I really like being put together. I have a need to feel like I am in control, that I have the answers, and I’m good to go. I’m going to blame it on my type-A personality, and for better or worse, my oldest daughter inherited the same traits. As she enters a new season of pre-teen transition, I have found myself consistently reminding her that I am on her team. As I teach, guide and correct, I want to be sure that she remembers that I’m doing it to help, not nag. It occurred to me this week that, even as adults, we need this reminder sometimes. We need to know that the people who love us will help us grow, even in the times when we don’t particularly want to hear what they are saying.
Proverbs 27 paints such a beautiful picture of these relationships. With lines like “it’s better to be corrected openly if it stems from hidden love. You can trust a friend who wounds you with his honesty,” and “it takes a grinding wheel to sharpen a blade, and so one person sharpens the character of another,” we are given insight into what loving correction does for us. When the Lord gives us relationships, He gives us countless chances to grow in grace, forgiveness and wisdom. True friendships have a refining effect on our character.
My 7 year old informed me today that she doesn’t need to take pre-jazz again, because she’s already too good for it. My response? A dancer can grow no matter what class she’s in. It’s really no different for us. We can grow in every season. The droning monotony of the day to day, the excitement of stepping into a new career or calling, the exhausting days of motherhood; all of them offer a multitude of opportunities to grow. Often, that growth comes through the loving nudges of the people on our team. As we step into all God has for us, we need to learn how to handle correction. If we can be responsive and open to it, we will go so much further.
True loving correction is showered with grace. It says “What if you tried it this way?” instead of “You did all of that wrong!” It comes from your dream defenders - the people who believe in you and consistently support you, not from the people who make you doubt yourself and your calling. It is so crucial to learn the difference. If we don’t remember this, we can start to think we wouldn’t need correction if only we were better. If we tried harder, if we did more, if we knew more. But truth says it’s not about doing more to avoid correction. It’s about making forward progress. I love this quote from Lisa Bevere: “You know you are with true friends when they lift, encourage, correct, and then spur you on.” This is the heart of refinement that God intends for us to have. The correction that leads to pushing you forward. The encouragement in your success, the empowerment of your calling. If a critique comes without suggestions for improvement, it is not coming from love.
If you feel that you have something you need to call out in someone, please remember that the underlying goal of all loving refinement is improvement and grace. It’s always to create something of higher quality, better value, and greater impact, while at the same time lifting the spirit of the person being corrected. We correct one another in order to call out God’s best. We sharpen each other because it makes us stronger, not weaker.
Whether it’s relationally, professionally, spiritually or in any other aspect of your life, the Lord will have people there to help propel you forward. Don’t fear correction. Don’t take it personally. Embrace the teammates God has given you, and help move each other along. As a sisterhood, we will accomplish exceedingly more God-works when we bring out the best in each other.
About Amanda Merritt
Amanda is a Kansas girl who claims Texas as her own. She married Curtis at 19 and never looked back. Three children, six moves and three states later, they settled back down northwest of Fort Worth and love their life in the country. She’s a PTA president by default and loves being an advocate for her children’s school, along with being dance mom for her two daughters and soccer mom for her son. In her free time, she bakes a ridiculous amount of delicious goodies, has at least three books started at any given time, and works on any craft project she can get her hands on. She has three life goals - love the Lord, love people, and teach her children to do the same