I have felt judged and I have judged. In business, at church, at dinner…it seems like judgement is inescapable. Oddly enough, I have noticed that people even judge acceptance. When I share that my husband races boats and goes 140 mph on the water, the pointed questions come:
Does it bother you that boat racing is dangerous?
Does it scare you that your husband races boats?
How can you let him do that?
The audible voice says, “How could I not?”
Then my daredevil man puts my son in the passenger seat of his new lightning fast boat, and runs through the race lights. Yup, this happened.
Game changer, right? *loud mama bear growl*
Why does he have to love racing? Why can't he find something else? Why can't he keep these risky passions away from our children?
We let our kids jump off cliffs, drive cars, participate in potentially bone-breaking sports, snowboard, ski, ride motorcycles, swim in the ocean, ride horses...and explore relationships. They fail. They fall down. They get back up.
We don’t deny our children these experiences because life IS risky. But, what is more risky, and far more dangerous, is denying our desires. What if I did prohibit my husband’s hobbies? What if I did prevent my children’s opportunities?
The man I love would be a shell of himself. As a result, I would be a shell of a woman, and probably not as attracted to him. Every one of our well-tended desires is worthy, without justification or alteration. Unconditional love supersedes judgment. So I let my husband race, and I let my kids adventure.
Trying to force people into defending their enjoyment is asinine. It would be like saying, “why do you love chocolate?” I could come up with a hundred reasons why I love chocolate. I could even get a group of others to justify my passion for chocolate. Sure, an overwhelming appetite for chocolate could be unhealthy. But the reality is that I would still love chocolate.
Why do I need to justify it? Why do we feel the innate need to explain ourselves? Why should we? Each person has been designed as a one of kind expression.
The true hazard of every individual’s life is conforming to a pre-disposed stereotype and pre-ordained set of expectations. The peril here is real. When we ignore our desires, dissuade our passions, and direct ourselves toward the prescribed life that society has trained us to accept, the risk becomes fatal.
When we are not engaged in active self-acceptance and fueled by the desires of our soul, we are stifled and unhappy. If I put on the disguise that tradition says I should, then I am wearing a straight- jacket while trying to traverse a chaotic obstacle course.
I suppose this is why at places like conservative ladies luncheons or church functions, I often feel judged and excluded. In my mind, and sometimes aloud, I hear the questions:
Why don't you go to church more?
Why do you let your daughter wear that?
Where's your husband?
How are you cultivating a Christian family?
To these inquiries, I can only internally respond with the knowledge that Jesus’ entire life was an example of redemption. I have no cause for judgment. I have no place to selfishly expect others to modify themselves to comply with my fears or perceptions. It is not within my time, at my will, or under my control. It happened at the cross. It's done.
Love hard. Love every sinner, rule breaker, jdugers, adrenaline seeking men...and the women who love all of themselves. I am one of those women, willing to be judged and still willing to love.
Freedom lives in the full expression and acceptance of ourselves. The same acceptance Jesus had.
Alexis Asbe: wife, mother, best-selling author, serial entrepreneur, women's coach and business consultant. Find her @alexisasbe on Facebook; Instagram; Twitter.