'Let your critics refine rather than define you."
I heard someone say that if you don't have any critics, you must not be doing something right. Every now and then we all face critics. Wisdom is found when we know exactly what to do with their criticism.
I heard a lot being said about "constructive criticism." The idea is nice but most of my critics are really not trying to build me up. If feels like they are trying to tear me down. It feels more like a demolition than a construction.
It's during those times that I have to remember who I really am. The demolition plan doesn't work when my foundation is firmly established in Christ. I remember once when two critics were doing their best to demolish my self-esteem. It felt like their words were arrows and I was the target. I remember just sitting there, 9 months pregnant, but on the inside I was standing on the liberty that Christ set me free (Galatians 5:1). I was able to listen to the demolishing criticism and still be Godly and Christ-like. Those words did not define me. I was able to clearly stand firm because of the work God had done in my life. That event served as a way of showing me that I was free and that Christ defines me, not the words of critics.
I can't seem to get rid of critics. They come and go. I also know that they don't get to do any damage in my inner life because Jesus is the Lord of my life and He sets the tone for what goes on there. I haven't developed immunity to critics (I sincerely wish I had!) what I did develop is an inner strength that comes from laying at the feet of Jesus and daily asking who I am in Him and who has God created me to be. I try to be just that, with no excuses.
I dislike interacting with my critics but I don't get to live in a bubble friends. I have learned that those unpleasant experiences can serve as refining fire and that fire sanctifies me and transforms me. I honestly don't volunteer for this stuff nor do I wish these experiences on my enemies. I do find solace in the fact that in Christ I have the anchor for my soul. I have an identity that was purchased with a high price (Jesus' death and victory on the cross).
I find myself smiling in the midst of my critics because the joy of the Lord really is my strength. Christ gives me all the assurance I need to live in abundance and that brings unspeakable joy.
I don't know if you're facing a critic this week. Don't shrink back (Hebrews 10:39) but live by faith in the Son of God who gave Himself for you and who loves you very much. Let His wonderful words of Life define you.