I hate that I hate criticism! I’ve always struggled with this. The smallest of critiques can make my brain shake. I know in my heart it’s ridiculous. I know the truth is that, “Whoever loves instruction loves knowledge, but he who hates correction is stupid.” Proverbs 12:1. My head & heart have run laps around this mountain for years, but still I sit here in my office fuming over accusations that are trivial in proper proportion, but just the fact that my proficiency has been questioned makes me crazy. The fact of the matter is that I was not created to be fully proficient at everything anyway. Again, I know that, but this awareness does little to still the maddening quakes of my pride.
I’m not proud of this fact, in fact I’m questioning whether or not I’ll actually allow this post to exit my computer & enter the world of the living. I hate that I am proud. I hate that I have flaws; I want to be perfect after all. The sad truth is that the very desire of my heart to be perfect may be one of the most imperfect things about me. I remember being in the fifth grade & crying myself to sleep every night for two weeks because I got a “B” in Science on my report card. I kept that report card for years. There, lost in the middle of the monument to my “smartness” was a lonely little “B”. I realized a few months ago when I came across it in a drawer that I must be crazy for keeping it for 25 years but more so that I must be crazy that instead of taking pride in the accomplishments evidenced by all of the “A’s” staring back at me, I was ashamed of the lonely “B”. I kept this for all those years as a tribute to my perfectionism. Now I seek to kill my perfectionism & start a new desire for excellence without condemnation. With that, I threw the report card in the garbage can.
Why not start memorializing things that I’m actually proud of? No one really cares about what I got on my 5th grade report card anyway. To be honest, what people think about me doesn’t really matter. Whatever good I do, I should be doing for the Lord and not for men to praise me.
Matthew 6:3 “But when you do a charitable deed, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, 4 that your charitable deed may be in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will Himself reward you openly.”
Colossians 3:23 “And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men”
My greatest accomplishments are the simplest of things, the way I serve the Lord and my family as a wife & a mother, the way I abandon myself in worship and the moments spent in prayer that no one sees. The biggest mystery of all is that the best things are always born from the times I allow myself to decrease. Upon the death of my pride & my selfish nature, I can begin to live and accomplish great things. So why do I let myself get caught up in the criticism of others when I really desire to change from who I am and be changed into the likeness of Christ?
I can almost see myself, lying down on the altar ready to present myself as a living sacrifice Romans 12 style, then someone questions my Budget calculations and I start kicking and screaming & hurl myself down from the wood and flames ready to fight and defend my math to prove to everyone that I am capable while God sighs, shakes His head and says “I guess we’ll be revisiting this lesson again”. I’m so glad He’s patient with me. It really is laughable that I waste so much time and energy trying to defend myself, when I have the greatest defender whose only requirement is that I do everything unto Him. He will gladly do the rest.
Lord, help me to acknowledge when my pride is trying to rise up & overthrow the village of my soul. Help me to deal with it quickly and stay right where I’m supposed to be, surrendered on the altar of your grace. There is no better way to live. Let me see that correction makes me better. Let me embrace it with an open heart & a willing Spirit. Help me to discern when it is true & I need to change or when it is silly and I need to ignore it, shake it off and move on. God, let me be so focused on YOU that everything else I do and say will be filtered by Your Spirit, then I won’t blow it.