Defined by Criticism but Reborn and Shaped by Christ
When you are criticized for what you say and do, how you look, what you wear, what you believe, and even how you choose to share what is honest and true from the heart, it hurts. Play that criticism like a song daily and it becomes your heart’s song. You almost do not recognize yourself when you look in the mirror because all of the negative words have deformed and disfigured who Christ designed you to be.
I never understood how internally deep, negative words have defined, shaped and birthed my life…until I met Christ. And as I continue to grow closer to Him in my daily walk, it becomes more apparent that I was definitely not living freely.
Imagine now that your vision and all of your senses are blurred, blinded by a veil of lies. This is how I lived most of my life. I used to pray to God constantly asking Him to show me who I really am because my vision was so tainted. But I did not wait on Him because He was taking too long.
Perfectionism became my very best friend. Being a perfectionist was my strength and my voice. I wanted someone to hear and accept me, without being criticized, especially when I made a mistake. I wanted someone to be pleased by me, and I wanted to know that I was enough, and that I mattered. I thought I could get all of that by being perfect. And when I did not get that, I found pleasure in counterfeit forms of intimacy. One of my biggest loves was food. That is one place I found comfort. So I thought, but I was truly miserable in that relationship.
I could say that I had a true relationship with God but did not find it necessary to spend time with Him, or be in His word daily. So how is that a true relationship? This is because I did not honestly believe that there was any true transforming power that could change me. I felt that I had to be perfect, and I definitely was not that, so how else would I be noticed enough by God to be healed. I thought God only recognized me for my mistakes, just like it had been in many of my closest relationships. But not even He could criticize me better than me.
I was unwilling to let go my relationship with criticism, and food, to name a few. If I did let go, then who would judge and criticize me, and where would I find comfort? I trusted the hurt and pain of criticism, isolation, and counterfeit intimacy because it gave me instant gratification, unlike God. So why would I let go of these quick and numbing pleasures, to wait through the process of healing, when I could just put a band-aid on it and keep it moving.
Today, I understand that the only way to truly be intimately known, loved deeply, and healed is by and with the one who created me. He knows every fiber of my being, and sheds light on the truth within.
It is quite amazing that all of this is only a short snippet of my story, and that I lived this way for so long. But it also shows me how audaciously powerful and mighty God truly is.
Many times we run from His light because we do not want to be seen naked, bearing the truth of the evident fruit in our lives. We do not want to be seen in the light because it represents vulnerability. And who wants to be vulnerable when they are trying to protect themselves constantly with food, and other comforts of the flesh that keep us isolated and, “hidden.”
For everything that is hidden will eventually be brought into the open, and every secret will be brought to light. Mark 4:22 (NLT)
Christ’s light is so important because it shows us who we truly are, through the criticism, mistakes, and lies. His light pierces through all of our imperfections, carving us into the beauty of His image and likeness, creating an amazing testimonial of who He truly is. There is truth and light in His word, because this is where His transforming power abides. And if we are not in God’s word daily, how can we expect our hearts to be cleansed, our minds to be renewed, and His light to shine upon our lives?
How can we be a witness for Him if we stay hidden?
For some, we are the only representation of Christ they get to see.
Then Jesus asked them, “Would anyone light a lamp and then put it under a basket or under a bed? Of course not! A lamp is placed on a stand where its light will shine…Mark 4:21 (NLT)
Written by Francine E. Ott