I keep hearing "you're judging me" or "don't judge me" lately...like it's kind of a popular phrase now. It makes me cringe. It's almost always prefaced with a snide comment or a justification for bad behavior or decisions.
But of course...we won't judge.
I've been feeling a little of that lately. I feel judged. Judgement over everything from what I choose to do with my free time, to what I spend my money on, to how I raise my kids to how I decorate my home, why I don't have more kids or to how I run my calling....
It's the first time in my entire life that I feel this way. I've generally gone along not caring so much about other's opinions. There have been a few exceptions but for the most part....those are rare.
I've always tried to be a believer that we choose to be offended but it seems that my resolve is waining. It has been months since I last went to bed without feeling hurt.
The last thing I said to my daughter before she went to bed last night elicited a roll of the eyes and a "whatever" as she walked out of my room. That was the last thing I saw as I fell asleep. I was angry, hurt and more tired then ever.
When I woke up, I had a new outlook and perspective on the other side of the judgement scales. Sometimes it takes a rough night to change your perception of reality.
I have spent the last 4 years, in particular, worrying and fretting over every single move my children make. Oh, this means she doesn't have a testimony. Or...people are going to think she is a bad girl. Or...she is making terrible choices that will ruin her entire life.
It's been a rough few years.
I've been tearing apart every decision my kids have made and not any of that negativity has done a bit of good for my relationship with them. Not only that, I have been tearing them down in front of other people...as if to say...their decisions are not a reflection on me and 'don't judge me' for their bad choices.
Of course, their decisions aren't a reflection on me. Of course, they have agency. Of course, I love them no matter what.
But....I really have been saying, 'don't judge me'. That's what hit me at 6:00 am. I HAVE allowed myself to be concerned about what people are thinking of the choices my kids make. I HAVE allowed myself to believe that their decisions are a reflection on me.
I could have done more of this....
I should have....
Don't I already beat myself up enough about how things might have gone? How I could have been better at so many things?
At some point, that has got to be let go of. And while it didn't all go away in a blink of an eye...I turned a corner in this new process of self-judgement.
I look at parents of wayward children completely different.
I will never judge children by outward appearance and the perception of how perfect a family may look from the outside.
I also know that those who have negative opinions or judge teenagers and parents of teens generally haven't raised one yet.
Parents get tired.
It's a tired that can't be compared with lack of sleep.
I feel for parents.
And none of this even includes mental illness, of which is running rampant.
My kids aren't perfect, but they are mine. No matter what, I should be their biggest defenders and supporters...I am not their judge, nor is anyone else. There is really only one judge in the end. And He knows their heart and sees past their immaturity, bad choices, inherited unavoidable characteristics, and their bad taste in clothes.
If I'm feeling judged, it's because maybe I'm being too judgmental myself and maybe even...I am worrying too much about the opinions of others. Something I vowed I would never do. I've come to decide...if I'm offended or I'm feeling judged it's because maybe I really am doing something that I'm not feeling too proud of.
Who cares what people say? Who cares what people think? All that matters is what I think...and what my God thinks. But, if I am judging someone myself, then shame on me.
So today was a judgment day....my judgment day.
And then the daughter comes home and says she's hit another car with her car.
If you see a plume of smoke coming from this area of town...don't judge me. Don't tell me I'm naive. Don't tell me I shouldn't have done this or that. Don't say unkind things about my kid.
Just know that I'm even more tired.