Thursday, March 7, 2013

Judgment on My Mind

On Tuesday I took Micah and Thomas to the library while Isaiah was at 4K and I got to chatting with one of the other moms.  She had her 2 year old son with her who appeared to me to have studies at the Micah John School of Mayhem and Mischief.  It was like watching Obi Wan training Anakin without an inkling of a suspicion that he was training the next great super villain.  In between keeping them from attempting to eat the felt vegetables and building a block tower on top of the play stove, this mama and I used exhausted tones to swap stories about our tornado-like sons.  I suddenly realized I hadn't even taken the time to take my coat off and I was suddenly boiling hot, so I took it off and set it next to me on the bench while I trotted off quickly to remind Micah to pleaseohplease take his finger out of his nose.  Upon my return, this mama was staring at me with wide eyes and she observed, "I find it hard to believe you have three kids.  I mean, you're so SKINNY"  Cue: Awkward response from me.

Am I glad I lost the weight?  Of course.  Am I working hard to keep it off?  Probably not as hard as I should be, but yes. 

But it doesn't define me.  For the first time in my life, I am getting a glimpse into what it's like to be on the "other side" of this assumption equation.  I'm ashamed to admit how many times I walked right into the sin of resenting someone because of the way she looked.  In a split second, I would make a judgment call about a woman based on her lack of muffin top and the size of her jeans.  Immediately, I would feel resentful and spiteful and figure she probably was just handed an incredible metabolism along with every other want and desire in her entire life.  All these terrible things would cloud my vision and change the way I thought about someone I didn't even know and I'm so sorry I did this.

Because I can tell you that it hurt when it was done to me.  What started off as a light-hearted and pleasant discussion quickly turned into something more subdued and morose after my coat came off.  There was a visible shift in her demeanor and tone after her comment.  It was clearly the turning point in our interaction. 

My "Before" - Thanksgiving 2011

I was still thinking about this when I went to the gym later in the week and saw the treadmills full of thin people, spinning away on the hamster wheel with their ear buds safely protecting them from their surroundings.  It struck me that I looked just like them.  My eyes wandered down the wall and fell on a lovely blond woman who was spinning away on the exercise bike, the nape of her neck already damp with sweat.  She was right about the exact size I was when I started this journey. I didn't want to get kicked out of the gym for being a creeper, so clearly I didn't approach her to say this, but I wanted to rush over and give her a sweaty hug and tell her to keep it up.  I wanted to let her know not to be intimidated by all these skinny freaks up in here, including me.  I wish I could have told her how beautiful she is.

And that's what I should have said to the woman in the library:  "You're beautiful."  But I didn't.  Instead, I got weird and quiet and maybe lost the chance to meet a cool new friend.

We all have a story and I'm guilty of assuming I can read every page just by looking at a person when clearly that is not even close to the truth.  Of course, this isn't just about weight.  I find myself making assumptions about how a table will tip based on what drinks they order from the bar.  I've caught myself creating an opinion about someone I just met based on nothing other than the way they are dressed.  Is it natural?  Sure.  We all do it, so really it isn't that big of a deal, right?  It is for someone who represents Christ in the world.  Jesus tells us in Matthew 7 that we will be judged by our father in Heaven "with the measure" that we used on others.  Would I really want Him to deliver his justice according to the surface level assumptions as I have done to so many?  Heaven forbid, no.   

It is my hope and prayer that God will work in me to see people more through his eyes rather than through my own broken ones.  I also need to learn how to see myself this way too.  And I think that one might be even harder.  There is beauty in the before just as much as there is beauty in the after.  God saw it then and he sees it now.  Now I need to learn to live it, for HIS glory.

Blog Widget by LinkWithin