handling criticism

“I’m not sure if you didn’t have time to prepare for this camp or what…”

Those were the words of a volunteer camp counselor at a camp I was speaking at a while ago. She had come up with her church as a volunteer leader, and well, she didn’t like me. She had a list of criticisms for me to hear on day 3 or 4 of camp.

I thought it had been an amazing week. I felt like God was rocking some worlds.

She was right though… sort of. I was actually the replacement for a guy who had to cancel the day before this camp started. I hadn’t prepared. I’d been a pastor for years, and I had taught hundreds of times. I was (cue the music)… the CAMP SPEAKER!

But she wasn’t impressed.

I’ve been taking criticism my whole life.

In high school my only rebuttal was a fist. In college I was right and all the critics were wrong. Or so I thought. Working in hotels I was the boss and the critics weren’t.

And now, 8 years into church work, I’ve definitely handled a good amount of the c-word. But these days I embrace it. Here’s the difference: I’m confident in who I am now, and in what God is doing in my life.

Now I can usually discern the useful information from the fodder. I can usually see what is true and what is false with the criticism. Now I use the criticism as an opportunity to grow. Now… I can let go of it, and not allow it to cling to me for years. Now I am confident enough to be wrong, or at least have people in the world who think I am.

How do you handle criticism? How has your response changed over the years? How has it shaped you?

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