Uttering these five words will make you stop short of your dreams and calling. They will cast a spell on you. They will paralyze you with doubt and with fear:
Would you judge me if?
Throughout my day-to-day, I hear this phrase a lot. In the big and the small. The general and the specific. The careless and the sacred.
Mostly from the female demographic.
Would you judge me if I had another chocolate chip cookie?
Would you judge me if I took two trips to Starbucks in one day?
Would you judge me if my house wasn't perfectly in order when you spontaneously decided to drop by?
Would you judge me if my children didn't eat a vegetable in every meal?
What makes us so cautious about judgement from others? What is the drive that makes many of us so insecure that we are constantly fraught with the inevitable idea that someone may think wrongly of us by what we eat, how clean our homes are or how many Venti coffees we need to get through our day?
Where did we learn this? Why are we perpetually aware of how others will perceive even the slightest day-to-day actions that are, frankly, no one's business but our own?
Why do we allow ourselves to be absorbed so fully into this fear of meaningless judgement?
Sadly it is this way of thinking that hinders us from real relationships. From real community.
Constantly checking over our shoulders for fear of judgement on our daily tasks works against our willingness to be honest about our actual struggles.
The struggles we need real help with. The ones we seek prayer and wise counsel for. The ones that are so far beyond what we eat or how we spend our time:
Would you judge me if I told you I was struggling in my faith?
Would you judge me if I was battling remaining pure in my romantic relationship?
Would you judge me if I was unhappy in my job?
I'm afraid that we've been too distracted by a fear of a culture that would judge us for the mundane. For the routine. For things like choosing a slice of pizza over a salad for a meal. Or loving Taylor Swift music.
To my friends who ask if I would judge them if...I say, "Nope! Go for it, girl."
Because I want them to know that coffee dates and conversations are safe with me. That I would never judge them if they only ate the icing from their cupcakes or if they still slept with a teddy bear when they were twenty-five.
Judgment, when it comes from those outside of the Ultimate Judge, is a big waste of time.
Those five words should be eliminated from our conversations. And from our thoughts.
Because on the other side of judgement is freedom. And I'm going to begin to live out my life, my calling and my friendships this way...Don't judge.
photo credit: Khánh Hmoong via photopin cc