Is Fear of Criticism Stopping You from Fulfilling Your Purpose?

To escape criticism—say nothing, do nothing, be nothing~ Elbert Hubbard

How good are you at handling criticism? I’m not talking about constructive comments that help you improve your skills or make wise decisions. I mean disapproving words or looks that make you want to melt like ice on a sweltering day and be absorbed into the ground.

Over the years, I’ve gotten better at discerning when I should accept, or even request, “evaluations” and when I should ignore them. But I’ll admit that I’ve struggled with being a people pleaser most of my life. I like making people happy. Can you relate? Those desires can accompany a tendency to jump through hoops, struggle with saying no, and doing things we don’t want to do or even should.

For those of us who want to avoid criticism, just the look of disbelief on someone’s face when we share what we hope to accomplish may make us cringe inside and doubt ourselves. We may avoid embracing a God-given purpose in our lives because of fear that if we blow it, we’ll look like idiots. No one wants to hear, “I told you it wouldn’t work.”

So, we need to ask ourselves... are we willing to please others at the risk of displeasing or disappointing God?

Obviously, I’m not trying to win the approval of people, but of God. If pleasing people were my goal, I would not be Christ’s servant. (Galatians 1:10 NLT)

Sometimes we want or need to protect ourselves from being hurt. However, if we don’t find the courage to ignore unwarranted criticism, we could be hurting others by not giving them the opportunity to experience what we have to offer. 

Throughout history—including biblical times—men and women have accomplished great things because they were willing to take risks and pursue what God called them to, even though they faced a great amount of criticism or ridicule. Look at Noah. When he starting building the ark, people thought he was crazy.

Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go. (Joshua 1:9 NIV)

Let’s be brave enough to shut out unhelpful criticism and not worry about what others think. Instead, let’s focus on what we know God has called us to do—and then with his help, do the best job we can.

Have there been situations when people’s comments about what you hope and plan to accomplish have offended you? How do you handle hurtful criticism?


Meme – Inspirational Quote on Doing What I Was Born to Do

I hope you enjoy this week’s meme. You’re welcome to share it with friends and on your social media sites: Facebook, Pinterest, Google+, Instagram, and Pinterest.

To save it to your computer, right click your mouse (if you’re using one) and “save as.”

Four Things We Can Learn from Joseph, the Dreamer

One of my favorite biblical accounts is Joseph’s story (Genesis, chapters 37-50). Like me—and perhaps like you—Joseph was a dreamer. So, his brothers taunted him, ridiculed him, and even wanted to kill him because of it.

“Here comes that dreamer!” they said to each other. “Come now, let’s kill him and throw him into one of these cisterns and say that a ferocious animal devoured him. Then we’ll see what comes of his dreams.” (Genesis 37:19-20 NIV)

But God had given Joseph the ability to dream. God had a plan and purpose for him.

Here’s a much condensed version of the story …

Instead of leaving him to die in the cistern, the brothers sold Joseph to merchants who took him to Egypt where they sold him to a high-ranking Egyptian named Potiphar.  Because of his excellent service, Joseph became the supervisor of Potiphar’s household.

However, Potiphar’s wife tried to seduce Joseph, and when her advances were rejected, she falsely accused him of attempted rape. Joseph, although innocent, was cast into prison. While there, he became known as an interpreter of dreams, and for his wisdom, Joseph was made a ruler in Egypt, second only to the king.

When famine struck, it also affected Joseph’s homeland, forcing his brothers to visit Egypt to buy grain. Joseph was willing to forgive his brothers and provide them the needed grain. 

What can we learn from Joseph’s life?

1. Don’t give up on your dream, even if things don’t start out well.
Joseph’s dreams didn’t initially make him an honored man. Instead, his dreams got him into a lot of trouble. But that didn’t stop him.

2. Don’t give up on your dream, though others don’t support it.
Joseph’s brothers actually wanted to kill him because they felt so threatened by his dreams and status with their father.

Your friends and family may not understand your dream. They may not show any interest. They may be blunt about their feelings and that can hurt. But if God has planted that dream deep in your heart, let it grow and bloom. Anything that comes from him is NOT a waste of time.

3. Don’t give up on your dream, though your journey is full of surprises.
Who would have thought that Joseph would have experienced all that he did? Even to the point of being put in prison?

4. Don’t give up on your dream, though it takes a lifetime to fulfill.
It took twenty-three years before Joseph’s dream was fulfilled. But in the end, he reconciled with his brothers and saved a nation.

Never give up on your dream!

When working toward making a dream reality, how do you handle discouraging situations or negative comments?


Meme – Inspirational Quote on First a Dream

I hope you enjoy this week’s meme. You’re welcome to share it with friends and on your social media sites: Facebook, Pinterest, Google+, Instagram, and Pinterest.

To save it to your computer, right click your mouse (if you’re using one) and “save as.”

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