Monday, July 23, 2018

You Are Not The Judge Of Me

Judge. Judgment. Judgey Mc Judgerson.  I have faced enough judgment to last a lifetime.  Hence the reason why I am very quick to catch myself when I do it to others and knock it off.  I have this sass that seems to rest at the tip of my tongue. The kind of sass that usually resides in slumber until awakened like a beast and then attacks. What I find is that the sass only comes to life when I feel that I am being judged. Or even my children are being judged.

A close friend of mine once told me that she found it amazing that I can insult someone while smiling and they walk away maybe somewhat confused yet not fully aware that that they have been insulted. I smiled and told her I wasn't insulting anyone. I was delivering truth.  And when I really look at it more closely, I am using my words to hurt them.

Judged.  That is how I feel. For being the Amazon child and towering over the boys at 5'10'' by the time I was 12.  For seeking out the one young man I had my eye on, even though everyone knew it wasn't a good idea. For seeking out an adult man who wasn't mine for the taking. For going to a Christian College. For dropping out of College when I ran out of money. For marrying at the ripe old age of 19.  For working 60 hours a week.  For putting my foot down and standing up for myself.  For waiting until I was 21 to get my drivers license. For not being able to have kids. For having kids late.  For not making my kids share their toys an not making them play with kids they didn't want to be friends with. For letting clients go that caused me great strife. For serving wine with dinner. For parenting my son differently than I parent my daughter. For not enabling my daughter to be involved in 20 after school activities. For discouraging sleepovers. For loving deeper than I should.  For having a job that might demand more than I can physically handle. For committing to too many writing contracts that keep me up into the wee hours. For saying yes first and figuring out later how I can actually do what I have committed to. For not serving wine with dinner. For wanting more of what I shouldn't have. For loading the dishwasher wrong. For not being bothered by messy kitchen floors and finger prints on the walls. For encouraging my kids to do things on their own.  Needless to say, I have been judged, judged thoroughly, and judged more times than I can count.

And let me tell you something? I do not care. I just don't care.  People are rude. People are judgmental. They are often jealous or judge just to make themselves feel better.  They feel the need to place judgement to make themselves feel better about the situation that they find themselves in.  They judge because they are often lonely and they don't have anything better to do. If I worried about every time I was judged and let it affect me, I wouldn't be able to walk out the door each day. I would be curled up in a ball weeping.  This thick skin isn't a wall I have built, it is self preservation. I choose daily to pick my battles.  And dealing with the misplaced judgement of others isn't a battle I will ever choose to fight.

And that tongue. I have learned to harness its power.  I have prayed long and hard for the Lord to tame it and harness it.  I have realized that I use it to retaliate when I feel under attack.  When I am face to face with an individual and feel they are judging me for whatever reason, I no longer fight back with equally rude words. I now state what I observe and ask questions. Just by turning their rudeness into a conversation topic, they realize their opinions and cutting words serve no purpose.  "I hear what you are saying.  Why do think that it is important to share with me that you do not like how I parent my children? Are you trying to help me or are you criticizing me and judging what I do?"  "I understand that you think I am spending too much time writing. Did you know that I write first, because I love doing it, and second to supplement my family's income? Do you also know that many families have multiple different income streams that help make ends meet?" Or, "Thank you for sharing your opinions.  I appreciate your point of view.  I do not feel your ideas apply in this situation but I am glad it has worked for you."

Yes.  Sometimes I offend others. I will probably continue doing so.  But I will not judge someone for doing something differently than I do. I will not think that I know the best way to do everything. And I will let someone know when my feelings have been hurt. But judge them? No. Most of time, people are not even aware that they are judging. Almost as if they fallen into a repetitive judgmental rut.  It is all they know so it is what they do.  This happens with children. Children live what they learn. If mom or dad harshly judges others, the child often continues with this negative behavior.

I still catch myself.  When a judgmental comment makes it way to my lips and can tell the condition of my heart is failing, I reel it back in. I reel it in. All of it. Stop myself in my tracks. Those words I am ready to share do not encourage, affirm, build up, inspire or speak love. Those judgmental words have no place in conversation. And they should never assault my lips as they are being passed on to someone else. Judgment will never be a gift that someone wishes to receive.

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