or patience.

God does not call us to strife, but he does call us to love.

4. Feelings of Guilt

Guilt can arise after conflict has occurred and someone has committed an offense. Guilt can also be the result of someone being made aware of their sin.

Whether someone’s sin affects their relationship with God, someone else, or themselves, the way to respond is with forgiveness.

“But if you don’t forgive others, your Father will not forgive your offenses.” (Matthew 6:15)

Families that stay together are not devoid of conflict, but they have perfected conflict resolution. No problem can be resolved without forgiveness.

If God is willing to forgive you for your sins, then He will do the same for others. And if He forgives someone, who are we to hold a grudge? If He forgives us, why would we remain in guilt?

When believers can get past the negative feeling of guilt, they are one step closer to becoming the believer God wants them to be.

5. Need for Accountability

Parents are more inclined to teach their children than to learn from them. Yet everyone has something both to learn and teach.

The challenge of being in a family of believers is making sure you can play both roles well. This is considered accountability—where you check in on your loved ones to ensure they are growing in their faith.

Accountability involves asking about their blessings and shortcomings, with the end goal of building someone up, not tearing them down.

“Pleasant words are a honeycomb: sweet to the taste and health to the body.” (Proverbs 16:24)

Accountability between family members will increase everyone’s ability to be vulnerable. The more vulnerable you are, the more God can work in your life, shaping you into a stronger Christian.

After the Growing Is Done

Now, that you know the 5 signs of growing pains to look out for in your family’s faith, recognize that each is a sign of you and your loved ones building your faith.

Despite the discomfort, there is a reward in the end.

“The Lord rewarded me according to my righteousness; he repaid me according to the cleanness of my hands.” (Psalm 18:20)

After the growing pains are over and done with, you and your family will live as stronger believers. Those who study the Bible are better able to live like Jesus because they understand His teachings.

A family of believers will be better equipped to get out into the world and share the gospel.

Just remember, sharing the gospel starts at home.

Photo Credit: © Getty Images/Ryan McVay

headshot of author Aaron BrownAaron Brown is a freelance writer, dance teacher, and visual artist. He currently contributes articles to GodUpdates, GodTube, iBelieve, and Crosswalk. Aaron also supports clients through the freelance platform Upwork.