Wednesday, May 16, 2012

it's always about our hearts..

As member of the creative community, our artistic endeavors welcome--and even invite critique. I can't help think this is by heavenly design and with the intention to refine our hearts. After all, it's always about our hearts.
I can still remember the first e-mail from a customer suggesting that I make a small change on her son's portrait that I had created. My face flushed as I read the (very polite) words, but I was still overtaken by insecurities, pride, and just plain self-righteousness. I wanted to fire off a snarky e-mail on my phone right away to set the  matter straight. Thankfully, I didn't. Although the criticism stung, this customer was right in bringing up an area of potential improvement. In fact, the suggestion improved my product immensely and brought in a lot of business.
But I almost missed it all..
because of my pride.
 As a mom-tra-preneurs it seems like we are especially vulnerable to crisis of identity spurred on by criticism. Generally speaking, we live in a rosey-colored virtual world where our Twitter tweeps, Facebook friends, and famly give us continual encouragement. Although wonderful, this can sometimes give us an overly optimistic view of our businesses. Understandably then,  it hurts when we hear otherwise from someone outside of our circle. 
But it's an important part of the journey, 
for our business
and our hearts.
Our spirits can easily be suckered into believing that they are, in fact, fed by our PayPal accounts, where extra spending money, significance, and  independence serve as the devil's measly bait for our hearts. But, what would it look like if we viewed our interactions with each client (and responses to criticism) as a part of our personal journey of sanctification, rather than a simple deposit in the banking account?

Colossians 3:12 (NIV)Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.

Wham-Bam. Let's do it. Let's knock their socks off with our humility. Let's have hearts that announce that we are but apprentices of His beauty. 

Practically speaking:
  • Give yourself time and space to process criticism with Jesus-- resist the urge to instantly reply. 
  • Ask the Lord what He is desiring to accomplish in your heart through your business in this season.
  • Discuss criticism with an strategic and objective consultant. Talking candidly with another business owner with experience in your specific genre can give you great insight.
  • Invite your customers to offer feedback, suggestions, and new ideas. 
  • Understand that the evolution of your product and creative process is healthy!

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