The Critical Thinker

I am the worst at criticizing myself.  I have a new(ish) friend and she and I went to see a movie last night and then met again today to run errands together and have brunch. She pointed something out. She was right.

Last night I made it a point to tell her I forgot to put make-up on.  Then we both ugly cried during the movie and I made it a point to remind her that not only did I do the “ugly cry” but I didn’t have make-up on.  Imagine the red splotchy hot mess I was.  Yikes!  My reminders stuck with her. She said today, “I’m not judging you.” It took me a minute to realize that what I was saying to her is “Don’t judge me, I know I look awful. Forgive me for presenting myself in this manner. I’m not good enough, you did better than me.” All of those words were wrapped up in “Sorry! I forgot to put make-up on”.

I’m not vain.  I honestly only wear foundation.  I don’t do much with my hair because it frizzes easily because we live in humid FL.  But, I like to dress nice and put some jewelry on and make sure my foundation is spread evenly.  I want to look presentable.  I worry what others think, especially in the new stages of a friendship.

Now I feel I have to vendicate the words you just read.  I feel like I need to tell you that I know Jesus loves me just the way I am and I have gotten much better than I use to be.  (Which is key… I’m growing.) See! Here I am critisizing my written words in a blog about criticizing, explaining myself completely. 

Why would I ever apologize for the natural me, the duplication of Christ, made in His image? He didn’t create me with make-up on, or the perfect hair, or a pedicure, or designer clothes. He created me, naked, pure, undefiled, not touched up, not fixed, not made to look like anyone else, but in His image alone. Why am I not confident in that truth?
The sub-text would be that as soon as I let my guard down, someone will point out one of my flaws. It’s happened.   Many. Times. Before. It still happens. So, I vendicate before opinions can be given.  I answer before the criticism can fall on me. My shield is up, before the sword has time to present itself.

Maybe I’m sensitive, maybe my influences haven’t been great, or maybe we all aren’t sensitive enough to give each other grace.

Can we do that? Can we give each other grace? Can we point out the good in each?Can we build each other up?

I believe the reason we go for the kill, for the critisizing of others is because we ourselves are flawed. “Well, at least I look better”. “Oh! Thank God MY kids don’t act like that!” (But, that’s a blog for another day) “What are they thinking wearing THAT?!” See, we must compare ourselves and find when we are better and then crush ourselves when we aren’t.

We compare ourselves and we size ourselves up to the next person.  It’s selfish.  It hurts. So, what if, today you become one who begins something new.  What if, you talk to the person no one is talking to? How about you make it a point to compliment instead of criticize.  In fact, when you begin to think critical thoughts, make yourself verbally compliment the person you’re talking to, or compliment yourself.  Think of how this could change the world one heart at a time! How exciting!!

What if our compliments made people begin to feel good about who they are, the person God created them to be?! What if, they feel so good, they begin complimenting others?! 

Will you join me? Will you help me change the world? Will you put an alert on your phone that says “compliment someone” and make it sound off 3 times a day? Will you begin at home? Will you begin with you?

Lord, please help me realize how beautiful I am, made in your glorious image, the bride of Christ.  Help me see passed this world and what it thinks and says and help me see what you see.  Help me hear your voice and drown out the noise.  Help me be bold in you and begin to speak beautiful things to others.  Give me the gift of encouragement and above all else, make them know my joycomes only   from you.  In Jesus name, amen.

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