Onward and Upward or (Keep Going!)

I don’t know about you, but I’ve had to deal with criticism and judgement my entire life.  Sometimes it is hard to handle.  Especially when it is your family or a close friend who is doing the judging and criticizing.  But I read something that Jesus said in Luke chapter 7, and it really inspired me and encouraged me:

“For John the Baptist has come eating no bread and drinking no wine, and you say, ‘He has a demon.’  The Son of Man has come eating and drinking, and you say, ‘Look at him! A glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners!’  Yet wisdom is justified by all her children.” Luke 7:33-35

Jesus, the only perfect person to ever walk on this earth, was judged and criticized.  Jesus.  I’m going to let you have a moment to let that sink in.  People criticized what Jesus did.  Amazing.

John the Baptist ate locust and honey, and the religious people of the day thought he was demon possessed.  Jesus, the Son of God, drank wine and even performed a miracle turning water into wine, and the religious people said he was an alcoholic.  How did Jesus handle this crazy slander against him?  He said, “Wisdom is justified by all her children.”  Or another way to put it is, “We are doing what is wise.”  John the Baptist lived a different life and had a different ministry than Jesus.  He preached the coming of the Messiah.  Jesus is the Messiah.  Jesus didn’t live in the wilderness like John.  He walked among the people and hung out with them in their homes to show His eternal love for them.

What does that have to do with me?

God gave you talents and abilities and a calling that is COMPLETELY DIFFERENT from ANYONE else’s.  If someone is complaining about how you use your life for God’s glory, they are foolish.  They are wrong.  However, you cannot let it keep you from doing what you are doing!  I used to let what people said and thought about my life affect me.  That was wrong.  What did Jesus do after He confronted the smack talk about Him?  He went to someone’s house to eat dinner with him.  Jesus kept going.  He fulfilled God the Father’s will for His life.  He told people who He was and gave His life for us on the cross.  He didn’t question if what he was doing was right, since all these people are saying bad things about Him.  He didn’t change to please people.  He kept going.

When people criticize you, and they will (Believe me.  If people can find fault with our perfect Savior, they are going to find fault in you), keep going.  Don’t stop doing what God has for you to do.

Thirsty Thursday: Encouragement

One summer day, I was minding my own eleven year old business taking laundry down from the line.  My Uncle Arlin pulled up with my cousin Adrienne.  He shouted up to me, “I’m proud of you.”  What?  He said, “I’m proud of you for being responsible and doing the laundry.”  Seriously?  In my family, one did not receive praise for doing what is expected.  Extraordinary feats of any kind deserve praise and adulation.  Ordinary duties get no attention of any kind, unless they aren’t done.  Then you get negative attention.

Today has been the crown jewel in an awful week.  I’m sick (and I’m pretty sure I covered how I feel about that here).  The weather where I live has been completely schizophrenic, which takes a toll on a person.  It’s been gray and rainy the entire week, but alternating cold and hot.  How weird is that?

Hunny needed me to go to the Post Office and mail something.  Since the Post Office is around the corner, I walk.  I’m carrying a medium sized box and Cupcake across the road.  Cupcake is wearing her rain boots.  As I make it across the street, a car honks at me twice.  I look back with the sick feeling that Cupcake’s boot is in the road.  It is.  I run back to the spot in the road trying to pick up the boot, not drop Cupcake or the box, and avoid getting run over. Thankfully, we made it inside safe and sound.  I try to ignore the post lady’s bad attitude.  I know deep down it isn’t directed toward me, and I know I’m sick, so I am more sensitive than usual (Even things on facebook got to me today.  Facebook is the devil.  I think I am going to permanently switch to Google Plus).

We leave the Post Office and I’m winded.  I am beyond exhausted.  I am also determined not to let one of Cupcake’s boots fall in the road, so I carry her in such a manner that I have my hands on them.  The light changes and I’m waiting for cars to turn so that I can cross.  Right in the middle of the road, I notice the light changing, “Oh, crap!”  I start running and I hear a sweet little voice say, “Oh cap.”  Then she starts singing it.  I try to hold back the tears thinking about teaching Cupcake to say crap.  I am definitely getting my Mary Poppins license revoked.

I’m tired.  I feel terrible.  Cupcake wants to walk a different way to look at a tree, so I let her.  We walk around the corner to see this:

This picture does not do the Monarch butterfly I saw today justice (Where’s my camera when I need it?).  It was stunning.   It was huge and so bright.  The way the orange wings looked against the pale lavender petals of the flower it was enjoying was breath taking.  I knew that was God encouraging me.  It’s ok.  You are doing a great job.  I’m proud of you.  Look at this butterfly I brought to you.  Enjoy it!

Everyone we know needs encouragement sometimes.  We are told to encourage each other:

Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing.  1 Thessalonians 5:11

If you need encouragement, I want you to know that you are awesome.  God loves you and He is very proud of all that you are doing.