What do you guys think of Jennifer Rothschild?”
That was the opening question of a post that I should not have read!
A friend told me she had spotted my name, so I decided to check it out. But, when I read the rest of it, I felt like a balloon when the air is being sucked out of it—deflated and scrawny.
Here’s the rest of her post:
“The women’s ministry at our church is going to use one of her DVD series and book stud[ies] this fall. I haven’t read any of her material, personally, but I did some research about her and her associations. She’s appeared on Christian TV shows (that I disagree with) and lots of secular shows too. Has anyone heard any of her teachings? Would you be concerned about her? I am. She apparently is ecumenical, because her itinerary includes many denominations of churches and colleges. I am convicted myself, to avoid her . . . what are your thoughts?”
Convicted to avoid me?
I didn’t even know this woman, but her misinterpretation of what I do and why I do it crushed me. Everything in me wanted to run and hide. (I guess if I had, it would’ve been easier for her to follow her conviction to avoid me!)
Because her words took the wind right out of my sails, I didn’t read the responses to her question. I was ready to retreat.
We all have that place in us that, when it gets messed with, causes us to deflate. We feel like the wind is knocked right out of us. What is it for you?
Criticism? Failure? Comparison? Rejection? Clearly, criticism can knock the wind out of me.
Now, constructive criticism from a pure heart is not what I’m talking about. I’m referring to criticism based on something inconsequential, unkind, untrue, or out of my control. That kind of criticism brings out all my insecurity and makes me want to run and hide!
Oh, I’m not proud of my gut reaction, but I am being honest. That is what I “feel” like doing, but it is not what I actually do. Thankfully, God is teaching me how to handle unkindness and criticism in a humble and healthy way. But, that doesn’t mean I still don’t feel the hit when it comes.
Maybe you understand.
Lots of us feel the temptation to sit it out, retreat, or hide when we get the wind knocked out of us. But, Hebrews 10:39 says that we “are not of those who shrink back.”
So, what can we do when we get the wind knocked out of us?
1. Get Back Up
Yep, it’s that simple, and it’s that hard. If you fall down because a situation or person knocked you down, look at where you’ve fallen.
You always fall on the grace of God. It may have been judgment that knocked you down, but it is grace that breaks your fall.
Grace is like a trampoline that helps you bounce back and get right back up. That means you choose to stand up with the resilience of grace even if you feel crushed. You dust off the gunk, and you lift your chin.
When we fall on grace, we receive grace from God and then we give grace to others.
Bitterness, resentment, or disappointment can serve as weights that will just keep you down. Your willingness to let go of bitterness or disappointment lightens you, so it’s easier to stand.
So, to get back up, receive God’s grace and then give it to someone who probably doesn’t deserve it!
That means, the woman who is convicted to avoid me cannot avoid the grace I have learned to give her.
Grace can keep the broad perspective that we are all flawed, and we all easily blow it. When I know grace supports me, then I can get up and move forward.
2. Get Back Out There
To get back out there means you don’t hide from your fear or your failure. You don’t hide from others opinions of you.
Just like a kid learning to ride a bike, when you fall, you get right back on that seat and keep pedaling! You may wobble or feel afraid, but you do it afraid!
Risk being wrong. Risk making a mistake. Risk feeling hurt.
Be wise and guard your heart, but don’t self-protect yourself into a closet. The longer we hide, the quicker our confidence dies.
But the same grace that can absorb your fall and help you bounce back is the same grace that pushes you forward and gives you the courage not to quit or isolate yourself.
Grace is a powerful force.
It can fuel your perseverance because it is “God who works in you both to will and to work His good pleasure” (Philippians 2:13).
When you let go of what hurts you or scares you or deflates you, your hands are free to spread wide like wings, and you’ll be caught by the fresh wind of grace. And that grace will always lift your spirit and give you confidence.
So, think about what takes the wind from your sails. Once you can name it, then let grace cover it and give you the lift you need to keep soaring!
This post originally appeared on JenniferRothschild.com and was republished with permission.
Jennifer Rothschild has written 14 books, including the bestseller Lessons I Learned in the Dark and Me, Myself, and Lies. She’s been featured on Good Morning America and Dr. Phil and is the founder of Fresh Grounded Faith events. Jennifer became blind at age 15 and now helps others live beyond limits.