a harsh critic

I’m a harsh critic.

I’m working really hard on being gracious but I’m still difficult. I have super high expectations of spaces and people and they are often so unreasonable it’s no wonder I get frustrated.

I’m exceptionally hard on myself.

So often I should and do know better. So often I continue to make bad choices even after identifying it’s a bad choice.

Take yesterday as a simple but telling example. I want to be fit and healthy. I want to look good and feel like I look good. So I try to watch what I eat. But then I do something dumb. I was watching a basketball game yesterday and finished an entire bag of chips in one sitting. As I’m eating them I said to myself “ok, you shouldn’t really eat chips so don’t eat too many” and then “ok you’ve had a bunch” and then “ok just don’t eat the entire bag.”

And then I beat myself up about it.

But for those of us who are trying to be more like Jesus and live a life marked by love and grace and compassion it’s often not about eating a bag of chips is it?

We’re short with a co-worker.

We’re greedy about what we have and aren’t generous with our money.

We see a friend in need but are too busy to help.

We’re afraid of what people will think and we stay closed and don’t open up.

We’re hurt and want justice or pay back as opposed to showing grace.

I’m lucky enough to have two mothers in law. They are fabulous ladies. Jan sent me a Facebook message a few weeks near the anniversary of my father’s death. She told me to be gentle with myself because grief is hard and tiring.

Its good advice for a critic like me and it goes way beyond my grief. I need to be gentle with myself when I’m not yet the person I’m becoming. I need to be gentle with others when they aren’t the people they wish they were or I want them to be.

I need to be gentle because this world is often far too harsh.

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