Critical - Expressing adverse or disapproving comments or judgments. I know the meaning of the word critical all too well. Always being the shortest person was my life story. I even received a nickname throughout my younger academic years, Simon Birch. You see, Simon Birch was a movie that hit theaters when I was in fourth grade. It was about an individual who had a birth defect of inadequate growth; he was literarily 2 foot tall. Being the shortest of my class was not that bad during this time though, so I embraced the identity. Even in middle school I was the shortest individual.
Still yet, I clung to athletic activities so that I could prove my worth to others. I was actually decent at sports. I was a part of the starting roster in every activity. However, in high school things changed. No longer was I physically able to start in athletic activities. This affected my view of my self and I began to become very critical towards my image.
As if it was not enough for me to be critical on my image, I also had upperclassmen bullying me. The constant threats of being shoved into lockers or into trash cans haunted me every time I walked into the doors of the school. I, however, was clever. Instead of constantly being made fun of by my peers, I began making fun of myself. In return, my peers began to laugh at me and eventually became my friend. I became quite popular. While these remarks seemed to be a joke to my peers, there were so much truth to each of the remarks. The critical remarks left scars, that still to this day, are not completely healed.
Being critical about your physical image literally tears you apart. In the end, you are left with the feelings of brokenness and being unwanted! Whenever we become critical of our appearance we also start to destroy ourselves. A great illustration for this is talked about in the Song of Solomon 2:15.
“Catch for us the foxes, the little foxes that ruin the vineyards, our vineyards that are in bloom.” I like to think of every critical thought towards ourselves as a little fox. Our image is the vineyard that is in full bloom, beautiful. Yet with every negative thought towards ourself we begin to destroy the vineyard that is our image. The fox is cunning. Sometimes we do not even realize we are tearing down our image. We must be mindful of our thoughts throughout the day. Are they building us up or tearing us down?
I believe that most of everyone is critical about their appearance. We have a mentality that if we could just change this one thing about us, then we would be beautiful. It is almost like an artist. Have you ever met an artist? When my artist friends show me some of their pieces that they have worked so exhaustively on, I often reply that the piece of art displayed to me is absolutely incredible. Despite my opinion, the artist usually says it is ok and maybe even reply, “I could have done this part of the piece better.” Artists are their own biggest critic. In the same respect, we are our own biggest critic.
We see ourselves as a painting. We labor on the piece of art, that which is us, thoroughly. Then we look at the painting and critique it, saying, “If only I could change this about me, then it would be better.” There is a huge problem with the mindset that we are painting the image we want for ourselves.
You see, we are not even the true artist. The true artist is the One who was knitting you together while you were in your mother's womb. The true artist is the One of which you were fearfully and wonderfully made. The true artist is the One who designed you to be a masterpiece, completely unique, an original design. The true artist is God.
The psalmist would agree. He says in Psalm 139:14, “I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.” Hold on, time out. What does, ‘fearfully made’ mean? It simply means that God, the artist, used caution in making us. He used precision in forming us to His image. He did not use precision in creating us just so we could carelessly degrade us. That is not our purpose, the paint brush is not in our hand. The psalmist also says, “...all of God’s works are wonderful I know that full well.” Do we know that full well?
Please understand when we are critical about our appearance we are essentially saying that all of God’s works are not wonderful. If we say, “If I can just change this about me,” we are basically saying, “All of God’s works are wonderful, except for this.” Do we not understand that every single work from God is wonderful and not just most works? You are the work of the almighty God. You are wonderful.
So what can we take away from all this?
1. Every negative thought is like a fox that tears away at the garden, of which is our image. Be mindful of these thoughts, sometimes we do not even know we are doing it. I know for the longest time I would say negative things about my self. It was not until a close friend asked me why I did these things did I even realize that I was doing it. Be cautious of your thoughts throughout the day, especially when they regard yourself.
2. Build yourself up in the Lord. Instead of having negative thoughts towards yourself, find out your strengths and dwell on them. We do not do these things so that we can become prideful, but so that we can ultimately reach God’s creation with the love that he has shown us.
3. We are not the painter of our lives, God is. Allow him to have the paint, leave the critiquing of your appearance to Him. You are made in the image of a beautiful God, you are beautiful. By allowing him to have the paint brush, we also allow him to continue to work on his masterpiece. Allow God to form His painting to the image of his son, Jesus Christ. This is the overall goal when we hand the paint brush to God.
How can we be more like Jesus? How can we continue developing our relationship with Him? Allow some time for just you and Christ. I recommend spending time talking to Christ, but more than just you doing the talking, also listen to His voice.
4. All of God’s works are wonderful, not just most of them. You are the work of the almighty God. His works are wonderful, you are wonderful. I firmly believe that we do not serve a mediocre God. His works are not mediocre, You are wonderful.
Bradley is our newest His Side blogger. Welcome him to Insecurely! If you'd like to write for Insecurely Movement, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.