Less Judgment, More Surrender
By: Lindsay Tedder
“But when God our Savior’s kindness and love appeared, he saved us because of his mercy, not because of righteous things we had done. He did it through the washing of new birth and the renewing by the Holy Spirit, which God poured out upon us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior.” Titus 3:4-6 (CEB)
I am more judgmental than I want to be.
One day while cleaning up mess upon mess left from a busy morning with my toddler, my mind wandered to my husband, who was at work. He works a stressful day job and I work from home while also managing our house and family. I was feeling particularly indignant, if I’m being completely transparent. I was remembering my days in the office and how refreshing it was to speak to adults all day long and not have a tiny human trying to take up residency inside of my body.
My eyes wandered all across our home and every mess stood out to me like it was lit up by a police interrogation lamp. No matter how much I cleaned up in that moment, I knew there would be more messes made before my husband’s arrival that evening. I thought to myself “he will never know all the messes I have already cleaned up, just the ones that are left in disarray upon his arrival.”
Now to be fair, my husband has never walked in and said anything about the condition of our home. In fact, he usually says things like “thank you for taking such good care of us.” The indignant emotional reaction is completely self-induced. My mood shifted a bit when I thought about the other end of the lens. I thought about when I have visited the homes of others and how, despite how non-judgmental I aim to be, my mind was met with questions about why something was dirtier than I would have let it get.
I’m not proud to admit that but it’s the truth. As I scurried from one room to another picking up toys and trash and leftover lunch messes, I realized that when I walk into someone else’s home, I too haven’t seen what they have already cleaned up. I can’t see how much they have done, only what I perceive as undone.
Our minds are the same way. We cannot see the work someone has done to get to where they are today, we only see their current actions. We only see how they treat us and how they live in that current moment. The verse above reminds us that God saved us by sending His son to die for our sins, not because of any righteous acts we have done. So, why should I be concerned that someone maintains their home differently than myself, or that my husband gets to speak to adults all day and I have to continually clean up after a toddler? The reality is I shouldn’t…but I do. I do get indignant sometimes when it’s been a crazy hectic day at home and my husband has been gone for what feels like 39,482 hours. I do get judgmental sometimes when I see someone handle something differently than I would.
I have to continually remind myself that God didn’t sacrifice the life of his Son so that I could dishonor him with my judgmental and indignant mindset. I have been washed clean and renewed because the Holy Spirit lives inside of me. When I start to feel this mindset trying to take up occupancy in my brain, I know that I have to take captive my thoughts (2 Corinthians 10:5). Despite my desire to meander down the highway to Judgmentville, I must submit these thoughts to the Lord. It is my obligation to allow the Holy Spirit space to do the dang thing! He can’t work in me if I continue to push my own reckless thoughts and emotions to the forefront of my brain. I must take the time to admit that these thoughts are there and that they are no longer welcome. Then I must give them to my Father and repent.
Are you like me; more judgmental than you’d wish to be?
Surrender that my friend. Every single day.
Give it to God, repent, and move forward. You want to honor the Holy Spirit who is living in you by taking captive those nasty thoughts and allowing room for Him to flourish beautiful musings inside of your brain instead!
Thankfully our Father doesn’t require us to clean up our messes before we come to Him. We do not have to partake in any “righteous act” to be considered His children. He is not concerned with the cleanliness of our homes, but rather with the cleanliness of our hearts.
Lindsay Tedder is a believer, wife, mom, bestie and writer who lives in Columbus, Ohio with her bearded, bourbon-loving husband and her too-cool-for-school toddler. She is full of raw honesty, enthusiastic authenticity, amiable compassion, humble grit, powerful passion…and outrageous laughter, double chins, real life, and frothy nectar-of-the-gods coffee…because…coffee. Raised by a hardworking single mom, she overcame such trauma as sexual abuse induced food addiction, the debilitating health issues associated with endometriosis, a decade of infertility, and recurring life themes of worthlessness. Connect with her at www.LindsayTedder.com.
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