22 October 2014

even when I'm judge-y

When I walked out of the DFCS office yesterday, my heart was carrying a heavy load.  As I neared the main entrance of the building, I tried to shake it off.  I saw an itty-bitty baby all squenched up in an umbrella stroller, nearly laying sideways on the seat.  I exclaimed a little too loudly and with too much delight, "awe! so tiny!"  The infant's mother glanced my way with an expression that stated quite plainly, "you have got to be kidding me lady." {I read glances better than I read lips.}

This is not an uncommon occurrence.  For one, small talk is not my thing.  For two, nobody in the government offices is looking for a friendly face while walking in and out.  Honestly, I think I am the only one that is attempting eye contact most days.  And this is only after being a regular in the building for over a year.

This is so far out of my comfort zone.

This encounter with this tiny-baby's-momma though, emphasized an ugly part of myself.  Its the judge-y part.  The part that notes, "I have never seen an infant in an umbrella stroller."  But then just after noting it, goes on to think, "I would never put an infant in an umbrella stroller."

And I hate that this part of me still lurks around. Because the truth is, its really hard to love your neighbor when you are judging her.  This is that kind of judgement we carry around with us and keep quiet.  It spills out in passing and we if we notice it, we brush it aside hastily.  It might be called bias, it might be called prejudice.  Whatever you call it, my tendency is to pretend like its not there.

But yesterday, my heavy heart collided with my judginess and the tears filled my eyes.  How long will I walk these halls before I just love?  How long will I look to make eye contact while chasing away my rush-to-judge-thoughts?

It isn't disapproval behind this prejudice, so much as ignorance.  I cannot relate, so I judge.  Every time we've been in need {or first-world-want} someone has met that need.  We had infant carriers and travel systems and boppies and bouncy chairs and high chairs and play mats and all the bells and whistles.  No one in our circle wanted us {or more accurately - our children} to be without.  What we couldn't afford, someone else gave to us. If it wasn't purchased new, it might have been thrifted or found from a friend whose child had outgrown it.

The idea of strapping an infant into an umbrella stroller is foreign to me because it was never an option for me. My grandmother or my mother or my mother-in-law or my aunt or my sister or my friend or my friend's mom or fill-in-the-blank -- any of these folks would have provided me with another option.  I am privileged to have a wide circle.   I didn't build this wide circle or carve it out or even seek it.  I inherited it. 

But I sense Him calling me more and more to walk the hallways where the inheritance isn't always the same.  The circles are small and the choices are fewer.  I know that is where He would be, for sure.  So that is where I want to be too.

I just wish it were easier.  And isn't that the kicker?  Even in following Him to harder places, I want it easy.  Gross.

But He keeps calling me, and He doesn't condemn me.  He quietly points it out through awkward encounters and He asks me not to brush it aside.  So I look up to Him and my hope grows because I know He is at work, even in my judge-y places.  He is so faithful to cultivate my heart to be more like His.  So I stubbornly follow, believing He will complete this work in me.  And one day the bias and prejudice will no longer clamor up to the surface and I will see with eyes that love His children like He does. 

"For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus." Philippians 4:6 NASB

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