Dancing on Your Dash: Shaking Off the Snakes

Kim CrabillBy Kim Crabill6 Minutes

I don’t know about you, but the fastest way someone can turn my great day into a terrible day is to tell me they’re disappointed in me. As a former member of People Pleasers Anonymous, I have to confess that trying to please can still be a struggle sometimes.

Hello friend, I’m Kim Crabill. I’m delighted to welcome you back to Strengthen Your Walk and our series, “Dancing on Your Dash”  — discerning when and discovering how God has choreographed our daily steps to fulfill the incredible plan He has declared for each of our lives.

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I think it’s a rare person who is immune to criticism. What do you think? Whether it’s outright condemnation (Who do you think you are, anyway?) or the sneaky, underhanded kind (You need to get your money back for that haircut … bless your heart) — either way, criticism hurts!

So, what are we to do when a critic has left us down in the ditch rather than dancing on our dash? Let me be very practical for just a minute. When I say that I’m out of coffee, I know to run to the store, and so spiritually, I can say that when I’m discouraged, I know to run to God’s Word, my Bible.

When you think about it, we are not the first to feel belittled or criticized. Remember Paul? Jesus’ faithful and obedient servant was no stranger to criticism. While reading in Acts 28 we find him on the island of Malta, having survived a shipwreck. Initially, he received a warm welcome from the islanders. Then, as he was building a fire to ward off the cold and damp, a viper — a snake — that was hiding in the brush bit Paul. Within an instant, the islanders quickly changed their opinion of him, concluding that he was an escaped murderer, and the poisonous snake was his punishment. That is some serious criticism!

Instead of dropping dead, however, Paul simply shook the snake off his hand and into the fire. His critics waited a bit to see if there were delayed effects from the venom, but when nothing bad happened to Paul, his critics decided he was not a murderer but a god.

Paul went from hero to zero and then zero to hero in just a few short verses! Did he stamp his feet and shame the islanders for being so judgmental, so critical, so wishy-washy? Did he let their criticism hurt his feelings? No. He literally shook off the snake (and the criticism) and got back to work!

As far back as the Garden of Eden, there have been snakes, coiled and ready to strike. The work of the enemy as described in John 10:10 is to kill, steal, and destroy our spirit, our soul, and heart. Sometimes they’re actual, physical snakes like the one Paul faced in Malta, but more often they come disguised as circumstances, hurtful people, demeaning words, unruly thoughts, and emotions, just to name a few.

Of all the varieties of snakes, however, possibly the most pervasive is the critic. And please listen to this … the most effective critic is often the one that lives in our own heads. You know what I mean? That little voice that points out every way in which you fall short. That loads on the guilt and condemnation. The one that bullies you and holds you hostage to yesterday’s mistakes and mess-ups. You know that voice that sounds like a harsh parent or the teacher or ex-spouse or friend … who broke your spirit.

Here’s the one principle we can always be assured of: these demeaning, critical, condemning thoughts are not coming from God! HE has promised this truth in Romans 12:1 and goes on to say in 1 John 3:20 that “even when our hearts condemn us, He is greater than our hearts!” This is why, when our inner critic begins, we must run to the Word and remind ourselves what our Father says about us. When He extends His hand to us, it is not to bring us the words of a critic. No, His words are an invitation: Dance with me.

Our God stands ready to lift us out of the ditch and place us back on our dash. To take us from despair to dancing — if we will just learn to silence the snakes, shake them off, and listen to Him!

So today friend, you can Strengthen Your Walk by saying yes to the One who invites you to make “shaking off the snakes” the first part of His dance.

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