Thursday, May 20, 2010

Useful words.

A few weeks ago, I got an e-mail from a friend. I love this friend and she's an amazing woman of God. She was at the point where she was trying to push herself a little further in her ministry and asked me for some honest insight on a few areas of her work.

After prayerful consideration, I decided to be honest...brutally honest. But I felt like I was doing her no good to fluff things up and not speak the truth into her life.

This friend is the same age as me (29) and...something within my generation doesn't take constructive criticism very well. I'm not sure why. Surely I am not the first one to discover this and someone has an article on this somewhere. So, if you know why, please tell me! But if I am the first to discover this you can send my royalties to....[kidding...]

Anyways, my response didn't go over well. And y'all...I will be honest, I used my words carefully, I made sure I gave her some positive feedback. But it did.not.go.well.

I think that instead of feedback, she was looking for encouragement. Which everyone needs but maybe use the word encouragement...rather than feedback?


So yesterday, it was my turn. In my inbox popped an e-mail filled with truthful words about somewhere I had asked for feedback.

As I read through the e-mail, I stopped. And I prayed that God would allow my heart to receive the feedback in a way that would change my heart -in a good way. Because y'all...I do realize I am not the greatest thing since sliced bread. [smile] But...sometimes it's a big pill to swallow to admit that you need improvement...and a lot of it.

And as I read those words, they became like gold to me. They were no longer criticism filled words, as most eyes would tend to see, but words to help me improve my purpose -in Him.

It truly helped me understand this verse, "An honest answer is like a warm hug." -Proverbs 24:26 (The Message)

Friends, we should really take other's honesty to heart. Our prides don't need anymore boosting. I think as a society we are good on that. And I don't mean for us to be a doormat and just let everyone walk around and stomp us out.

But we should always take into consideration what other's may have to offer us through useful words. And maybe we should be willing to step on some toes every now and then to offer the same truth to people in our lives.

After all, if you don't say it...who will?

I want to speak the truth -in love of course. I want to be like a warm hug to those around me. And I want the other's to do the same for me.


Because it's good to have our eyes opened to see the truth. But our hearts must be willing to receive it. If not...then it will only cause roots of bitterness and strife to form.

The only atta girl response I really need is from my Lord Jesus Christ on the day I enter into His gates. I long to hear, "Well good and faithful servant.", just like many of you. I don't want to hear, "Well, I wish you would've listened."

So I'm curious. Have you ever received a word of truth from someone that was hard? What did you do with it and how did it change you good or bad?


heidi said...

There is a big difference as to how I would have handled it in my 20's vs now...I'm 40. In my 20's I took those honest moments as a slap to my inner core but I also didn't know Jesus like I know Him today. I am more humble today. About 2 months or so ago, I said something to a woman I was mentoring to and I got reprimanded from higher up that I didn't say what I was supposed to have said (kind of like I was expected to have read higher ups minds in advance and then act accordingly---not trying to be sarcastic but literally this was suggested.). At first I was angry because I followed protocol and did everything by the books exactly how I was supposed to have done and in a loving way. However the Lord placed it in my heart after a few days that I needed to take that humble road, accept the reprimand, apologize to the woman I was mentoring, and just move on with a happy face and be SINCERE about it. To sit there and stew over it was going to do me no good. Ultimately whether I was wrong or right stopped mattering. What mattered was being right with the Lord. I had upper authority later come to me and apologize but ultimately it was a learning experience that helped me learn what being humble was truly about. It had everything to do with being right in the Lord's eye. I think some of this comes with grace that the Lord teaches us over the years, well that's how its been for me. :)

On Purpose said...

Great post! I am all about truthful REAL friends...I need them to love me the same way Jesus does. TO push me to live all out for Him. And I also want to be that kinda of friend to others!

Thou Art Jules said...

Oh, that's a tough one! I've been on both ends and surely haven't mastered either of them.

I think it depends on several things.

Did you really want to know/or did they?

Where is your heart?

Who it was coming from

and of course how invested you are in the subject. If it's a project that I've put my heart and soul into and convinced myself that it's super, I'll take it hard.

Running the race said...

Nicki, I don't think this is a generational thing I think it is because people in general are fearful of an opinion from another person that doesn't see us in the same light that we see ourselves. I run across this at work and it is across the board. I just learned this at a recent workshop.

Constructive criticim is an oxymoron. I like the term "Constructive Feedback" which works much better. The other thing to remember is we do no favor to folks if we continue to let them do something that down grades them. It takes alot of courage to have a Crucial Conversation. By the way, there is a great book called Crucial Conversations which is simple to read to help frame these types of conversations.

kim said...

What a great post and hope it is okay with you, but I would love to share it with some friends of mine.
To me it is a rare treat to find someone who loves you enough to be honest and truthfully, even if it "stings". This has taken me many years to learn and accept. You see, at one time, I was an affirmation seeker, but through my life journey, I have learned that truth spoken in love is a great gift.
Thanks for sharing such an inspirtational and thought provoking blog entry.

Cindy said...

Nicki, I don't think there is a person alive who hasn't struggled with the same thing (if they are honest). It doesn't matter the age, we all get a little 'bent' when someone looks us in the eyes and tells us the truth we don't want to hear.
I appreciate your honesty and yes, we need to take things other's say and lay those words before our Jesus and ask HIM to show us the truth of the words and what HE is showing us. And sometimes I don't even do that well:) Great Post

Karen Hammons said...

I am now at a point in my life where I want and need the truth. How else can I grow in my walk if I can't handle truth in love from godly women He has placed in my life? Notice I said godly women - you have to have one or two of those to get that kind of truth from. Great post!! :)

Delaina said...

The truth spoken in love is very important, especially among believers. The Lord calls us to hold one another accountable I completely understand where you are coming from, I am a very outspoken woman and that has both been beneficial and detrimental in my life and relationships. In my early 20's I was much more outspoken but it often came off as being prideful and judgmental, I never meant it that way but deep down I think I was being a bit judgmental. The Lord taught me a lot of humility. He taught me that before I speak truth in love I need to take a step back and look at myself. I now realize sometimes some things are better left for the Lord to point out.