Monday, April 19, 2010


I've heard it said that confession is good for the soul. Well, I have a confession to make. I struggle with being critical. There...the truth is out. Typically I'm critical of those I know and love the most. I see their weaknesses, zeroing in on them like a bird hunting its prey. I tend to gloss over all of the marvelous qualities that person possesses, and concentrate on the one or two areas where I'm convinced he or she is just totally missing the boat. Then it becomes my mission to subtly, or sometimes not so subtly, help the person to see how important it is to change his or her behavior in that area. Ugh!

Can anyone relate? I found myself on just such a 'mission' recently. I was beside myself. Over the past several days I've gently encouraged my daughter, Riley, to look for a summer job. I've explained the difficulty of finding a job in today's economic climate, recommended possible places of employment, and reminded her to make follow-up phone calls. As the days have turned into weeks, I have to admit that the gentle encouragement has become more of a hard shove.

My thought process. She says she wants a job, but she's not trying very hard to find one. If it were me, I would be filling out applications and making phone calls to tell the manager why they should hire me. I wouldn't be picky. Once I landed a job, if it wasn't ideal, I could work and continue looking. After all, it's always easier to find a job when you've got one. But wait a minute. My daughter isn't me.

Take a step back. Let me look at the big picture. Riley's a senior in high school with five weeks until graduation. She just returned from the national competition at Bob Jones University after placing first at the state level in Bible teaching for children. She's in the middle of completing academic testing, applying for college, and putting together her invitations for her graduation party. Not to mention keeping up with school, teaching piano lessons, and helping out with the primary children's program at our church.

Perspective is good! Although getting a summer job is important, it's unrealistic for me to expect my daughter to spend every waking moment searching for one. This weekend, I was reminded that there are other things that are equally important.

When it comes to photography, Riley is very talented. Not only can she take a great picture, but she also knows how to edit and enhance the photos in Photoshop. A few of her school friends had asked her to take their senior pictures, an opportunity that she jumped on. From Friday to late Saturday night, Riley not only took more than 700 pictures of one of her classmates, but she also edited and posted the top 75 pictures for her friend to view. Talk about sticking with a project! By Sunday, instead of relaxing after church, she made the decision to support another girlfriend by attending the funeral of her grandfather.

Character and compassion. Two very important qualities that I had foolishly glossed over in my 'mission' to refocus Riley's attention. While getting a job is important, in light of eternity, cultivating a heart of compassion is more important. After all, what is the greatest commandment? "And Jesus answered him, The first of the commandments is, Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God is one Lord: And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy strength: this is the first commandment. And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these" (Mark 12:29-31, KJV).

Do you struggle with a critical spirit? Take a step back from the situation and choose Christ's perspective, "But when he saw the multitudes, he was moved with compassion on them, because they fainted, and were scattered abroad, as sheep having no shepherd" (Matthew 9:36). It's up to you. You can become bitter with criticism, or better with compassion.

Prayer: Loving Heavenly Father, Please forgive me for having a critical spirit. Help me to have the proper perspective of my circumstances. Allow me to cultivate a spirit of compassion to love You and others as I ought. In Jesus' name, Amen.


  1. You must have written this post for me. I hate it when others are critical and I hate it in MYSELF the most!
    Hugs, andrea

  2. This is a very transparent post and even if you don't realize it, you are already on the road to cultivating a spirit of compassion. If you would read this post again you would see the compassion in your heart - as well as admiration - for your daughter Riley. She is one talented and beautiful young lady. May God continue to bless her and the work of her hands.


  3. Oh dear! This was very convicting, but what I needed to hear! Thank you for your gentle prodding! Always a blessing!

  4. You're not alone sister! :) Thank you for prompting the Spirit within me to address this issue head on in my life!
    With joy,

  5. Andrea - Good to know I'm not the only one who struggles in this area. Must be part of our sinful, human nature!! Thank the Lord that He shows us a better way! The choice is ours!! Blessings to you!

    Vickie - Your kind words are like a balm!! Very soothing! I do desire to cultivate compassion! I appreciate your prayer for Riley as well! God bless you abundantly today!

    Marian - I'm always thankful that the Lord can use what He's put on my heart to help/encourage/convict others. I know His word doesn't return void - it accomplishes the purpose that He sends it to! God bless you!

    Cherie - You're a dear! I know the God who started His work in you, will be faithful to complete it! May His blessings be yours today!

  6. God recently revealed to me that I was being extra critical of my husband and had stored up some resentment. Communication is so key in a marriage and even helped for me to work through it with God...being honest about all of it.

    ~ Wendy

  7. Wendy - Thanks for your honesty and for sharing your heart! Communication is huge! I'm so thankful that we can go to God and find "grace to help in time of need." I know God is honored when we seek to restore relationships! God bless you abundantly!

  8. It is easy for me to be like the older brother in the Prodigal Son. My husband and I have been reminding each other to be on the hunt for a little bit of Jesus in each believer. It has stopped us from going down a road, we really shouldn't be on. Thanks for your honesty.

  9. You are such a good mom!! I have been there and go there quite often. I think it is a process.

  10. This was a good read! thanks for sharing and for being so honest!

  11. Guilty as charged, Maria! Isn't it a quality of being a mother? :)

    I do try to step back and stop micro-managing. God has a plan. He'll lead our kids exactly where they need to go--whether we browbeat them or not!

  12. Yes, I can relate in many ways. I confess to be a work in progress in this and many other areas. Thankful for God's patience:)

  13. What a wonderful post!! You really spoke to me!

  14. Glenda - Good strategy! It's so important to keep our focus on Him and not on those around us. Although sometimes it's necessary to share the truth in love (especially parents to children), it's also wise to allow God to work in their hearts and not force the issue! Have a beautiful week!

    Terri - Thanks for the reminder that it is a process!! I need to remember that the next time I wander in that direction! Have a blessed week!

    KC - Thanks for stopping by! I'm always greatful that God can use the truths He's shown me, in the lives of others! Blessings!

    Jill - If I worked outside of the home, I think I'd specialize in micro-management!! Seriously though, I'm so greatful that God's in control. I'm responsible for guiding and sharing truth - He takes the good work He's begun and is faithful to complete it!! God bless you bunches!

    Karen - It's actually quite a relief to know we're works in progress! No pressure to be perfect! I'm thankful for God's patience, too!
    God bless you!

  15. Denise - Welcome!! I'm always thrilled to have new readers. Thank you for your words of encouragement and I invite you to become a 'Friend'. I look forward to getting to know you and stopping by your blog! God bless!

  16. This is a very beautiful and true post. Thank you for being real and bold in your blogging.

    God's blessings to you.