Letting Go of Criticism (or Thank You Jon Acuff!)

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I was talking with my good friend CrittyJoythe same friend who sparked my last post come to think of it… and she sent me a link to Jon Acuff’s latest blog post. Now I like Jon’s writing, so I expected it to be really good. What I didn’t expect, however, was for it to transport me back to the living room of my old apartment where I sat listening to a friend utter words that hurt me to my core; words I carried with me from that time on without even realizing it.

It was an intense time in the life of the church we were attending surrounding the worship ministry. My friend had been hurt by decisions that were made and the way things were done. I felt like I was in the middle because I was new and I had been asked to be a part of the new worship ministry. One of my fellow members had been part of the previous team and she has an amazing voice. I have always been able to sing, but I was content to be in the background. I have no problem being a Supreme! :o)  God used the team to stretch me and move me outside of my comfort zone. The experience was building my confidence in the gift God had given me. Imagine how I felt when my friend said that the only member of the team who could sing was the woman from the previous praise team! It physically stung and I know it showed on my face. I understand that hurt people, hurt people and my friend had been hurt. She was lashing out and I was caught in the crossfire. That didn't make it any less painful. I had no words so I just went to my room while she continued to talk to my roommate.

The sting wore off over time, but the words stayed with me. I did my best to stay under the radar and blend into in the background as much as possible. The saddest thing of all is that without realizing it, I even stopped singing around the house and even in my private time with God. It was so bad that for a long while, I didn't even sing in the car y'all!  I allowed the criticism of someone else to silence one of my greatest weapons and my greatest joys. Music is the way I express my heart to God, but I let it go because of harsh words spoken out of pain and anger. I understand exactly where where Kevin Smith (see Jon's post!) is coming from because I had essentially done the same thing. I carried the criticism around with me and let it impact my life negatively.

Thankfully, yesterday, in conversation and when Jon's post, I was able to recognize that I was holding on to past criticism in that area. I saw the need to let go of those words and move on and that is just what I did! My bag is getting lighter, however there are still places I need to revisit, words I need to unpack and let go of. I feel lighter already!

Beloved, I know what that person said about you hurt. I know it made you doubt yourself and your God-given ability. I know is still keeps you from moving forward into the fullness the Father has ordained for you to walk in. The good news is you have a choice: you can hold on to it, continue to drag it along and let it hold you back, or you can let it go and be free. I pray you choose freedom today!