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Critic

encouragerEver been told you have a critical spirit? I have, not by a person, but God has convicted me of it time and again. If you tend to look at something – a performance, the layout of a store, a beautiful scene, the efficiency of a group working together – and say this is really good, but would be great if…..then you may have a critical spirit, as well.

For years I viewed this as a strength, knowing how to make good things better, and usually shared my thoughts with whomever was listening. Then God began to show me in small ways that this was an attitude problem, not a spiritual gift. It’s the sign of someone who expects and finds disappointment, someone who is never pleased. He didn’t create me to tell others how much better things could be done if they would only see it my way! It turns out that most everyone has an opinion, and the ability to criticize; the real talent is looking beyond what could be better and appreciating life for the messy imperfection that it is. This is not easy for me, it doesn’t come naturally, but I am convinced it is important. For my spiritual growth. For my relationships. For my heart.

 

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7 responses »

  1. “The real talent is looking beyond what could be better and appreciating life for the messy imperfection that it is.”

    Yes. This.

    Reply
  2. Boy, did this ever come just in time. I am that person too. A perfectionist and a systems person. I constantly look of a way to make something better, quicker, more efficient, more satisfying. I mean well and am not always judging the performance of others, but sometimes do. I don’t demean them and am only meaning to help them be better at a task and try not to present in a judgmental way but that may be how they are receiving it. Being a perfectionist, I do this with myself and since I receive it so well, aren’t or shouldn’t they? Well, no. I can see now how that may have affected my youngest and her feeling of low self-esteem even though I/we always told her how smart she was and could do anything she put her mind to and do it well. Perhaps she felt I am trying but can’t deliver apparently since there is always a “better way.” Did the occasional “negative” message somehow outweigh the constant positive one? And am I the only one who perceives the message as occasional?

    My daughter is going through a tough time about to get tougher and perhaps I need to rethink the talk I was going to have with her. Perhaps I need to let her tell me some things instead of the other way around.

    Reply
    • I love that we were both commenting on each others’ blogs at the same time! If you’re looking for encouragement on this, let me give it to you: everybody needs to feel heard.Give her the gift of really listening to her and respond to what she says, don’t show up with an agenda before hearing her. It’s hard to do, I have found myself completely changing my dialogue with our oldest after hearing her heart and I think she feels respected because of it.
      A strength you have is receiving criticism well because of your high standards, you welcome the opportunity to improve. Few people have this, and most who don’t really don’t understand those who do. You’ve got a great opportunity with your daughter here, can’t wait to hear what you learn!

      Reply
      • Yeah, because I did have an agenda: to help. That’s the tough one to set aside. ” I know what you need and how to fix this; let me tell you.” We are so certain we just want to download that ASAP and thwart or stop their pain, when we need to ask what is hurting and how can I help. I think we often don’t want to do that because we fear being be shut down with “Nothing,” and losing an opportunity to provide them some relief, albeit as we see it. (Ooh. A rhyme. Love words) That is always my greatest fear with her: “Nothing,” and her pain continues. I have seen 6 years of pain for us all and I want it not to continue but it looks inevitable. Perhaps I need to stand back and let her break her down and cry Abba and trust His plan.

  3. Waving my hand here both to say hello and to say yup, me too. Killing off my critical self is my goal for this year. I suspect it will be messy and painful, but everyone will be better off.

    Good luck in your battle!

    Reply

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