The other day at a local science museum, my kids discovered a talking robot that uses facial recognition software to interact with people. When they pressed they button, the human-ish looking robot said “look into my eyes and smile.” Then, after making some random electronic computing sounds, it declared with authority what their age and gender is.
The thing is: it was wrong every time. In fact, it was so wrong it was impossible to take seriously.
When my 5-year-old-son tried it, the robot declared him to be “a 41 year old woman.” It went on to say my 9-year-old son was was a zero year-old- girl who looked “happy” and my 11-year-old son was a 5-year-old-girl. It guessed I was a 41-year-old-man, which turned out to be its closest estimate, even though it got both my age and gender wrong.
Obviously, none of us took this personally. We giggled and went back for another round, anxious to hear more of the robot’s crazy innacurate judgements about who we are.
This got me thinking:
What if … instead of taking digs, slights and judgements other real people throw our way personally – we laughed them off, like it was so easy to do with the robot?
In the robot situation, we were clear on 3 things: our true age, our true gender and the fact that the robot had no power to really hurt us in any way.
With real people, it’s tougher to shake thing off. Often, we aren’t particularly clear on who we are at our core. We determine our worth base on society’s current standards, rather than who God created us to be and who we really are deep down in our soul. The less confident we are, the easier it is for gossip, judgements and criticism to cut into our core, wounding us in vulnerable areas that make us feel even more unsure about ourselves.
The question is: how can we become so clear of who we are in ALL aspects of life that we are unshakable and criticism becomes is laughable to us. How can we begin to see people like the malfunctioning robots they are, with a tendancy to project their own issues on others, in order to feel better about themselves? How can we grow into confident encouragers and healers, who build each other up instead of tearing each other down?
I think the answer starts in prayer. When we spend quiet time with the Lord in contemplation of His unconditional love for us, we can begin to allow His healing power into all the nooks and crannies of our broken humanity. We can begin to let go of the insecurities, which make us vulnerable and grow into the confident, courageous, unshakable, encouraging, unconditionally loving people we’re created to be.
1 John 3:1 See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him.
Questions to help you grow (for journalling or meditation)
- Reflecting on the 1 John3:1: why were people so critical of Jesus even though He was perfect? What does that have to do with me?
- How would it change my life to really believe I am a child of God? What do I have to let go of to truly believe?
- What did God create me to be? How does that conflict with society’s standards?
- How does God feel about me, regardless of how other people feel?
- Who in my life reflects God’s unconditional love to me? Who doesn’t? Why am I still hanging out with people, who don’t treat me lovingly?
Do you struggle with taking criticism personally? Do you need help seeing the judegmental people in your life as the malfunctioning robots they are, projecting their negative qualities on you? Where are you in the journey of becoming confident in who God created you to be? Comment below, and I’ll be delighted to provide encouragement and lift you in prayer.
God, help us to be truly confident in who we are. Help us stand in the truth of who You created us to be, so we can allow criticism and judgement to roll off of us like water off a duck’s back. Give us a true sense of how loved we are by you, so we can be unconditionally loving and encouraging toward others as well.