Confession: Sometimes (okay…maybe a little more than sometimes) I worry about what others will think of my kids, and a recent phone call brought this struggle to light…again.
Snippet of Phone Call:
Friend: I’m so looking forward to our weekend together!
Me: We are too, but I just want to give you a heads-up that Caden can be pretty introverted and even unfriendly when he is first meeting people and out of his routine. He’s not super aggressive, but he can be mouthy and shout a pretty mean, “I don’t like you.”
Friend: No worries, here! We have been there, and we aren’t judging, girl!
Okay, let’s make some quick observations from this snippet of conversation:
1. Friend says she’s looking forward to the weekend together, and I PREEMPTIVELY launch into a run-on sentence (without taking a breath) about the imperfections of our child (might as well beat her to the punch before she observes them herself).
2. I don’t just give a simple disclaimer about him being introverted, I begin giving an ENTIRE LIST of his struggles (SO not fair to him).
3. Friend responds with grace.
Needless to say, I left that conversation feeling both grateful and humbled.
You’d swear my life has been a series of “fill-in-the-blank” exams because I’ve spent quite a few hours of my life filling in WAY TOO MANY of those conjectured blanks with my projections of other peoples’ thoughts and feelings. Oh, and did I mention that I also have the gift of simultaneously justifying these blanks (the very ones that I have conjured up on behalf of the world)? Let me give you some examples.
Will they define him by that tantrum at the dinner table?
I promise he typically eats like a human without acting like the world is ending!
Will they label him the “unfriendly” kid because he’s not an extrovert?
I promise he has friends that come to our house, stay, and even enjoy being around him!
Will they think she is high-maintenance because she prefers her mama and SOBS when she is handed over?
I promise she is usually the sweetest, most easy-going, happy baby this side of the Mississippi!
Will they assume he’s a bully because not only did he just take that toy, but he also growled in their direction, stomped his foot, and screamed at the top of his lungs?
I promise that he is capable of sharing and hasn’t been raised by a pack of bears!
Will they think she’s a fussy baby because she refused to sleep in church?
I promise she doesn’t usually make me want to pull out my hair and gouge my eyes while singing hymns!
On and on it goes…
Will they…do they…could they…might they…feel, think, believe, assume, conclude _______???
I wish I could say that this “blank-filling” routine came when the babies came, but unfortunately I can’t. In actuality, I brought that dingy-colored baggage with me when I joined the ranks of motherhood.
I have been “blank-filling” for a long time…too long.
Will they think I’m too _______?
Will they assume I am _______?
Will they believe I don’t _______?
Will they see me as _______?
You name it, and I’ve spent time attempting to fill it. I’m serious; I’m good at this game.
And it wasn’t until this recent conversation when the Lord hit me over the head by just how unfair this whole “blank-filling” routine is.
It’s unfair to others. In essence, I am believing the worst about others. I fear their lack grace, assume their judgment, and believe they can’t possibly love me along with my imperfections.
It’s unfair to me. Focusing on my weaknesses, fixating on my struggles, and fearing my imperfections, I begin living a life that feels overwhelming and leaves me weary and scared.
It’s unfair to Him. Assuming the worst about others and believing I’m the sum total of all my YUCK, I diminish His work on the cross (redeeming us from our YUCK); I demean His righteousness (thinking I don’t need Him to cover my YUCK); I decline His grace (thinking I need to earn favor to make up for my YUCK); and I dwindle His Spirit at work in His children (forgetting that others know how to give grace for my YUCK).
LITTLE SIGH. How in the world does a simple phone call turn into a whole boat load of conviction? BIG SIGH.
I’m not sure why He chooses to use the things He does to reveal my YUCK, but…
Today, I am confessing my YUCK to Him, a YUCK-REDEEMING God.
Today, I am praising Him that He not only loves me enough to point out these areas that need some pruning, but He also gives me the tools to do the pruning. John 15: 1-2 promises, “I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit He prunes so that it will be even more fruitful.”
Today, I am asking Him to replace my “blank-filling” tendencies with His “grace-giving” ways.
Today, I am thanking Him for using my kids (yet again) to push me into His loving and redeeming arms.