Miss Judgy Pants

Confession: I struggle with an addiction to judgment.

On the giving end, I am plagued by opinions about e.v.e.r.y.t.h.i.n.g. While Southern manners and a fear of conflict keep roughly 98% of those opinions unspoken, they constantly light up my brain like a superhighway. Much of that mental activity is spent declaring myself either guilty or innocent. (You can guess how that goes in the mind of a perfectionist—the ‘Never Enough’ song from The Greatest Showman sums it up nicely.)

On the receiving end, my heart is marked by a desperation to see approval reflected in the faces around me. Have I impressed you? Disappointed you? At any given moment, am I smart/good/involved/________ enough? How worthwhile do you think I am? Due to the fear of actually finding out, I don’t ask; I assume the worst, turning every bystander into a frowning inspector.

This unhealthy attachment to passing and absorbing judgment has done a number on me in recent years, pointing my feet down the path of social anxiety. Of course it would—I was never designed to get my sense of well-being from either myself (am I right in my own eyes?) or from the crowd (am I right in their eyes?).

On a functional level, we need judgment. If nobody cared about meeting internal or external standards, society would quickly devolve into chaos. But this frantic revolving around shifting opinions is draining, exhausting, and fruitless. Where else could one possibly derive a center?

(You know where this is going, don’t you?)

Our only safe place to run when everything falls to pieces is the Lord. The same voice that unleashed a flaming ball of solar power into the tar pit of nothing has already spoken His opinion of us, and it’s a carbon copy of His opinion of the spotless Lamb slain in our place:

Accepted. Chosen. Wanted. Precious. Perfect. Innocent. Holy. Clean. Enough.

Now listen. The world tries to throw some of these labels at us simply because we draw breath. “Don’t let anyone tell you you’re not amazing! You’re a sparkle-studded snowflake!” Allowing those thoughts to stick because someone else is pasting them to us is to sink right back into the quicksand of accepting human judgment; the audience may have changed, but we’re still running to what others think.

God is the only One who has the right to declare us right. And He is forbidden by His goodness to do so without the blood of Jesus covering us at Calvary. Because that beautiful King of ours stepped down from heaven and took a beating that would blow our ever-loving minds, we can stand unafraid of losing the labels He purchased for us:

Accepted. Chosen. Wanted. Precious. Perfect. Innocent. Holy. Clean. Enough.

Fighting to win any one of those identity pieces apart from Christ is doomed to fail, so I can’t name myself the way God can name me (though I’ve tried). But honestly, after soaking in the freedom of the gospel, why would I even want to trade the verdicts that come from the shaper of stars whose judgment stands uncontested for verdicts spoken by human lips? Paul understood this well. In 1 Corinthians 4:3-4, he says,

But with me it is a very small thing that I should be judged by you or by any human court. In fact, I do not even judge myself. For I am not aware of anything against myself, but I am not thereby acquitted. It is the Lord who judges me.

The judgment we cast on ourselves will fluctuate based on a number of ridiculous factors. (Am I declaring myself right because I just ate a great grilled cheese and am in a favorable mood?) Likewise, the names others call us, good or bad, will eventually lose their adhesive. But the verdicts passed down from the throne room of heaven are permanent, independent of performance or reputation or mood. They are as unchanging as the One who spoke them, and they always ring sweet.

In the face of a God so wise, so capable, why would I cling to any other judgment but His song over me? Those blood-bought words seep into my soul and fill me to overflowing:

Accepted. Chosen. Wanted. Precious. Perfect. Innocent. Holy. Clean. Enough.

The chains holding my heart captive to opinions fade, then shatter, and all is freedom. Now I am released to love.

One thought on “Miss Judgy Pants

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  1. Wow! I feel like this could have been written about me! Thank you for sharing your heart, both the messy parts and the Hope. You have an incredible gift!


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