This week life has been infused with judgment. It’s everywhere, I’m sure you’ve noticed. I’m not talking about internet judging – I’m talking about real life. The kind of judgement you get when you walk into a grocery store – for no other reason than you aren’t wearing makeup. The kind of judgement that smacks you in the face when you make a bad decision or act differently than they think you should act. The kind of judgement you replay in your mind as you try to fall asleep at night.
This week, I heard a lot about these judgements, and I thought about these girls I’m trying to help encourage. I thought about the judgements they are going to encounter… at school… at home… in the mirror. It makes me sort of sad.
Anyway, when I heard about this kind of judgement from my friend, I immediately wrote her an email… but I thought maybe someone, somewhere, one of the five people who read my blog, might benefit from this sort of thing. Maybe. So, here’s what I wrote to her… and to me… and to you.
People judge. They judge because they have nothing better to do. They judge because they are jealous and don’t understand why God blesses some, but not others. They don’t see the hard work and the heart with a willingness to serve the Lord, to do whatever He asks, to live the life HE wants us to live. They judge because they think once you’ve reached a certain amount of noterity (or in my case, position: i.e. pastor’s wife) they feel you are free game. They judge and they judge and they judge until all their words blend together and come to mean absolutely nothing anymore. They judge and feel entitled to their judgement, not even knowing who it is they are talking to or about. Not even caring enough to find out. They do it under the guise of concern. They do it as though they are ‘helping.’ They do it because they are mean. Because they are unhappy or spiteful or deceived.
They do it because they are wrong.
Judgement is everywhere. We can’t run from it or hide from it. It just is. We can pretend it doesn’t effect us, but it does. We can pray it doesn’t creep into our hearts, turning the edges black with the kind of soot that doesn’t wash away with soap and water. We can hope to recover – to move on, to rise above. But sometimes… we just need to retreat – to step back, out of the ring and lick our wounds. To pretend we’ve healed… even though we’ve only just begun to hurt… even though we aren’t sure we’ve got what it takes to fight the good fight.
And the worst part of it is that sometimes…sometimes… we believe the judgements. We make them on ourselves. We buy into the fact that we aren’t perfect and even worse, we begin to think we should be. We are women. It’s what we do. We strive and fight and claw for a perfection that will always be just out of our reach.
Isn’t that the worst thing we can do? Isn’t holding ourselves up to some crazy standard one of the silliest things we, as a gender, can do? And why don’t we build each other up? Why are we so quick to judge? So quick to point out mistakes and imperfections? Why can’t we love unconditionally – knowing we have all been there at one time in our lives.
People have no right to say those things to you. I’ve been there. People feel I am free game. I am a children’s pastor, which means I should know how to raise my children – I should never get frustrated or upset or angry. I should always be level-headed, together, cheerful.
But what about when I’m not? Do I accept that I’m having an off day or do I beat myself up over it? Chances are, I am doing some pounding. Wondering why I’m not more like my mom or more like a pastor’s wife should be.
But we all do what we can when we can do it. We cannot neglect the good in our lives – the talents, the things that exist only because we’ve created them – the traits and characteristics in our kids that are there because we’ve instilled them. We are strong, but we aren’t superheroes. And in the end, if your family is supporting you, they are the only ones who matter. They are the only ones who matter.
And in their eyes, you are golden.