I’m only four months into this exclusive club called motherhood. I enjoy hearing all the stories, from birth stories, toddler mishaps, and the general comradeship you get from the other mothers. What should be obvious in all those stories is that they are all unique. In reading posts, blogs and talking to other moms, I’ve noticed something. Moms may be the most easily offend-able group out there.
When I was pregnant I had quiet a few strangers touch my belly. Some would comment about how big I was, some would just speculate about the gender or weight, a few got teary eyed thinking about their own sweet babies who are now grown. After they would walk away I would inevitably wonder if I should be offended the the person was “in my personal space”. Why would I wonder that? Because I’ve heard and seen so may woman through the years complain about how offended they were that a stranger was touching them. But every time that person walked away and I would consider being offended, God would remind me what a miracle life is. Lets think about it for a minute. A seed and an egg that are so tiny they can not be seen by the naked eye, come together and over a ten month period a human is formed from practically nothing. Brand new lungs, hands and feet, and a brain are grown. The mothers organs get squished and pushed around, at the same time skin is stretching and bones are literally moving. And yet somehow women live through it! I don’t think anyone can say that is not a miracle, and a beautiful one at that. So is it not the most natural thing for people to, without even thinking, be overcome with a desire to reach out and touch the evidence of the miracle? Nobody ever touched my belly and walked away with a frown. So how can I, who is experiencing the miracle begrudge them for that?
That was a long winded example, but my point was in midst of it all. Its popular as moms to find things to get offended about.
In thinking about this post I had to evaluate my own life and I realized I’m guilty of the same thing. My husband and I recently started attending a new church and there was a woman there who did not agree with my choice of having a midwife and a home birth. She was never ugly about it, she only voiced her opinion and concern. And yet I chose to be offended because she had the nerve to tell me she had a different opinion! Gasp! She had real life experience so to her I was taking a risk but instead of thanking her for her concern I assigned meaning to her words. I assumed she thought I was a bad mom, that I was too ignorant to make such a decision. But that is not what she said.
Get in a group of moms and you’ll probably hear something along the lines of “Someone pointed out that I have a lot of kids. They probably think I don’t know how to use birth control”, or “I had to run into the store in just my yoga pants and shirt with spit up on i, and little johnny missed his nap so he was crying, and this lady in a business suit looked at me like I was crazy. She probably went home and told her family about the train wreck she saw.” You get my point, we search for ways to be offended.
Here are a few ways we as moms can stop ourselves from searching for that offense.
1. Choose not to be offended
I know this is easier said than done. Ask yourself a few questions such as, “Was she trying to hurt me?” “Does this really matter?” and “Did she intend it the way I’m about to take it?” A lot of the time we feel offended its because we’ve attached meaning to what they’ve said. So talk yourself out of the offense.
2. Assume noble intent
Hear the idea and ignore the clumsiness of the expression. The language may be clumsy, or even ill-advised but assume a good heart. Some people struggle to put the right words to the feeling they are trying to express so don’t hold on to them.
3. Overcome self-centeredness
At the root of every offense taken is a self centered attitude. That is a hard pill to swallow. We’ve all been offended before, and sometimes because its exactly what was intended, but if we can shift our focus to God, and his work that we are supposed to be doing while on earth, we wont have time to be offended. Isn’t it interesting that self sacrifice is considered by God to be our reasonable service? *Romans 12:1
4. Show Grace
There are times when I’m sure the things I have said or done have been offensive. I’ve left a conversation before hoping they took it the way I meant it, or simply knowingly giving offense. But I’m so thankful for grace and the forgiveness that was extended to me. I’m human and I make some very human mistakes. Thankfully I’ve been given the perfect example of forgiveness when Jesus forgave all of my sins, and I need to show the same grace to potential offenders when the opportunity arises.
This coming week I’m going to work on being more encouraging in any group I may find myself, not complain to other mommies about offenses just so we can have a whine fest, and I’m going to try my best to focus my attention elsewhere so I’m too busy to get offended. How do you keep yourself from falling into this oh so easy trap?
Be encouraged mommies and don’t worry about what other people say! A moment spent on an offense is a wasted moment with our children who so desperately need our good example.