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March 7, 2013

Stay Focused

It’s easy—and dangerous—to get distracted by criticism

My sport of choice is tennis. I love the game. During the 2009 French Open Men’s Final, a crazed fan leaped over the stands and onto the court to taunt the second-ranked world player, Roger Federer. As you can imagine, it was quite a scene. Tennis, with its air of prestige and sophistication, is not accustomed to unruly spectators. Within those few seconds, the emotions of the fans ran the gamut from gasps of fear to humorous snickers and then cheers as security tackled the man and hauled him off the court.

While this little drama unfolded, I kept my eyes on Roger. Here he was playing one of the most significant matches of his career and what appeared to be a crazed lunatic jumped out on the court after him. I marveled at his ability to stay calm, quickly collect himself, and immediately go back to the game (he won, ultimately launching him back into the number-one seed).

That’s the power of focus: it’s what separates the winners from the losers, the good from the great. Focus can make or break you.

This episode reminds me of how easily we can get distracted by the taunts of the critics in our lives. Many things are vying to pull us away from the calling and mission God has given us. The most important thing you can do to overcome criticism is to remain focused on your calling. The enemy’s goal is to distract you, and what better way to get you off track than to cut you down with criticism?

How are you reacting to criticism? Can you shake it off and refocus on “your game,” or do you throw in the towel and give up the match? Are you allowing criticism to distract you from your calling or purpose?

“Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain” (1 Corinthians 15:58).

God has gifted and called you for the unique role you play. He does not promise that your journey will be an easy one, and you will likely have your share of critics, but he will equip you as long as you keep your focus on him.

Excerpted from Just Lead! Copyright © 2013 by Sherry Surratt and Jenni Catron. Used by permission of Jossey-Bass.

Related Tags: Criticism; Focus


Does this include a husband, who is constantly accusing you of being unfaithful & criticizing your every little move? He is almost 22 years older than myself. His first wife slept around on him while he was out on the road. He drives truck. He says all women are the same. They all run around. I was raised where "when I said I Do, I meant it forever." Where I was raised there was the rare divorce. My parents never talked about intimacy. They kissed each other good bye when Dad left for work. My husband is always grabbing me in front of others. I find it very embarrassing. He says it is his right to do that as we are married. I can never do anything right. He constantly criticizes how I clean the house, how I wash the dishes, etc. He constantly criticizes our 15 year old son & his friends. His friends are scared of my husband. When my husband starts in on me, I pray for God to give me the strength to handle this. I have told our son to pray also.

@Michele:I believe every woman should be focused. That is the only way we can find meaning to our peculiar lives which place so many demands on us as we are many things to many people. It is awesome that you have decided to take the 'product' back to its 'Maker'. As you give Him the specifications of the 'changes' you desire in the 'product', I know satisfaction is guaranteed. Don't give up. Stay focused. God will give you the desire of your heart. He is always faithful to deliver. Shalom!

@Michele: What you are describing is abuse. No one should allow themselves to be treated like you describe. And I disagree that it is 'awesome' that you allow your husband to treat you that way. Please, for your own sake & your son's sake, please see a counselor as soon as possible.

@Michele ~ I didn't believe in divorce either, but my second husband treats me with love and respect, not distrust, constant criticism, and intimidation like the first one. How your husband treats you is WRONG and can be considered abuse. Seek counseling, with or without him (without him AND without his knowledge if you or your children are afraid of repercussions.) Pray to God, but at the same time, row for shore! God bless, honey!

@Michele, I just want to agree with the women who say God doesn't want you to live in the shadow of fear and intimidation. I recently finished "Safe People" by Henry Cloud and recommend it to you to understand the difference between healthy and unhealthy behavior if you're not ready to go to counseling. I know it can be scary to be in a relationship with an emotionally abusive man, but you are not alone and your local church should have resources (if it doesn't, find a new church)! God bless.

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