Let’s be CELEBRATORS instead of critics. Critics are everywhere, aren’t they? The world has plenty.
Well, “the world” may sound a little too distant - a little too far off to apply to us. Let’s bring it in a bit: the people in our immediate sphere of influence have plenty of critics. Meaning, ALL the people we can reach - through social media, at the desk next to ours or across the hall, your spouse and children, people you know in your real life or people you just rub shoulders with. Those are the ones who have plenty of critics. Are you following me?
Abigail, our 8-year-old, was shocked by a conversation David and I recently had about some unkind Facebook comments directed toward us and some friends we deeply love. She put down her crayons and wiggled her way between us on the couch, right in the middle of morning coffee. “Mom!!! I thought adults knew how to be nice!?!” The purity of her response was priceless, and the conversation lead to some great reminders for her and for me.
One of my favorite places to stargaze is Round Top, Texas. Its position far from city lights cause the stars to explode across the velvety black sky. Instead of tiny faint glows, the stars shine like big bold lights. I can see thousands and thousands more than I can at home, and in the country darkness, it’s easy to understand the stars aren’t just beautiful, they are important - they have been guiding people home for generations.
We are supposed to be like those stars. God holds us up and positions us to shine in our world - a world full of darkness, brokenness, criticism, and sin. Jesus charges us to take His light and shine it brightly - to become BOLD BEACONS OF LIGHT pointing people to God and guiding them home.
Our souls echo, “YES! I want to shine brightly!” But, how?
It’s the how that gets me every time.
Paul lays it out in Philippians 2:15. It couldn’t be more clear (and convicting).
Do everything without complaining or arguing, so that you may be blameless and pure, children of God who are faultless in a crooked and perverted generation, among whom you shine like stars in the world.
In other words, complaining and arguing is so accepted and so common place, when we choose not too, the world can’t help but notice there’s something significantly different. If we want to shine, complaining and arguing have to go.
I recently watched some yucky gossip and criticism unfold. It started like gossip often does: with mild irritation, watered by time and conversation, eventually growing into a toxic cancer. The collateral damage was catastrophic.
I kept thinking, “How did this happen? Didn’t they have something better to talk about? Couldn’t they have believed the best instead of the worst? Shouldn’t they have just addressed the concern early on and avoided all of this?”
But, the Holy Spirit was quick to point those questions inward toward my own heart.
“Meredith, what about your words? What are you talking about? What are you believing? What issues are festering in your mind that haven’t been addressed or let go of?”
I wish I could say my knee-jerk reaction was confession and repentance. It wasn’t. Defensiveness climbed up and took a seat. Maybe you can relate. “Well, I was annoyed/offended/disappointed/hurt! I’m allowed to voice my opinion, aren’t I?”
Yes. We are allowed, and the majority of us fully utilize our freedom; and when we do, we fit right in. But, that’s the whole point. We aren’t supposed to fit in. At least, not in this way.
I eventually made it to confession and repentance, but it took longer than I’d like.
I’ve been the Critic and I’ve been the criticized. On the flip side, I’ve been the Celebrator and I’ve been celebrated. I far prefer the latter, don’t you?
Our words (and thoughts) in unscripted moments tell the true story of our hearts. We don’t just need a change in conversation, we need a change in our hearts.
A genuine concern for Christ breeds genuine concern for people, and when our hearts are fixed on Christ and are intent on loving people, it will be reflected in our words and in our lives.
Then we will shine brightly.
Then we will see abundant opportunities to celebrate and high-five.
Then we will boldly and joyfully declare: “We are Celebrators!”
I want to hear from you! Join the conversation by commenting below! What - or who - are you choosing to celebrate today?
ps. I’m serious about declaring “We are Celebrators!” Join me in using #wearecelebrators as you post celebrations and moments of gratitude on social media! Let’s drown out the complaining with celebrating!