When I experience a negative reaction to something and my reaction is challenged as being overly sensitive, critical, defensive, or unkind, I turn on my mom filter. Assessing our own feelings and reactions – especially knee-jerk ones- through an unfiltered lens is nearly impossible. That is why I love the mom filter.
To turn on The Mom Filter, I:
1. Imagine one of my children coming to me and asking for my advice.
2. They present my current scenario, explain their reaction,
and I listen.
3. We talk things through – the good, the bad, the ugly.
4. The goal is not to be right, but to be real.
5. We aim for authenticity, compassion, understanding, self-respect, confidence, and self-awareness.
6. After we’re done, we figure out next steps and how to direct our feelings and energy for positive change.
7. I return to reality and apply to my own life.
I had to turn on my mom filter for myself last night after reading and listening to a quote from a women’s conference of my church. The first part felt promising and good. The final part left me deflated, frustrated, even angry. I envisioned myself standing up and walking out of a meeting with this type of dialogue. Other like-minded friends responded the same way, sharing the quote on Facebook and opening up dialogue.
Many quickly agreed, while others insisted the speaker was only jesting, would never purposefully hurt others, and is only human. My husband listened, shrugged, and responded, “Well, I’m sure he meant well.” And I was left to pick my jaw up from the floor and reconsider my reaction. That’s where the mom filter comes in.
If my daughter came to me with this quote; raging and hurting, shocked that everyone does not see the world the same way she does, I would ask her to consider all sides. We’d seek the good in others, consider our own biases, and own righteous indignation. As we sorted through those feelings, we’d seek a way to move forward, to find something empowering to do with all of that indignation.
I went to bed last night and woke up with all of this still reverberating in my mind. And then I felt peace come to me as I thought of the advice I would give to my daughter:
God’s voice empowers, uplifts, and renews.
God’s voice can come as a whisper or a shout, but always to proclaim good.
When God’s voice comes as a challenge, it is a call
to be more, to do more, to try again, to aspire to something better.
We might feel discomfort as we internalize this challenge,
but God will strengthen, build up, and inspire us.
God will never cast us in a supporting role in our faith community.
God calls us to minister, to love, to contribute, to lead.
God is more, never less.
God does not belittle, demean, or diminish – not even in a benevolent or well-intended way.
God’s servants are human and fallible.
Sometimes God’s servants speak words of truth, clearly and directly.
Sometimes they ad-lib, adding or leaving out too much, detracting from God’s central message.
They are only human, improvising from their narrow vantage point and limited experience.
If their words hurt, demean, jar, frustrate, or break your spirit, re-examine them.
God speaks through servants and those servants include you.
Pray for yourself.
Don’t dismiss your feelings or allow them to fester.
Ask God directly to distinguish the ad-libs from the truth.
When you feel peace with God’s word, ask what to do with the rest.
Then, trust yourself to move forward with the answer.