TODAY’S SIGNATURE VERSE ••• For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ. (Galatians 1:10 ESV)
PRAISE & PRAYER PROMPT ••• This May will mark 12 years since my first article was published and it’s very seldom that I get feedback on my work. I think that’s normal. After all, I have an overflowing bookcase of books I love, but with only a handful of exceptions, the writers have no idea how much I love their words.
The most feedback I ever got an article was in 2014. A piece I wrote went viral and honestly, it overwhelmed me. It was called “Things I Want My Son to Know About Girls,” and within a week, it had been circulated/read by 900,000ish people. I had a lot of positive feedback on it, but the people who didn’t like it… oh my.
There were some horribly judgmental and mean comments from people who don’t know me. They made all kinds of assumptions about me and my parenting skills. I wasn’t super close to God then, but after two weeks of this, I remember praying, “Please Lord, make it stop.” And it was literally like someone turned off the water. He had mercy on me and the rush of numbers went from a gushing faucet to a trickle. I was relieved and even further relieved a few years later when the magazines’ websites were updated. The article is still up but all the comments were removed in the transition to the new platform.
I can’t tell you an exact ratio, but I would guess that for every negative comment I had on that article, I had nine positives. Despite the support and encouragement I had from many (most of them strangers), those critics really rattled me.
Why do we do that? Why do we let others get under our skin so much? Well, not all of us. Some people wear criticism much better than others. But had God not answered my plea for things to stop, I would have probably stopped writing. Or changed my name. I occasionally write under a pseudonym… I could have easily made that a permanent change on my byline. Or maybe I did, wink-wink… Am I really Denise Heidel?? (Haha, Yes, I am… but I also have a pen name in case I need to go incognito.)
Let’s flash forward two years after my viral article. I was getting very serious about my faith life. And I was again worried about critics. Should I share a Bible verse on Facebook? Should I talk about prayer? Will I offend someone if I talk about God? What if I write about God and I get criticized for my beliefs?
You know, the day I realized I don’t care was so liberating for me. I was scrolling though Facebook when I realized how many of my Facebook friends were screaming their political opinions, and they didn’t care whether or not I was offended! So I figured if my faith offends them, okay. They can unfollow me or defriend me. Being offended politically is temporary. Faith in Jesus is eternal. So I decided not to worry about critics and what anyone thought of me. I love Jesus and I’m not ashamed to say it.
Galatians 1:10 ESV says, “For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ.” This is my attitude about it all.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m human and so criticism hurts. But I know where I stand with God. My relationship with Him outweighs anyone else’s or what anyone else thinks of me. I’m not out to please people. It’s about pleasing God and letting His soft whisper ring louder in my heart than the clanging rattle of critics who shout in my ears.
Today, as you pray, thank God for being the sovereign Lord He is. Thank Him that at the end of the day, His opinion is the only one that matters. Ask the Holy Spirit to help you focus on pleasing Him more than pleasing others. And ask Him to help you pursue whatever He calls you to do, no matter how loud your critics get. Remember, at the end of this, we all have an audience of One to answer to.
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