Claws out, lots of hair pulling, mixed in with some high pitched squealing. When I think about “chick fights”, that picture comes to mind. Suddenly I am transported back to my high school days, where an occasional girl fight would break out in the courtyard. I would stand back, shake my head a little; all too innocent to understand that what I thought of as a “cat fight” was not limited to clawing and scratching over boyfriend stealing. Little did I know that I, and really most females, would be a part of a a much greater fight, one I have nicknamed the Women Wars.
Is there really a battle going on between women? Is there really a sense of fighting and judgement with the women in our modern society? As much as I hate to admit it ladies, we are at war. It is raging all around us; not with bombs or guns, but with words and dirty glances. It is tearing our gender apart and it has to stop.
As heartbreaking as it is, I witness the Women Wars everyday, everywhere and in all walks of life.
I’ve seen the mom with one child glare at the woman struggling to keep her four rambunctious kids from disrupting the entire grocery store.
I’ve seen the woman who is a stay at home mom judge the working mom for heading out of the home and taking her kids to daycare.
I’ve seen the skinny woman scrutinize the overweight woman who has put on a few pounds and is enjoying a cookie.
I’ve seen a woman scorned because her home isn’t immaculate and filled with clutter.
I’ve seen a lady snubbed because her clothes are out of date and her hair looks unkempt.
I’ve seen a mom judged because her child’s birthday party doesn’t resemble a Pinterest board.
I’ve seen a mom frowned upon for parenting strategies that others don’t agree with, although her kids are safe and healthy.
At any time, women are aimed and ready to fire weapons of slander, disdain, dirty looks, gossip and judgement. In the blink of an eye and without speaking, women can make about 20 snap judgments that are not necessarily grounded in truth and reality.
I am not just a victim of these wars, but am guilty too, of every single one of these and I am ashamed. I’m ashamed because I know the sting of judgement that the Women Wars can cause and yet I can turn around and judge another without thinking twice. I’m ashamed because that is not the command God has given me for treating others. Instead I am called to lovingly respect another, differences or not, with dignity and humility.
But how as women do we fix this problem? How do we learn to live together without battling, without judgment, without slander? For me, I am praying for change, praying for a new heart and that God will cleanse me of my ways that do not reflect Him.
Here’s my starting point. I will be diligent to follow these steps daily and try to be the change I want to see in my society, in my community, in all of my relationships. Will you join me?
1. Stop judging.
It’s easy to glance disrespectfully when other women are acting on behaviors we would NEVER do. For example, I would NEVER yell at my kids in public. I would NEVER leave my dirty dishes in the sink and choose to watch TV instead. I would NEVER run to the store in my flannel pants, with greasy hair and without makeup. I would NEVER let my kids watch movies most of the day so I could sit down and have a break. I would NEVER eat a giant double cheeseburger and large fries, then have dessert. Nope. I’ve NEVER done anything like that. (If you know me, you know I’ve done every.single.one!)
Since I’ve NEVER done any of these things, I am pretty close to perfect and have the right to look down at you from my high horse, or so I think. Let’s be honest, my friends, we all have some issue, some ‘thing’ that others could judge us for and run and gossip about. But why do we feel the need to judge others, when God tells us WE ALL have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God? There is not one of us who is close to perfect, even if we try to exude perfectionism in all we do. The only perfection this world has ever known is Jesus and He calls us to stop judging others and take a look at our own lives and faults instead.
Matthew 7:3 states, “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?”
Why do we judge others when we so clearly have missed the mark ourselves, and even on our best days, do not mirror God’s perfection? When we are tempted to roll our eyes in judgment or pick up the phone to spread a rumor to our BFFs, remember that God is our standard of perfection and we are so far removed from His faultless ways that we have no right to think mean thoughts or judge another.
2. Be respectful at all times.
God’s Word calls us to love one another in all we do. Love, in this case, translates to respect. We are not called to best friends with everyone we meet or have deep relationships with all the ladies in our lives. But God does call us to respect, even when we don’t agree with someone and the choices she makes. Be respectful, not judgmental.
For example, my kids go to bed super early, but because yours go to bed at 10:00, doesn’t give me the right to judge you. I need to respect what works for your family and realize we don’t have to agree on all aspects of life to be pleasant and cordial to each other. I can still disagree with you and reflect the respect (love) that God commands us all to extend to others.
3. Give others understanding and grace.
You may never know that the mom with baby formula all over her shirt and disheveled hair was up all night with a sick baby. You may never know that the woman dressed in provocative clothes suffered abuse as a child and seeks attention from men because that is all she knows. You may never know that the lady who comes across brash and outspoken really longs for a friend she can confide in and be herself with.
You never know what path someone has been asked to walk down, so be understanding of the burden she may carry. When we are quick to throw the stones of judgement, we miss the opportunity to understand what it is like to walk a mile in her shoes and offer support in some way. There have been many times I have drudged my way through life, beaten down by the cards I was dealt. Those who took the time to encourage instead of judge, helped heal my wounds with their words of encouragement. Those who extended grace when I dropped the ball on our friendship and were quick to forgive, showed me I mattered and they were willing to stick by me through thick and thin. The gift of understanding and grace, even to a complete stranger, can be the ray of hope and a glimmer of Jesus to someone who needs it desperately.
4.Adjust your standard.
As women, we are taught to believe that we have to be Super Woman, Martha Stewart, Betty Crocker, and a Victoria’s Super Model rolled into one perfect package. The truth is, that standard is unrealistic and daunting! I can’t live up to that and most ladies I know can’t relate either, so why are we allowing this to be the norm? Why are we holding ourselves to standards that no one will ever conquer? We need to ban together and adjust the unnecessary expectations we place on ourselves and other women. Do not let these unrealistic standards inhibit you from being you simply because you worry about what others will say.
Ladies, it’s time to take off our masks and reveal to each other who we really are and embrace both our strengths and our shortcomings. Let’s help each strive to better in all aspects, knowing that our goal is to be a little more like Jesus every day, and give each other room to fail and make mistakes without fear of judgement or slander. If we made encouraging others our goal, being in a group of women would not be intimidating, it would be freeing and beautiful to know you are accepted no matter what.
I’m calling for a cease fire of the Women Wars. I’m waving my white flag of surrender and vow to stop judging others, and hope that you will do the same. Together, you and I can be a catalyst for change, one positive interaction after another.
This post is dedicated to my faithful friends who allow me to be me and to take off my mask. Thanks for loving me despite what you see and for not judging me in the areas I need to grow. May I do the same for you!
Calling all bloggers!!! Check out the new blog party on the link-up scene, Saturday Soiree Blog Party! starting July 12, 2014! The link-up opens for bloggers on Friday night at 8:00 pm and I would love to have YOU share your stories of faith, encouragement, family and more every Saturday!!! Spread the word through social media and your blog. This party is open to everyone!!!
The cover picture is from the movie Mean Girls (2004) and was produced by Paramont Pictures. The copyright belongs to Paramont Pictures.
This post was linked to A Mama’s Story., Cornerstone Confessions, Thankful Thursday and Christian Mommy Blogger. Check it out!