An Open Letter to Criticism

Originally published Tuesday, 25 March 2014.

It has been my privilege to be part of a community group called (in)couraging Writers, through the lovely website and ministry, (in)Courage.

One of our assignments in the group was to write a letter to our inner critic, specifically the voice that prevents us from writing. 

So, without further ado, here is my

Open Letter to Criticism:

Dear Criticism,

Many would seek to dismiss you entirely, to throw the baby out with the bathwater, so to speak.  I admit, whenever you have appeared in these parts, the steel wall has quickly shot up in resistance and defense.

Yet to reject you altogether would be unwise.  You are needed, though undesired.

The best description I could think of to describe you is to say that you are like the bee population.  

The world needs you in order to grow and flourish, but often it recoils from your presence.

You can be loud, buzzing in my ear, and often feared.  

You provide reason to move away from your presence, to shoo you away, and sometimes even to run when you appear.

Sometimes you sting without just cause.

But like a bee, you have your reasons for existence.  You can serve a purpose, one that can even cause flowers to thrive and honey to flow.

So here is my advice to you:

Make yourself useful.

Do your work in such a way that pollen will travel from flower to flower, color and beauty will be added to the world, and honeycomb will be formed and enjoyed by many.  

There will be times when you will still sting.  When that happens, teach us to rub on the salve of the gospel when you penetrate.

Don’t disappear entirely, but don’t sting unnecessarily, either.

Make yourself useful.

If you do that, then we can be friends.