criticism and community

filed under: Blogging on October 21, 2014

I was lolly gaging along on Pinterest and this popped up on my screen.

criticism kills community

see more from Ann Voskamp

Talk about convicting.


I am so guilty of jumping to criticism.  So guilty of letting a small hurt or an unintentional rejection lead me to a path of character destruction.

And when I say lead me, I fully mean that I lead myself, allow myself, to go to a place of criticism of others just to pacify my hurt feelings.

Most recently the discomfort stemmed from social events that I was not included in.

I can’t help but think:

I thought we were friends?  Is it my hair?  The car I drive?  My inability to keep silent for longer than 7 seconds?  My faith?

Do you know what I am doing? Rationalizing my perceived ‘rejection’.

It has to be “something wrong with me”.

judging others

When people are getting together they are not ‘rejecting’ me, they are simply living their lives in the best way they know how.  Quite frankly, it just has nothing to do with me.  (And honestly, if my exclusion is intentional, then isn’t it for the best that I am not there?)

I am just not comfortable judging others motives right now.  It’s far too easy to look at someone and think they they have it all, that they have everything I want in my life, that the grass is greener where they are.

I am only seeing their highlight reel.

Everyone has a story...

I think it’s safe to say that coffee dates and parties exist to strengthen the existing relationships these folks have, and if so, I am ALL about that!  We should be doing all we can to strengthen the bonds that already exist.

The idea of girlfriends (new and old) creating time to get together to discuss commonalities and support each other and to have fellowship is exactly the type of behavior we need more of.  That is what community is.

Here is where I have had enlightenment of late: While these things are the exact definition of exclusive, that is what they should be.

Where do I grow the most?  In a crowded room of 1000 acquaintances or in a small setting where individual voices are heard?  In the smaller group of course. (There is a time and place for large groups, it just depends on what you are seeking to learn.)

We all have friends and bonds that create a feel of exclusivity among others.  Just because a group of friends gets together does not mean it is at the expense of others, no matter how it feels.<— I need to remember that!

When I LOOK for ways to feel bad about others choices, I find them.

When I LOOK for ways to see contentment in others choices, well, I will find it.

Shine and Let Shine!

When I am thankful and grateful for the life I am living (not stuck in a place of jealously and envy) that is when I find myself understanding why people do what they do. Accepting. Understanding. Feeling content.

Feeling true contentment in my life has awakened a new love in me.  I am finding it easier (every single day as I am always trying to grow!) to accept people for who they are right where they are.

When I am focusing on loving the life I have, THAT is when opportunities find a way of presenting themselves. The RIGHT opportunities.  Some of these social get togethers are not right for me right now. God knows exactly where I need to be and where my focus needs to be.  (On HIS will, not my own!)

Grateful Joy

I choose to feel grateful that I have a family that needs me and allows me to grow with love.

I choose to feel joy for others when they get to experience relationships in a new and more cherished way.

I choose to be kind to others not because I want something in return, but because that is what enriches my soul.


Next time a situation comes up that I start to feel that twinge of jealousy or resentment over what others are doing I hope I am still in a place of acceptance.

Next time I irrationally jump to critical conclusions about others choices I hope one of my friends smacks me upside the head and reminds me to take note of my blessings.

But just in case I fall prey to the gossip and criticism that so quickly invade my brain, here is a great list of things that happy people do.

12 Important Things Happy People Do Differently

Tribute to Stephen Covey

Because I believe that living a good life is a choice and not a reflection of our circumstances, I know that I need to be intentional with my thoughts and actions.  This is my daily prayer… for me and you!

Gods Perfect Love

Please let me know how I can more specifically be in prayer for you.

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  • Becca Heflin says:

    Amanda, m’love… When I’m finished blowing my nose into a half of a box of tissues, I’ll come back and thank you fro writing this post. In the mean time, please know that God put you and this incredibly well written (and well timed!) post into my life and my heart this morning. It was much needed and OH SO appreciated. I love you!

    • Amanda says:

      I love and adore YOU sweet Becca. You are a delight and a gift and I am lucky to call you friend. I hope your day is full of sweet blessings!

  • Pam, in NC says:

    oh my, yes! For me, it appears that there can never be enough reminders to stay in my own ‘space’ – thank you for this one!! I know that how others feel about me is actually, and honestly!, none of my concern! But sometimes… sometimes I try so hard to make it be!! I try very hard on most days to practice those twelve things, but sometimes I just need another reminder. I am so grateful that your blog has become a place to get them! Thank you dearheart – you are such a blessing!

    • Amanda says:

      Thank you for your kind words sweet Pam. You have always spoken such truth into my life! I love your take on this and understanding your perspective better. Be blessed!

  • Elizabeth says:

    I woke up this morning with my jaw clenched and my heart heavy. I have no choice but to deal with a family member that I no longer speak to. I realized while reading your blog today, that I am pre-judging her reaction to the situation. I do believe that she will lay blame at my feet for something that I did not do, but WHY am I worrying about it? I know it will happen, so all I need to do is PRAY….pray that MY response is kind, my words are spoken in love. I do not want to judge. I need to forgive like God forgives me. I need to let her live her life with NO ill feelings due to the pain she have caused me. We are rarely everything to all our friends. I have friends that fit different aspects of my life. Those with children my children’s ages, those who share my faith, and those who I can share every detail of my life with. I am blessed with ENOUGH… I am blessed to have a God who whats a relationship with me….and when I START my day thanking HIM….I am reminded that it is enough…

    • Amanda says:

      It sounds like you have found acceptance and contentment with these realizations Elizabeth. I am thankful that God had a word for you and that you are able to move forward and continue to receive the blessings the He has in abundance for you!!

  • bonnie l hunt says:

    Where you in my office just a minute ago??? I so needed to read this at the moment I did – I needed to be yanked back into the right mind of thinking….it’s amazing how easily one can get pulled off track and into this nasty way of thinking. it’s a daily struggle to not allow myself to get sucked into this thought process….wonder if someday it’ll become a natural way of life??? one can only hope, right?
    Anyway, I look forward every day to your posts….thank you for being what and who you are Amanda!!!

    • Amanda says:

      You are so right Bonnie! And yes, I am so looking forward to the day when this is my FIRST reaction! Thank you for the kind words and I hope the rest of your day is blessed!

  • Courtney @ Neighborfood says:

    Amanda this was so good and so true. Thank you for taking the time to write it out, and to be vulnerable in this space. That Bonhoeffer quote…gosh. I need to frame that and hang it on my wall.

    • Amanda says:

      Agreed! Thanks for appreciating the vulnerability of this post… and thanks for being a great blogging friend! 🙂

  • Jackie says:

    Thank you. I have struggled for the past year with a friend/co-worker. The latest “slights” are probably because I was expecting to be hurt. I am still learning that it is very hard to be both a friend and a boss. I thought the friendship would win out, but as that one faded, new people have stepped in. It’s really crazy how God speaks to me through you and I still get the message right here, right on time.

    • Amanda says:

      So sorry for these struggles Jackie. I know that you are probably feeling sad at the loss of the friendship. I am betting that you do a really good job of being there for your employee’s! Blessings sweety!

  • Oderlane Oliveira says:

    Congratulation for this post! You are touching people everywhere! i’m in Brazil and I read your blog very often. We can see how much you are trying to be happy for you and your Family. And i’m sure they will! Love your blog and loving you for what you bring for me today! Thanks! God bless you!
    *sorry if i wrote something wrong, i try my best to comunicate with you! xoxo

  • Stephanie says:

    You shine on, girl! Excellent post – I wish there were more posts like this one out there. It is easy to forget about what really counts in this life. Blessings to you.

  • Barbara @ Barbara Bakes says:

    Such a great post. I often forget to slow down and just be grateful!

    • Amanda says:

      Thank you Barbara. 🙂

  • Christy says:

    I love you!!

    • Amanda says:

      Back at ya. 😉

  • Callye says:

    I love this so very much. Thank you. You have an amazing gift.

    • Amanda says:

      As you do you friend!

  • Arlene says:

    I happened across your blog today while looking for food recipes- fun cakes (rainbow cakes) for kids. What I really found was food for my soul. And exactly what I needed to see after a long, heavy week. Please know that you have been God’s servant again today. Many blessings to you and yours.

    • Amanda says:

      Blessings to you Arlene!

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