Let Criticism Motivate You

In the final days of Lent I am struggling - emotionally and spiritually. As much as I feel God's presence all around me, I am stumbling. I want to be a peaceful person but yet the frustrations of life are leaving me stressed to the point of breaking. My challenge - to remain calm and focused when I am being criticized and blamed, when I am being asked to behave in ways that the person is not even demonstrating. I truly do believe in leading by example and not asking someone to do something if you are not willing to hold yourself to the same standards. I also believe we are all capable of making mistakes, myself included, and to suck it up, take responsibility for your own actions, and not blame someone for your own mistakes or misbehavior. To be forgiving. To be charitable. To be merciful.

But I do flop at times. I know I do not want to yell and shouldn't yell, but when pushed....especially with someone yelling at me, insulting me, criticizing me, blaming me....it is hard to not break and yell. I don't want to, yet I do. It is not someone else's fault I yelled. Yes, they may have stressed me to the point of breaking but ultimately, I am the one who yelled. It is my fault. Period.
Watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation; the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak. ~ Matthew 26:41
I am open to hearing the point of view of others but some things I won't budge on - my faith and my self-care. It is not selfish to stick to these two pillars of who I am. I need God and I need to take care of myself. My mental health needs it. God wants me to take care of myself. Running and cross training bring me peace. Sometimes that peace is robbed from me way to quickly but once again, I am working on that and it is a daily struggle. Don't judge me for my failures and I won't judge you.
You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye. ~ Matthew 7:5
But we all judge at times, don't we? Even if we don't mean to. We all have standards we expect others to live up to and it can be hard when those standards aren't being met. There are some rules of interacting with others that we feel all society should adhere to as we expect drivers on the road to adhere to driving standards, right?

It is even harder when we ourselves are being judged. It is hard to not get defensive especially when the perceptions are wrong or you are being wrongly judged, wrongly criticized. Yes, that happens. And when it does, you have a choice. I have a choice. Let it bring you down and bring out the worst in you (which I always despise it when that happens as I expect better from myself) or let it motivate you to stick to your guns and moral principles, your faith, your health, your peace of mind.

I say go for option two.

Choose to take that criticism and let it propel you forward. Tell me my bible reading and running is detracting from my ability to take care of you, myself, and others and I will become more determined than ever to read my bible daily and work out at 110% effort. It is not selfish, moms, to take care of yourself. It is not selfish, wives, to take care of yourself. You are worthy of love and the ability to give love starts with loving yourself, loving yourself enough to stand up for your right to take care of yourself - emotionally, spiritually, and physically. Loving yourself enough to have the courage to follow God's will.
Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, which you have from God? You are not your own; you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body. ~ 1 Corinthians 6:19-20
And to wrap this post up, I want to share one more quote and nope, this one is not a bible verse.
Once you realize that you are a human being with a body and soul, it should change how you use your body. What you do with your body, you do with your soul. ~ Jackie Francois 
Daily Gratitude: I am thankful for God's love, mercy and forgiveness especially when I feel like a grumbling Israelite crossing the desert in the times of Exodus. 

Daily Bible Verse (yup, one more): For no man ever hates his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, as Christ does the church. ~ Ephesians 5:29 

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