If most of us are honest with ourselves we would say that we do not deal with criticism all that well. I know I don’t…at ALL! I will be the first to admit that I loathe criticism…I am a control freak and I do not like being corrected…even in the little things. I like to do things in my own way! For example, just recently my kid started Pre-K and let’s just say that the car line has been a nightmare. The place that we live is surrounded by construction so no matter which way we go we are trapped. Well, the school has been doing their best to improve/tweak their system based on all of the construction and so that the car line cars are off of the main road. They have done a pretty good job so far with the help of some local police officers. However, I have felt as if one of the officers are out to get me!
The first day the new system was in place I did not let Jesus shine through me well at all. See, I decided to leave the house 45 minutes early so that I could get at the front of the car line and so my sweet baby didn’t have to wait in the awful heat. There were two car lines and I parked in the one closest to the school so that my boy didn’t have to walk across traffic. So, I parked in the line and the cop waves me down for me to move into the other lane. I’m thinking inside my blood boiling brain, “Excuse me, who do you think you are? I did not get in a line 45 minutes early for you to tell me which one to be in. I need to get to my baby as soon as possible…He went to school crying this am. You need to back off.” I was furious! She insisted with her bulging eyes so reluctantly I revved my engine and made my way into the “slow” line.
I wish I could say that the second day was any better but it wasn’t at all! I’m hoping that whatever it is the Lord wants me to learn I can learn before I let loose on a cop with my words and end up in jail for the day—or forever if my husband decides to never get me out. He may think, “Vacay…whoop whoop!” Needless to say, I do not deal with correction in the form of criticism. I wonder how many of us really do. But what if whatever criticism is being offered is constructive? What if it is for our benefit? I can reflect a time in my life when someone gave me constructive criticism, I listened, and it made a WORLD of difference!
A while back…like…12 years ago…I worked at a YMCA. I loved it! I was surrounded by some of the healthiest people I had ever met. I got to teach classes, learn the ways of a personal trainer, and meet some really great people! One of the people I looked up to was my boss. He taught a lot of classes, had been training for years, and had ran many races including tons of marathons. I had never been much of a runner but I was really interested in getting started. My boss was in a running group that was at the YMCA and I got involved as well. I fell in love with running because I felt so much better when I did it…at least I thought I did.
When I got off of work one day I decided to go out on the track next to the building and get my run on. Well, my boss was in and out training clients and he came over to me and stopped me in my tracks. He said, “Girl, I have GOT to teach you how to run because you are wearing me out just by watching you run.” See, being a basketball player for so many years I did what any basketball player would do, I ran on the balls of my feet…for miles! Now, if you are a runner of distance at all you know running that way will not get you very far. So, without hesitation my boss continued as he followed his own words, “Tiffany, you need to squat a little bit, rotate your hips forward, and as you run you need to scoot while lifting your legs and make sure the middle of your feet hit the ground…not the balls of your feet,” He proceeded, “Relax your arms, and try to do a more heel to toe motion.” I tried to mimic him and I am sure I looked ridiculous because it felt so awkward. However, after a while I got the hang of it and he was so right...with my new running stance, I could run much further. I eventually got up to ten miles with my running crew.
Now, I say all of that to say this…is there something in your life that God is trying to get you to listen too? Maybe He has tried to tell you Himself or Has he put people in your life to reveal to you that you are doing something wrong and that “Girl, I need to teach you how to do something different because you are slap wearing me out by just watching you.” See, God can use people in our lives to offer constructive criticism so that we will be better runners in this race called life. He doesn’t want to see us struggle as bad as we might be. He wants us to be able to run further than we ever thought possible.
Are you a control freak, like me thinking you know the right way to do everything, wearing yourself out because you are too stubborn to listen? Friend, I want to encourage you to listen. I want to encourage you to “Be still and know that He is God (Psalm 46: 10).” Trust Him and allow Him to speak into your life and reveal the right way you should go…whether it be directly from Him or from people that He has placed into your life.
Now, we do have to be careful of who we listen to but I do believe that if we are quite enough He will reveal to us those we should gain wisdom and counsel from. But let’s do ourselves a favor and let go of some of that control we “think we have” and allow God to do something great in our lives. Trust me when I say, you will have much more energy to keep going forward. Before you know it you will be ten miles in and the pain won’t be as bad as it was when you were just running two.
With so much love,