We tend to compare ourselves to everyone. That’s not new news. But I think we can compare ourselves to those we see as above us and those we see as below us. And for the most part, I feel like I’ve seen books, blog posts, Instagram pep talks on how to not compare ourselves to those ones we see as above us, those that bring us insecurity.
Today I’m sharing the other side.
When people admit to overwhelming insecurities about motherhood or following their passion or what their time with the Lord looked like, for the most part, I couldn’t really relate. I rarely felt judged by others. I was normally the one judging.
And then I read this quote from Priscilla Shirer in her book Fervent that knocked me on my butt:
“If [Satan] can’t make us feel judged, he’ll try turning us into judges.”
I really had never seen the devastation of this fact until I saw it in the hands of Satan. This is how he has chosen to distract me. Not by overwhelming guilt or insecurities but by being puffed up and distracted by my thoughts of everyone else. If you read those posts about insecurity and think it’s not a struggle for you, maybe it’s not. Maybe it’s pride and judgement. If so, tune in friend.
One day I realized how chronic my judging was. I sat in coffee shops and quietly judged the mom ignoring her kid while she played on her phone, the old man who grumpily complained and tried to make small talk, the lady who loaded up on sugary sweets.
I found a reason to judge every single person that crossed my path.
I tend to give my friends and family more grace, but strangers? It was easy to see a struggle and determine (er…make judgement on) exactly why they struggled.
This day was a reality check for me. I had never realized how ingrained it was in me to judge others. I had absolutely no grace.
God stepped in and started revealing tons of things to me. For so long I felt pretty clean by the world’s standards. Remember how I mentioned above? You can either compare yourself to those below you (pride) or those above you (envy).
I beamed with pride and thought I was near perfect, but the reality was, I had trouble seeing my own spots.
In the last few months, I have been more aware of my shortcomings and my mess and it has been the biggest blessing.
1. It's Given Me More Grace for Others
It’s hard to point out other people’s failures when you are finally starting to see that you are just the same! When I think of the cross and how Jesus died for sinners (and the part I forget…that includes me!) I am much more likely to see them the way Jesus does instead of through judgy eyes.
2. I Am Enjoying God's Unattached Love
I don’t get love because I do something and my head has always known that, but as I see more of my mess, I am believing it and experiencing God’s love in such a real way.
3. I Am More Grateful Than Ever Before
This ties in the the one above. But as I feel God’s undeserved love, I am more in awe of who He is and so grateful that He shows me such grace.
4. I'm Less Uptight
I mentioned that my judging was more with people I didn’t know but let me be clear: my friends and family didn’t get a free pass. As I lightened up a bit and saw my own mess, I was able to demand less from them as well.
5. I'm Less Tense
When you start to realize how often you judge and you try a different approach, you realize how much tension those negative thoughts bring into your life. Judging others 24-7 is exhausting.
And here’s a tough truth for me to swallow. When I do make a mistake that I can’t cover up, if I’m hard on others, I’m either just as hard on myself or creating a double standard where my mistakes are OK and theirs are not. Either way, it’s not good.
Yea, Valerie. That’s nice and all but how do you learn to judge less?? I may be oversimplifying things but here is my one life-changing tip: Draw closer to God.
"THE CLOSER WE GET TO GOD, THE MORE OUR OWN FLAWS ARE BROUGHT TO LIGHT."
You’ve heard the saying, “I knew everything when I was a teenager”? The wiser we get, the more we realize how little we actually know. And this is not as devastating a reality as it sounds. As I mentioned in #2 and #3, it’s actually grown my appreciation for the Lord knowing what He has rescued me from.
So how do you practically draw closer to God? Primarily through reading His Word and prayer. He can also use friends and mentors, fasting, silence, etc but if you are looking for where to start, start reading the Gospels.
I think it goes without saying, I certainly don’t have this down pat! Like the title says, I’m still recovering but I am much more aware when it comes on. When I feel a “craving” come on, I tell myself to come up with one compliment for that person and it’s been so helpful in redirecting my thoughts!