“I don’t care how old my kids are, they will not come to church looking like they just rolled out of bed!”
“I can’t believe when people hand their phone to their toddler in the grocery cart. Seriously, just talk to your child!”
“Ugh. Some people’s kids….”
I’ve said these all these things. For years, I unapologetically owned my label: Judgmental.
It was the way I was and I thought I was being strong in my self-awareness by owning it. Bold, even.
“Hello, I’m judgmental. Love it or leave it.”
The truth is, there is a lot about ourselves we can’t change. I’ll never grow that last quarter inch to hit 5′ 7″ and I’ll always need some sort of vision correction. I can’t change those things about myself.
What I can change is my mindset. In owning the label of judgmental, I was giving myself permission to not work on it. Accepting it as fact, when it was actually a choice.
I saw Bob Goff, author of Love Does, speak at a conference. I had no idea who he was, but he was so different from anyone I’d ever heard or met. I bought his book and had the chance to meet him to sign it. He wrote a simple message to me, “Love God. Do stuff.” It is as simple and as hard as that. No judgement needed. Mother Teresa once said, “When you judge people, you have no time to love them.”
I started to think she and Bob were onto something.
When I’m judging the teen in church with wrinkled sweatpants and yesterday’s hair, I can’t love a family who might be trying to help a child in the depths of depression. When I cast a judgmental glance at a mom handing her phone over to her tot in the grocery cart, I can’t love someone who might really need a break and a friend. When I roll my eyes at the behavior of “Some people’s kids,” I miss an opportunity to encourage and love those who struggle with the complexities of raising children in today’s world. Just like I do.
Instead of standing back in judgement, I want to run in with compassion.
Homelessness, addiction, mental illness, poverty, parental and personal struggles are easy to shake our heads in disgust or despair from a distance. When you move in closer, you see faces of people like you, learn their names, and hear their stories. The closer you are to vulnerable people and tough situations, the harder it is to judge and the easier it is to love. Not just loving people, but DOING something, because love does.When you are doing – listening, supporting, encouraging, or serving – you don’t have time to judge.
It’s time to get moving.
Moving from judgement to compassion. From exasperation to empathy. From now on, I will be moving in.
Moving in to listen.
Moving in to serve.
Moving in to love.
I’m disowning this label of judgmental. It cannot define me for one more day. Love does and living loved allows me to claim new labels:
Are you ready to move in and starting doing something in our community, too?
My challenge to myself, and to you, is to choose just one organization to love. Donate not just resources, but your family’s time. I can’t think of a better way to spend family time than helping others.
Check out these local organizations, always in need of loving volunteers:
- Iowa Safe Families
- Families Helping Families
- Special Olympics of Iowa
- Willis Dady Homeless Services
- Waypoint Services
- Catherine McAuley Center
- Linn County Food Bank
- Churches of Marion Food Pantry
- Marion Cares
- Boys & Girls Club of Cedar Rapids
- Matthew 25
- Mission of Hope
- Olivet Neighborhood Mission
- Bridgehaven Pregnancy Support Center
- House of Hope
- Tanager Place
- Last Hope Animal Rescue
- Cedar Valley Humane Society
What labels can you cast off?
What choices are you accepting as facts in your life?
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