The Worst Critic

My heart was full of shame as I walked to my desk…I had made a mistake and it was eating away at me.  I had always been my harshest critic and this day was no different.  As silly as it was I fought back the idea that I might be fired.  Even though my mistake was common and minimal I had grown accustomed to years of walking on egg shells in the ministry.  Those old feelings were haunting me as I sat down to continue my workday.

My computer screen lit up as I clicked on my email icon.  What I saw lifted my spirits and left me speechless…there were several emails from my boss’ waiting for my attention.  One said “Great Idea”  the other said “Atta Girl”  there were more, all responses from emails I had sent out before the weekend.  Despite the fact that my work week started off with a sense of defeat, the tide quickly turned.  What was a glaring mistake in my eyes, was merely life in a fast paced office to them.  They weren’t focused on my shortcomings…they weren’t focused on anyone’s shortcomings for that matter.  And they weren’t afraid to offer thanks and compliments when appropriate.   We were a team, working together for success and each and every day in their office ebbed away at my old way of thinking.  There were hard days and times when I sat in my office and cried, but it was what I needed to experience in order to grow.  I needed to see the way people without the title pastor in front of their name resolved conflict.  And of all things, I needed to see that I was valued for who I was and not for the hours I worked or how quickly I typed a letter.

Day in and day out my heart was healing and the way in which God was allowing me to see truth was gentle and kind…but He was making things very clear.  What I had known and lived under for years was wrong and the reality of the truth was slowly setting me free.

3 thoughts on “The Worst Critic

  1. I know exactly how you felt. In my early twenties, I was asked to be a ministry team leader and deacon at my church. I was young and zealous, and no one could tell me that I wasn’t ready for this. After all, doesn’t scripture say not to let people despise you because of your youth. Well, the result was that I made a TON of mistakes. In fact, when my pastor called me, I was tempted to answer the phone saying, “What did I do now?” For years, it seemed like I couldn’t do anything right.

    Unfortunately, my pastor didn’t always handle the situation well, and after time I had developed a really distorted view of God. I knew I was called to the ministry by the time I was 21, but I had become so sure that I would always fail that I was paralyzed by fear. While I was in seminary, I had a really good friend that showed me that God didn’t see me the way I had come to see myself. I had to learn that he had not given up on me because of my mistakes, and he loved me despite my short comings.

    There were two scriptures that really ministered to me during this time.

    Psalm 30:5 – For his anger lasts only a moment, but his favor lasts a lifetime.

    Psalm 103:8-12 The LORD is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love. He will not always accuse, nor will he harbor his anger forever; he does not treat us as our sins deserve or repay us according to our iniquities. For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his love for those who fear him; as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us.

    I had been a Christian for 10 years before I came upon Psalm 103. It has since become my favorite scripture. And I had such a powerful experience when I finally realized that God didn’t view me the way people did. God was not always accusing me. He was not always angry with me. And when I made a mistake, He forgave me.

    A very close friend of me told me that what I needed was to make a big mistake so that I could see that both God and my church leaders would forgive and love no matter what. I’m happy to say that this happened on several occassions, and it helped me not to be so afraid of making mistakes.

    As always, thank you for sharing.

  2. PTL for you guys stepping out of “the umbrella of _____”…Jana, you seem to be a very strong woman , your story is incredible, Your experiences , as others, unfathonable in the minds of most, but very true. I praise God for every person that escapes his clutches and control. YOu and Barry are indeed a product of Gods faithfulness , love, kindness, etc… Ya know one really just has to know the fruits of the spirit, be able to identify them, to KNOW beyond a shadow of a doubt that they do not exist at ____…

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