I told you it was coming!
When we as moms are on the receiving end of the judgement passed by others, we can be quick to cry,
“But you don’t understand!”
never stopping to consider that there may be some constructive in that criticism.
God can and does use others to refine us. Iron sharpening iron is not always pleasant and we must be willing to hear the words of others despite the sting.
If someone suggests you need to be home more or you might not be managing your finances well or you need to discipline your children more, don’t immediately jump on the defensive – or at least try not to blurt out what you are feeling. Instead, take a deep breath, a few steps back and consider these things…
1. Give people the benefit of the doubt.
Don’t assume their motives in saying something that stings is to judge you and hurt you.
I once had an older woman suggest I was either not sleeping or neglecting my family in order to blog. She had no idea that I only need about 6 hours of sleep a night and that I type 85 words per minute. Computer-related things have always come easily to me and therefore, I can get a lot done in very little time. But rather than quickly defending myself, I decided to remain quiet with all my reasons and take some time to assess whether I truly was balancing blog and life in a God-honoring way.
I decided I could find even better ways to manage my time so I wasn’t blogging during hours when I could have been spending time with my husband. I only worked on blogging when he also had work to do and I made sure to sit beside him as we worked. I also started scheduling my social media promotions to cut out the 30 minutes in the morning I was on the computer before breakfast.
Her words, though not fully informed, had merit and did afford me the opportunity to do an even better job of managing me. I also know for a fact, she was speaking out of concern for me and not in hopes of hurting me.
2. It isn’t always necessary to defend yourself.
When my father was struggling through his last year with Alzheimer’s, I had someone reprimand me for “running up and down the road” from my home to my hometown 3 hours away. This person had not had a parent die and did not know what it was like to be forgotten. I had determined, with my husband’s blessing, not to be forgotten by my father for as long as I could manage. Gas prices and wear and tear on the car do not even compare to the time I spent with my dad.
But there was no need for me to defend myself for making the most of what time I had left with my dad. If this person had taken a few moments to think through the situation, they would have realized what was more important. Additionally, I had my husband’s blessing. There was no need to defend something that would not have changed no matter how much someone tried to convince me otherwise.
3. Listen and discern.
When someone says something that cuts us to the quick, it is hard to listen. Sometimes it is even harder to discern if it is truth or lies. No one wants to be criticized, but sometimes the very things we need to hear come wrapped in pain.
But, there is a flip side as well. Sometimes the attacks we feel are just that…attacks. They break us down and make us question ourselves over and over again.
Both of these require us to get on our knees before God and ask for His guidance.
We need discernment from the Lord to know if what we are hearing needs to be taken to heart or if it needs to be flung far from our hearts.
So, my dear mamas, perhaps you are doing too much. Perhaps you aren’t practicing self-control. Or perhaps you are right where God has you and in that you can rest.