Dealing with criticism, Everyday life, Faith


Last night I went to my Community Group, sat with people who I genuinely respect, and broke down into a crying fit that roughly resembled a deranged gopher. All who read here know I don’t pretty cry. This was no exception.

I got a lot of very wise advice (from them and from several other people I bawled in front off in the last 48 hours. And yes, that includes a stranger in the drive-thru) and have been processing what I want to say and react to what has caused me such distress.

It all began with a few people saying some “not-so-great” things about me on another blog. I sort of expected it as I indicated in my last post, but wow. So I’m crying and I’m asking for people’s thoughts, and a great guy in my group says the following:

“I have three pieces of advice for you. One is from the Gospels and it’s spoken by Christ. The second one is in 1st Peter, and the last one is a direct quote from the movie Evan Almighty.”

Preach. It.

Honest to goodness, it was profound. Seriously. And the Evan Almighty part has made me think and pray a bunch today. I’ll share it with you all some other time, but for now, a confession.

As I lamented in self-pity today for the second day, I begged the Lord to intervene and protect me.

If it had been a movie, I would have been laying on the ground in a white dress, mascara dripping down my cheeks (in a pretty way. Not like a weird Halloween mask way) as a fan gently blew my hair around my shoulders. I may or may not have been glowing angelically. And underneath the dress, just for fantasy’s sake, I was wearing a pair of skinny jeans. They looked fabulous for the record.

All the while, the Lord was patting me gently, hanging on every word, lamenting the fact that I was so wrongly wounded. And He was completely on my side, naturally. So when I asked Him to speak to me, you all can imagine my surprise when gently and lovingly I sensed what He was saying.

Get. Over. Yourself.

He didn’t use those words. I didn’t actually hear words. But the fan definitely stopped.

I’m sure I listened harder, praying about what I had heard, but it was unmistakable. I went to bed very convicted about my pride and the fact that I had gotten sick (not just figuratively) because I was so devastated that somebody didn’t like me.

Today the feeling has plagued me and again tonight I spoke to the Lord. I turned off the radio (and you know it is always on the best song when He tells you to do that).

Once again I sensed what He was saying, and once again I had to face something I am embarrassed to admit. I never felt condemned, I just felt conviction.

“Why Lord? Why? I don’t want a few mean things to upset me this way. It’s ugly and I don’t want to be like this. Tell me what it is I’m supposed to get out of this, because I feel like there’s something you want to say to me.”

I sat still and listened. It was unmistakable, and tears burned my eyes as I processed what I knew He was saying. Or rather, what He was asking.

When was the last time you got physically sick over something someone said about Me, Angie?

My heart started pounding as the weight of this settled in.

I’m trying to remember you crying to your friends because you wanted to defend me so badly and you couldn’t figure out how…

Listen closely to the background music. Yes. That noise was skinny jeans and they were ripping. This would be a good time to cover your kid’s eyes.

I did try to defend myself, telling Him how much it hurt, asking Him to understand what it feels like to be in my position. This is my child we’re talking about, God. Come ON. I can’t just sit back and listen to all of this associated with her. It’s too much…

I didn’t quite get that one all the way out. Because He reminded me He isn’t unaware. Well that was an uncomfortable moment for me. He actually does know, and it was a whole lot more dramatic than something involving a blog.

So the bottom line is this. It would be easy for me to say a bunch of nasty things and retaliate to what I think were some seriously inappropriate comments, but I genuinely realized today I have some other things I need to focus on right now. Namely, the fact that I got bent out of shape over something that hurt my self-esteem.

And the gopher? Is ugly.

People are going to say what they say, and as much as it hurts, I am in a position where it sort of comes with the territory. I’m going to be honest…I wish it rolled off my back. It doesn’t. But I also didn’t need to go read it-that was my fault. I’m not even going to defend myself here, though I’m tempted…we would all be tempted if we were being honest with ourselves. It’s not the thing I need to confront, and I want to confess to everyone who reads this blog that this is a real struggle for me.

It’s human to be deflated by criticism.

It’s not a great idea to live in a place where you obsess over it. I’m not glorifying God in a position of continuous self-pity over something that is just plain part of life.

I would be tempted to say something about pulling up my big girl panties but the whole maternity panel thing is kind of ruining the analogy.

I am going to work on it though.

In addition, I will be purchasing the movie “Evan Almighty.”

Let me go ahead and put in my little request here. The absolute last thing this post is intended to to is stir any of you up to go and post things to defend me if you see something that isn’t the most complimentary thing you’ve ever read. This is not a call for retaliation, it’s a reality check that I wanted to share because you see a lot of nice pictures of me and I tell you really sweet stories about my kids and my life and as you know, that isn’t the whole picture. Will you pray for me as I try and learn to navigate these waters? That is honestly the thing that would mean the most and I trust you to respect me on this one.

And as for those of you out there who disagree with my words, motives, or anything else that might be laying on a kitchen counter in the background of a picture I post, I have one request of you, and I think it’s fair. Please leave Audrey out of it. I won’t say more than that because we are all adults and we will use our own discernment as to what that includes, but I am asking you this as a mother, not a blogger-lady who lives in cyberspace. I am sure we can all agree that crosses the line (I hope).

I feel like this is kind of going to be anticlimactic but I do have another prayer request. I am going to be traveling to El Salvador next month with Compassion International to visit a few projects there. It is actually an artist trip (You’ll NEVER guess. It’s Selah) but I get to tag along because I have been a part of Compassion in the past. It’s a super short trip (only 3 nights) and they are doing way more than they need to in order to ensure it’s not a physically taxing trip in any way for me.

It’s the first mission trip I’ve ever been able to go on with Todd and I’m really excited about it.

I’m also going to do my best to leave my pride at home.

I would hate for them to have to pay for an extra seat.

I appreciate you all more than you know…thank you for your love and grace.

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