Criticism is What You Need to Grow


If your brother sins, go and show him his fault in private; if he listens to you, you have won your brother. Matthew 18:15

There are many things we love to receive: a gift, a pat on the back, a million dollars! Some things we never want to be given: a pink slip, toothache, shark bite, or criticism!

Please, no shark bites. But truth that is criticism can be just what you need to grow. Sure, it doesn’t feel good to have someone call your issues out. We try really hard to debunk what they have said because we don’t want to feel the shame that comes over us for being flawed. We do not like to have our issues called out, but truth is, criticism is good for us when it is given in the right spirit, coming from someone whose motive is pure and gracious.

Criticism gives great perspective. One person said, “Criticism polishes my mirror.” It makes things that are fuzzy in my perception of myself come into focus. We often have blind spots and don’t realize how we are perceived, what our facial expressions communicate, how what we say is taken, and many other things that we do not realize people are seeing as flaws in us.

When someone has the courage to reveal it to us in love, we would be foolish to disregard or discredit what they are saying. We should receive it humbly and thankfully. Some of my biggest moments of growth came when someone cared enough about me to tell me the truth, and I received it. Sure it stung, but I grew because they said it and I had the courage to receive it.

Here are some things to consider when receiving constructive criticism:

1) Do not take it personally. If they care about you, they are not attacking you personally or trying to hurt you. They want to help you.

2) Feedback makes you stronger. One of the most valuable gifts, and one given sparingly in complete honesty, is feedback. Feedback that is critical might hurt our pride, but ultimately, we should want to be better and not deceived into thinking we are better than we are. Hurt my pride before you let me keep making the same mistake over and over again!

3) It expands your perspective. You just can’t see things sometimes. They are just out of your peripheral vision. Until someone points it out, you don’t realize certain things about you. If you are hypersensitive and insecure, you will run from criticism because you can’t face the fact that you are flawed. This is tragic, though, as you miss opportunity to increase your range of sight and see yourself more clearly.

4) It challenges our people-pleasing. This is a big one for me, personally. When someone contradicts me, I do not need to see that as persecution. It is exhausting trying to live for the approval of everyone. Being able to give and receive criticism is a way of living healthier in your relationships.

5) It deepens your relationship and trust. When someone has the courage to approach you in love and critique you, and you respond correctly, I guarantee your relationship will grow to a deeper, more trusting level. That is a person you want to keep close to you. It is a rare find, a friend like that.

Let me sum it up: If you are not open to constructive criticism, then you are not open to growing as a person.

Ten important “What if” questions I like to ask you…


1. What if I told you ten years from now your life would be exactly the same as it is now? Why are you afraid of change? God wants us to step out and take risks. Don’t stay the same because you haven’t arrived yet to where God wants you.

2. What if I told you that no one on Facebook really cares what you are doing today? We give people to much control in our happiness. We need them to approve of us to feel wanted. Why? We have the Lord who calls us His child!

3. What if 99 of the 100 things you are worrying about all the time never happen? Was it worth being robbed of life so you could be consumed with worry? Where has it gotten you? Instead, trust. Trust in the Lord who has you in His hand. He will see you through.

4. What if you woke up this morning and you only had left those things which you had given thanks to God for yesterday? Our selfishness makes us forget to be thankful for what we have. Are you content? You should be. God has blessed you!

5. What if you are trusting in a bunch of lies that you have convinced yourself are true? If we buy into the lie that this life is all about accumulating stuff, achieving, and having fun then we will miss the real purpose of life.

6. What if instead of thinking the grass is greener somewhere else you found value, purpose, and joy in where you are? Until we learn to be content in having the Lord nothing else will ever really satisfy us.

7. What if in all your struggle to gain your life you only get further away from ever really finding it?  To really gain life you have to be willing to lose it. When we come to the end of ourselves we find out who we really are.

8. What if  we set forth to accomplish things with no fear of failure? God wants us to live radically. He would have us seize the day and live adventurously. Quit letting fear paralyze you.

9. What if how we perceive a problem is actually the biggest part of the problem? Perspective is key. How we see things will determine how we respond to it. Make sure your perception lines up with the will and word of God.

10. What if you forgave yourself? How long you going to live in defeat for your past mistakes??? God forgives you if you look to Him. You can’t control anyone else’s feelings toward you. Move forward and quit reliving  your failures.

Don’t Give Them Leverage


Do not be deceived: “Bad company corrupts good morals.”       1 Corinthians 15:33

Leverage is a valuable thing. If I am a wrestler and I have leverage then I am probably going to win the bout. If I am looking for a raise and I have leverage, the higher ups are going to be much more motivated to consider it. Leverage is power. When someone has leverage over you they have power in your life.

Leverage is a reality and whether you recognize it or not it exists in your relationships. You have leverage in some people’s lives and others have leverage in yours. The key is being very careful who you let have leverage in yours. If you allow negative, overly critical people to have leverage in your life they will bring you down. They will distort your view of things and it will negatively effect your attitude. You may not be able to avoid these people but you should not give them leverage (power) in your life.

I choose to allow people like this to have leverage in my life:

Giver of godly advice over lover of human wisdom

Encourager over discourager

Positive over critical

Realist over drama queen or king

Non anxious presence over spastic

Honest over flatterer

Silence over gossip

Prayer warrior over try and quickly fix it
These are just a few qualities that come to mind but I am very intentional and extremely careful on who I let have leverage in my life. I strongly encourage you to do the same.

5 Things to Never Say To Your Wife

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Wisdom means knowing when to say something but also knowing when to keep your mouth shut. For those who are married or in a dating relationship, you learn quickly that there are some things that shouldn’t be said. When they are spoken it can get ugly quickly. Here are five things I have learned through my own school of hard knocks not to say to my wife. Maybe they will help you learn quicker than i did. These are in no particular order. They all are equally  foolish!

 

Why can’t you be more like…

Now it really doesn’t matter who you finish a sentence like that with. Comparing your wife to anyone will be all but disastrous for you. You might pay for it for years and years. Comparisons are a bad idea! Heed my advice here. Your very life may be at stake.

Stop being so sensitive.

Being that you are most likely the reason your wife is agitated at this moment makes this statement even more dangerous. If you want to have the exact opposite effect of what you were hoping, utter these four words. I promise you that your wife will not say “Honey, you know you are right. Forget I said anything. I am being foolish. Want me to make you a sandwich while you rest and watch TV?”

Yes, you do look fat in that.

If you need my advice here of why this is a mistake then go ahead and consider yourself a hopeless case and pray that your wife is the most gracious person, besides Christ, to ever live.

You’re starting to remind me of your mother.

Mother In Laws are great (Mine reads my blog so I am using discernment here). But I assure you that your wife does not want to be compared to her. If you have said it I feel confident you did not mean it in that moment as a compliment. Sure you meant; “Dear, you are beginning to remind me of your mother. Your cooking is getting amazing and your beauty continues to increase!”

What’s wrong now?

Perception is reality. You might have the best intentions with this question but let me interpret for you in terms you will understand how your wife hears it, “Woman when are you going to stop breaking down and I have to come and fix you over and over again. I have better things to do.” I will repeat myself here that this will not go over well for you. If you communicate to your wife that she is a burden then she might very well show you how much she can make this a reality for you.

 

I recommend striking these five statements from your vocabulary to never be uttered again. Your world will be a much happier place if you do.

 

Dax

 

 

8 Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. 9 What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.
Philippians 4:8

I want to make a challenge to you. For the next 30 days what if you intentionally looked for the good in the people and cirmumstances around you? How might that change your perspective on things? When I get critical in my spirit it really effects me negatively in all areas of life. Seeing the positive in people or circumstances does not mean you have to ignore the issues those people or circumstances bring. It just keeps you from seeing everything as completely bad when God wants to show you good that can come from it. For example, let’s say a coworker gossiped about you and you found out. Your tendency would be to think evil thoughts about that person to where you saw nothing good about them. What if you were able to still pinpoint good things about them but also address the issue? “Sally is a hard worker but what she said about me was untrue.” Now that is perspective and if we have right perspective, we are more apt to handle situations like these in a way that honors God. When we handle it in the flesh we go after the “Sally’s” in our life with venomous words and feelings. How does this honor God in any way? I think we tend to react negatively to someone who hurts or offends us because it feels so natural to respond that way. We like what feels natural, but natural means we are in the flesh and that never honors God.

If you are willing to do this challenge, why not make these 30 days a testimony to challenge others? What if you posted on Facebook or sent an email to friends letting them know you are going to focus in on what is good, what is lovely, what is commendable when it comes to your spouse, job, health, social status, material possessions, coworkers, children, etc.. Share throughout your journey how this is changing things in you. I promise that if you approach things positively you will see them in a new light. If you take me up on this challenge you will see change happen in your life. Others will notice it and react in a better way to you as well. Let the challenge begin!

All things work together for the good for those who love God, who are called according to his purpose (Romans 8:38).