We have recently started attending a new church called Valley Family Church. WHAT?! You’re Catholic?! That is the most liberal church in town! Not true, my friends. I did my research. 😉 Sunday’s message has stuck with me. It was awesome as Pastor Jeff talked about “haters” in our lives and how to deal with these negative people. I have heard so many negative comments about this church before we stared going there and every comment I have heard is merely based on the idea that this church is different – which is what was appealing to us. We all have our comfort zones, our religious subscriptions, and our “boxes” in which we stay to avoid being criticized. It is when you step out of that box that the “haters” immerge. Some know this about me, but I have never really been one to conform to the status quo. I was raised to stand firm and tall for what I believe in and I have my parents to thank for that gift. I read a quote today from Lysa TerKeurst, President of Proverbs 31 Ministry, that I wanted to share to reflect on today: Romans 12:2 tells us, “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—His good, pleasing and perfect will.” Be who YOU are today, not who the world wants you to be. It is an awesome feeling!! I will share with you 3 cases that came to mind on Sunday during the service as I am, and have been, on the receiving end of criticism. Not because I am awesome – because God knows my flaws and faults – it is because I am different. I don’t conform. I speak my mind when there are things to be spoken about. People who “step outside the box” are often the ones to be judged. Here are three examples:
1) Everyone knows, I work for and feel called to stand loudly on a very controversial issue. Abortion. People too often choose to avoid conversations about issues that make them feel uncomfortable and may cause them to step out side of their comfort zone. My job is a perfect example of the message we heard in church on Sunday. Every time I speak out on this issue, I am judged and criticized for my position on why abortion is so incredibly barbaric and un-Godly in every sence of its existence. I have learned to block these people out because I know, that by following God, there is no way I can be wrong in standing for the unborn. There is no question. “Pro-choicers” are just struggling within themselves to confirm their belief that killing innocent life I somehow okay. When we are not confident in our own beliefs, it is then that we seek to criticize others.
2) Parenting. People judge us – Steve and I. “We do too much with Noah.” “What is he going to do when he is 10?” These types of judgments and criticisms result from the “haters” own personal guilt, question and lack of confidence in their own parenting methods and styles. We do things “different”, and many have trouble processing and understanding that within themselves. Again, be confident in what you do instead of working so hard to make others feel bad, question, and feel guilty for doing what works for their family.
3) I grew up in a house where I was the oldest of 4 children. I was always criticized by my siblings for “trying to be too perfect.” What they meant is that I went to college, worked hard to get good grades because I was paying for my education, I had to build up the courage to move to a new town on my own and I really seemed to have picked up on the skills that life demands and they didn’t in many cases. They didn’t like seeing me succeed and this was always a conversation that would come up when I would come home to visit from school. “Why are you even going to college? People aren’t getting jobs after college. It is a big waste of time.” Being the oldest, the organized one, the one with a “weird” political interest was really not too easy. My parents supported me and were proud of me, but they also do not have college educations. It was a challenge to step out of that box…but I did. I always have. I love all three of my siblings dearly and I want nothing more than to see them happy in life. The beauty is, I feel like I have obtained some skills I can use to help them get there if they so desire.
These are just three examples of how I have been judged and criticized in my life, but I try not to let things like this slow me down or deter me from being who I am. I understand that people who spend their days criticizing are often the ones looking for themselves. I will wait. 🙂
Do you have people like this in your life that seem to always be so negative and judgemental? How do you deal with this? Look in the mirror…are you the critic? Are you the one who is not happy with yourself, so you spend every day judging and critiquing others? Does that seem like an effective problem-solving method for you? If not, CHANGE. Start seeing yourself as confident and willing to step outside that box that makes us feel so comfortable. It is hard sometimes. For me, I spend time being confident in my ‘roles’ as “that parent”, “that mom”, “that sister”, and “that crazy pro-lifer”. You will find it so much easier to be confident than to let the critics deter you. Today, my friends, the choice is yours!