How I Handle Criticism
If you want to step out and make a difference, expect critics. It doesn’t matter who you are or what noble thing you are doing. You will have critics.
When I first started All About Worship eight years ago, it was just a podcast. I decided to start it just as a hobby. There were just two other worship leader podcasts on iTunes at the time, neither of which exist now.
I had never learned how to talk on radio, so I was pretty nervous. I didn’t sound natural. In fact, my wife who was my co-host at the time, was more natural at it than me. I used to be way more reserved and shy back then…so honestly, I was pretty bad at hosting the podcast.
I didn’t really feel comfortable talking into a microphone, recording myself, and sharing it with the world, but I did it because I enjoyed connecting with others and helping other worship leaders.
One day, about 2-3 months after starting the All About Worship Podcast, I checked to see if I had new reviews on iTunes and saw a very critical review. This worship leader praised my wife for being a great host, but criticized me and stated that my personality was like a "dry noodle”. I couldn’t believe it.
I was hurt. I was furious. I was discouraged. I wanted to quit…ever have those feelings?
Criticisms hurt. They make you want to just throw in the towel. They make you question yourself and your calling. Criticisms can stick with you for life. (In fact, I still remember all the racist names the kids called me in 4th through 6th grade - my first 3 years here in the U.S. Those memories still come back to haunt me at times.)
Instead of letting the “dry noodle” comment defeat me and make me quit podcasting, I instead used it to challenge myself to become a better podcast host. I was determined. I studied podcasting and how to have more personality on the microphone.
I pushed myself to become better. I wanted to become the best podcast for worship leaders…whatever it took. I spent hours listening back to the podcast episodes and critiquing myself so that I could improve.
It took me a few years before I got to the point where I felt pretty comfortable in front of the mic and didn’t get butterflies in my stomach when I was interviewing someone on the podcast.
Some people say, don’t listen to your critics. I say, listen to your critics and see what you can take from their criticism to make yourself better. Whether it’s worship leading, public speaking, or songwriting, when you receive criticism, get over your emotional reaction to it and use that criticism to your advantage.
Lastly, know the difference between a critic and a hater. I ignore haters…I block their emails; I delete their comments online immediately. They are not worth my time or energy. They are going to hate no matter what you do or say. They are not giving you feedback out of love or a desire to help you. They are doing it out of a desire to intentionally hurt you.
As I think back to the “dry noodle” comment, I realize that if I had quit because of that comment, All About Worship would not exist today. That’s pretty crazy to think about.
A note to the critics and haters out there: words are powerful; use them wisely. When you make a comment, remember that there is a real live human being reading it on the other side, and you will be held accountable by God for how you affect that person’s life.
(Image courtesy of ShiftWorship.com)Comment on Facebook Comment on Twitter
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