I am slowly learning the difference between 'defending' and 'defensive'. Interesting balancing act that can sometimes be based on one's insecurity or pride. Of course many things are very worth defending, but a quick jump to defensiveness can keep you from learning new things or being secure in decisions.
During a recent interaction with an old friend, I was given 'helpful advice' (or what she thought was helpful) about homeschooling that was based on some pretty ignorant assumptions.
I was fuming after this conversation, because the 'advice' was hurtful and had taken me so off guard that I had not had time to respond. We were also in company of others and it was not an appropriate time to address the false assumptions she was harboring. And even if we had been alone, I was too mad to reply in a nice way. My poor husband got to hear me rant in the parking lot of the restaurant for about 20 min how frustrated I was that she again let her insecurity lead her to make ignorant judgments over MY life, and MY choices
This person does not home school, but has always really enjoyed giving unsolicited advice. I am not sure if her advice stems from arrogant pride or false pride as a mask for insecurity, but there has always been a need to 'fix" everyone else. While I have been used to this 'advice' in the past, when the advice was about homeschooling I want to jump into defending mode.
I spent more time than I would like to admit fretting over this. I went back and forth over the next few days and had many conversations (in my head of course) about confronting her "in love". My speech (in my head again) to her was along the line of, "Why are MY choices any of YOUR business?! I do not try to make you live the way we do or have our priorities. If is isn't a moral issue, then you need to let it go."
Looking back, how God must have been laughing as I rehearsed a speech for another that was so needed by me.
Early one morning when I was writing an email on how frustrated I was, God showed me the defending of my choice had turned into insecure defensiveness. I was typing out words to a friend that God wanted me to read. I was to turn a mirror on myself. Seeing defensiveness in another is just not pretty, but even uglier when you see it in yourself.
I pray God may give me an opening and a time to discuss the false assumptions she has towards homeschooling, but that wasn't lesson I was suppose to be learning in that particular moment. I do care for this woman, and she is currently overwhelmed by life, and her own choices in motherhood. When I stepped back, her "advice" really had nothing to do with me.
I will continue to try to educate others about our choice to homeschool ,when the need arises, but my motivation must not be born from my insecurity.
After some time and prayer, I see that my need for Earthly validation led to forgetfulness of WHO called us to homeschool, and WHY we continue to do so. We are validated in that calling by Him because it works for OUR family, not because we think it works for everyone, and hopefully time will bear that out to doubters. And if not, oh well.
I am sure I will again need this reminder very soon, but today I am thankful for growth.