Why is it that I can receive 10 compliments and one criticism and walk away thinking about the critique? Not all criticism is to be ignored but some of it sure is. Several years ago, when I was first beginning a new role that required skills I hadn’t practiced much, I received a lot of criticism. My environment felt charged with discouragement and negativity. I heard from a lot of nay-sayers. Thankfully, God gave me some people who were an encouragement in the most biblical sense of that word. They literally put courage into me – a true gift from heaven. Without them, it would have been easy for me to measure myself against others who were more experienced and better equipped than I was. I’m sure you can relate. We all encounter people who promote fear, speak negatively, and get really loud in the face of our dreams. Jon Acuff says, “Haters get loud when you do something that matters.”
Here’s the thing: God is the antithesis of the haters. He regularly says “Yes” when others say “No.” And his voice is the one that matters most. If you sense a dream from God beginning to bloom, seek wisdom to discern between honest, loving caution from friends and misguided gloom from those whose fears and disappointments have jaded them. When it comes to bringing love to the world – you don’t need approval, or a green light from anyone. You already have God’s go-ahead.
Are you willing to put yourself out there and risk (reputation, misunderstanding, comfort) in order to love radically? If you sense an invitation to make a positive impact and bring love and light to our hurting world in some way, then go do it! Right now. Pick yourself – choose yourself. Don’t wait for someone else to give you permission. Pay attention to God’s “Yes!” Don’t let fear of failure or inadequacy hold you back. Our world needs you. Our communities and churches need you.
I need you.