Monday, February 28, 2011


1. to form an opinion about through careful weighing of evidence and testing of premises

 Does a scripture, a phrase or a song ever seem to jump out at you?  Yesterday, the second lesson during our service was in 1 Corinthians 4.  It was a mere five verses, but six words nearly jumped off the page at me: "I do not even judge myself."  Paul preceded this statement by saying he really didn't care what people thought of him - or how they judged him.  I'd like to feel that way.  I'd love to spend far less time worrying about little things like whether I am dressed nicely enough to pick my daughters up from school. (Seriously, I worry about stuff like that.)  But let's say I someday get there: I get to the point of not caring who judges me or whether they find me lacking.  Is there then the slightest chance I will ever stop judging myself?

During the sermon, I wrote in my journal, "What would it look like for me to not judge myself?" and I spent some time during the rest of the service pondering this.  When I told J how this thought had struck me, he was less impressed, "If you didn't judge yourself?  I'm not sure I want to know. I like who you are right now.  Would not judging yourself mean you were less introspective?  I'm not sure that would be a good thing."  He got me wondering whether my line of thinking had been amiss.  But one of my favorite bible tool sites says that the word rendered "judge" in this passage denotes not only examination, but the result of such examination.  Paul's not necessarily saying he doesn't examine his heart, but that he doesn't blame or condemn himself for what he finds there.  That's God's job, not his.

This line of thinking was interesting to pursue on a day when I felt incapable of getting everything done that I wanted to do.  Circumstances were not on my side:  gray skies gave way to a downpour as I was dropping B & K off at school, A was a distracted student, I struggled to maintain focus and motivation myself.  By 10ish, I forced myself to begin laundry.  By 11ish, I slogged through a workout then dashed out to the grocery store during a break in the rain.  I was under time pressure because K had a dentist appointment at 2:30, which required a 2:00 school pick-up.  A short Monday?  Not ideal.  So as I headed upstairs for a bath, I was definitely not following in Paul's footsteps.  I was heaping lots of blame and condemnation on myself for all that remained undone on my mental checklist.  But then...

As I laid in the bathtub, I read today's passage in Jesus Calling and I laughed aloud.  The first sentence?  "Stop judging and evaluating yourself, for this is not your role."  OK, then.  I guess there was a message God was trying to get across to me yesterday.

I would say that, generally speaking, I'm not a very judgmental person.  I am far more inclined to wonder what might have motivated someone's hurtful action than to make an assumption about what they were thinking or feeling.  I don't think I exactly make excuses for other people, but I try to extend grace - especially when I have no idea what might be going on.  But that same grace is far more difficult to extend to myself.  Because with myself, you see, I know what's going on.  I know when I have an excuse and when I don't.  (And I should probably note that I very rarely am willing to accept excuses from myself.)

This is the disease of perfectionism rearing up in me.  A friend sent me an e-mail with a link to this blog post on perfectionism because of its conclusion that being real (or transparent) is the key to fighting perfectionism.  It is perfectionism that makes me notice the dust on my bathroom floor instead of my well-fed children.  It's perfectionism that makes me take note of the fact that while I've been very content with my life of late - enjoying my children, enjoying homeschooling, enjoying time with my husband - my house isn't very clean.  Should I forgo contentment for a cleaner house?  (If you think I should, you might be reading the wrong blog.)

No, I am not doing everything perfectly.  Yes, I still love my husband and my children to the best of my ability.  I try to make space in my heart and in my life to hear the voice of God.  I try to carve out time for me - to read, to create, to just be.  So should I judge myself for all of the things that are falling by the wayside?  No, I shouldn't.  Should I still pause to reflect, ponder and evaluate where I am and where I'm going?  Of course.  I wouldn't be me if I didn't do that.  But for now - for however brief a time - I am going to try to set aside the blame game and stop judging myself.  What about you?

1 comment:

Variations On A Theme said...

I so relate to this post, except that I don't give much a damn about what I wear to the school (and it quite obviously shows). You, on the other hand, have a style that delights me when I see it. AND it has INSPIRED me to allow myself to get those pretty skirts and cool boots I see at the thrift store. I always assumed those pretty things were for everyone else - not for me. So I'm sorry if caring about such things troubles you, but it has been good for me. (How odd is that.)

SO many other things just tear me apart though - and mostly all of them are what I imagine people are thinking of me. And are probably wrong. Great post.