Critics

One of my favorite childhood stories is You are Special by Max Lucado.
It’s about a little community of wooden people called Wemmicks.
All day, every day the Wemmicks do the same thing—
They give each other stickers.
Gold stars or grey dots.
The beautiful Wemmicks— the smart ones, the talented ones— receive gold stars.
Grey dots are for the clumsy, the unattractive, the simple-minded.
One little Wemmick, Punchinello, had acquired a lot of dots.
Sometimes Wemmicks gave him dots, just because they saw that he already had so many…
Punchinello was so overwhelmed, he didn’t want to go outside most days;
Obviously, a wooden person with so many bad marks, wasn’t worth anything at all.
One day, he met a Wemmick who had no stars and no dots.
Punchinello was fascinated; he had never seen anyone like her.
He learned from his Carpenter the reason she was sticker-less…
“The stickers only stick if you let them.”
 

 

In the world of every woman there are critics.
Critics who try to peg us with a certain value…
The first one we greet every morning is the mirror.
Every zit, extra pound, or surfacing wrinkle stares back at us.
We pick and pinch and panic…
Trying to make presentable our mess of a self–
that apparently hasn’t grasped the concept of ‘beauty sleep’.
The critics sneak in next through the phone.
We can scroll through pins and insta feeds and find signs of perfection.
Perfect outfits, perfect vacations, perfect relationships, perfect bodies…
Seemingly perfect lives.
We might go to school or work or the gym—
Judgements, verbal or not, are passed by peers, friends, and even strangers.
We zero in on our perceived flaws,
They become insecurities…
Stuck, like stickers, at the forefront of our thoughts.
Although we are surrounded by competition, comparison, and judgement,
We often become our own worst critics
Because
The stickers only stick if you let them.
 

 

At first, Punchinello can’t comprehend that the stickers don’t matter,
Or that he’s worth more than his marks.
The Carpenter, his creator, teaches him another important lesson;
“Remember, you are special because I made you.
And I don’t make mistakes.”
He assures the little Wemmick that he loves him and that he’s important.
As Punchinello turns to leave,
he starts to think the Carpenter might just be telling the truth…
As he does, one of his grey dots slips to the ground.
 

 

There was a time in my life when I had acquired a lot of my own dots.

I was on a college cheer team;
I constantly compared my body and skills against my teammates.
My grades were worse than they had ever been.
I was in love.
My boyfriend and I were making plans to be married–
(I had my dress, we had a date)
Until he called one day… and called everything off.
I can’t describe the devastation, embarrassment, and insecurity I experienced at that time.
I didn’t feel good about anything, especially myself.
My failures hung heavy;
Grey dots, blatant and obvious, for all the world to see.
With destroyed self-esteem, I went to see a counselor.
I’ll never forget his advice.
He told me that whenever I felt worthless, alone, or weak…
I should picture myself in the same room with my Maker–
Try to imagine what He might say.
I thought my encounter with Him, might be a lot like Punchinello’s with the Carpenter.
“…I made you. And I don’t make mistakes.”
The more I thought about it, the more I believed it.
I started to shed my own marks as I remembered–
I was loved and valued by Him. 
Communing with my Creator became a daily essential.
It brought sweet peace to my heart and belonging to my soul;
Providing protection from the world’s marks.
The more time I spend with Him, the more I understand
who I am.
I am special–
Important and worthwhile simply because
He doesn’t make mistakes.

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