My mother had a saying when I was growing up that I now find myself repeating to my girls, “People talk if you DO and they talk if you DON’T“.
I remember my first experience with choral directing as a teenager. I had the opportunity to direct the choir at my church. My mother taught me basic music hand directions when I was very young, but my confidence in directing came with high school band. Even though I wasn’t the only one in our choir that had training from band on how to direct, no one else volunteered to do it. I was awarded through criticism both constructive and spiteful. After a while, I received so much direct and indirect criticism that I quit directing and singing all together, and I joined the usher board!
I loved ushering! I didn’t have to say anything! People sought my help and seemed to be appreciative when I rendered assistance. After a few months, it got back to me that people were saying that I was a singer and I should be in the choir! I needed to let the non-singers usher. “You can’t do it all” is what I was told. We eventually left that church, but I never really felt the freedom or desire to sing in a church choir again. Instead, I found my ministry in public school choral programs for over 21 years, and God still got the glory!
No matter what we do in life, we will face criticism. Criticism will come from our inner circles and from our outer circles. No one likes criticism. But we have to make sure we don’t allow the fear of criticism cause us to freeze in our tracks and never pursue our passions.
Paul speaks of his thoughts of criticism in 1 Corinthians 4: 3-4:
3 I care very little if I am judged by you or by any human court; indeed, I do not even judge myself. 4 My conscience is clear, but that does not make me innocent. It is the Lord who judges me. (NIV)
I am sure Paul received criticism everywhere he turned, but that did not stop his testimony! He still lived a passionate life knowing that the only One that would be worthy of his “evaluation” would be God Himself. Paul didn’t even rely on self-evaluation.
What drives you? People? Things? Emotions or feelings? None of those are reliable! You can’t allow those things to fuel the drive of your passion! You can’t even allow yourself to be too critical of the dreams God placed in your heart. Don’t wait for perfection! You will never achieve it. Instead, ask God to give you the drive you need to fulfill the work He started in you with the desire He placed in your heart.
A few years ago, I wrote a poem based on the conclusion that I would NOT allow others to fuel the drive of my goals and passions:
This Drive is Not Fueled by Others By Traci D. Fuller If I did it for you, it might not be done, 'cause this drive is not fueled by others. I may slow at a caution but I'm still on the run. This drive is not fueled by others. Whatever my course, I may even change lanes. My drive is not fueled by others. The route may change but the destination is the same, and this drive is not fueled by others. If I walk, I walk – I can’t wait for a ride, when this drive is not fueled by others. If you’re going my way, let’s go – but keep in mind! My drive is not fueled by others.
Little POW-wow, Pearls of Wisdom
- All of us have gone through some experience(s) when we have allowed what others had to say about us determine our actions. What was your experience? Is your drive still in neutral because of it? How can you accelerate to get where you need be in God’s plan for you?
- Everyone wants approval, but the truth is, we won’t always have it. Be like Paul, and understand that the only judge that matters is God. Live with a clear conscience knowing that you have done all you can to the glory of God!
- Become your own cheerleader today! Write a short CHEER for yourself and say it every time you are faced with people that talk too much! Here’s a corny little one I learned in elementary school:
(I'm) headed for success Passing by all the rest It's S-U-C-C-E-S-S (I am) the BEST!
Tune My Heart…
“Get Up” by Mary Mary is the lead single of their fourth album, The Sound. It was released in July of 2008. It is one of my favorite motivational songs. Listen to it and pay attention to the second verse:
He said. She said. They said.
What do you say?
It’s your dreams, your choice, your time, your life! So don’t you – don’t you miss it!
Don’t let your drive be fueled by others.
Traci D. Fuller, Pearls and Pretty Pens
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