October 2 – Constructive Criticism

Reprove not a scorner, lest he hate thee: rebuke a wise man, and he will love thee. Proverbs 9:8

I was a bit of a feisty girl growing up. (Not that I’m not now! <wink>) My husband tends to blame it on all of my small-town girls basketball training (thanks, Coach), but it’s probably a bit more than that.  Yes, I know it’s the original cop-out, but Adam and Eve messed it all up for everybody, right?!

I remember clearly a conversation my daddy had with me one evening.  He always liked to talk to us in his living room chair when an “issue” came up.  I sat on the living room steps right by him, expecting that I was in for a long talk. Now I can’t remember what the entire discussion was about, but the crux of the matter stayed with me.  There was a flaw in my character that was creating a problem for me, and dad wanted to get it nailed down.  Though I recall distinctly that he continued to focus on this ONE area, all I could hear was “Jennifer, you’ve got LOTS of BIG problems! You can’t do anything right.” Looking back, I see how calm and insightful he was, and how utterly patient with my consistent rebuttals of “why this,” and “why that.”

Let’s face it.  (It’s taken me awhile.)  I was horrible at receiving constructive criticism.  I think my dad probably held his breath watching me grow up those last few teenage years, because he obviously saw it.  And to this day (don’t ask Lorenzo) I struggle with responding to even a syrupy-sweet corrective comment as a “wise man.” And frankly, I’ve only gotten somewhat better because I now have young adult children who stink at the same thing occasionally. (And they always feel free to call me on it, of course!)

So, reading this Proverb, I am challenged. I want to hear direction and correction from friends, family, or God, and be able to say, simply, “okay.” “Okay, I hear you.” “Okay, I see that.” And “okay, wow, so glad you love me so much!”

We are the “wise one” to heed and receive instruction, because it only makes us better and stronger!

Since I might be the only one needing this pep talk, put me on your prayer list.  “Feisty” meeting “Okay” is no small feat!

Jennifer 🙂

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