Spent the better part of last night dealing with some criticism leveled my way. You know all to well that is no fun, all of those insecurities deep inside come right to the top and you question your call and your love for students and the church.
Don’t let it happen … I did some battling last night and I know you will too from time to time, so here’s a few ways to deal with criticism – some right and some wrong:
Mobilize – get fired up about the problem and take action. You have to be careful with this one because often we respond to quickly or decisively and overreact to the situation. Coming up with a conscious plan is probably a better idea than making sweeping changes the next morning.
Criticize - discredit the person who said something negative. Make the objective truth cloudy by looking subjectively at the person delivering the message. Forget looking for anything of value, just chop that person down at the knees.
Internalize – we hear the criticism, and bury it deep within. It causes us to stare up at the ceiling at night when we should be resting peacefully. Mulling it over in your head is acceptable, mulling it over isn’t probably a bad idea. But when it moves from processing to dwelling, you’ve got a problem. Internalized criticism will amplify rapidly over a short period of time.
Fantasize - think about what ministry would be like at another church – that big one down the road that certainly doesn’t have critical spirits in every pew. No church is perfect – you would ruin it when you joined if you managed to find one, anyhow.
Recognize – unpack what was said and recognize what is truth. What really needs to be changed, what is of value in the discussion. Throw away the rest after you truly pray and discern what is wise for any changes you need to make. Perspective, maturity and wisdom need to be in play with this one. Don’t dismiss what needs to be dealt with.