“Yes, we all have metaphorical bleachers, and there are people sitting upon them, spectators of your life. Like it or not, you have an audience. It includes kind an loving people. . . . But there are other Bleacher People, unhelpful critics who seem to habitually misunderstand you, doubt you, test you, or passive-aggressively critique you.”- Jennifer Dukes Lee
“As for me, it matters very little how I might be evaluated by you or by any human authority.”- 1 Corinthians 4:3 (NLT)
In Chapter 15 (“The Bleacher People”) of Growing Slow, Jennifer Dukes Lee lists two types of people who sit in your metaphorical bleachers. Kind and loving people cheer you on as you head to the finish line. Wise and discerning voices invest time and energy in your life. As a result, they’ve earned the right to speak truth to you. Even if you sometimes bristle at their message.
However, the bleacher boo birds zero in on the tender spaces in your heart, where you’re most vulnerable. Hence, they know exactly where to hurt you the most. Furthermore, strangers somehow convince themselves they’ve earned the right to evaluate your life.
Above all, Jennifer counsels, you’re not the sum of what anyone says about you, good or bad. In Amy Carmichael’s book If, she writes:
If the praise of man elates me and his blame depresses me; if I cannot rest under misunderstanding without defending myself; if I love to be loved more than to love . . . then I know nothing of Calvary love.”
In conclusion, Jesus found His life filled with Bleacher People. Instead of fighting with them, Jesus taught people to pray for their enemies. And He stayed focused on His purpose.
Consequently, Jennifer exhorts, it’s time to clear the bleachers. God created us for a very small audience, an audience of One. Jesus = your #1 Bleacher Person. Certainly, we must listen to constructive criticism. And we need to stop letting everyone else speak the loudest in our lives.
Today’s question: What life spectators sit in your metaphorical bleachers? Please share.
Tomorrow’s blog: “These winter moments of life”