Criticism and Creation: A Meditation

cassatt -- modern woman

“To avoid criticism say nothing, do nothing, be nothing.”

It is much simpler to criticize than it is to create. All criticism takes is a quick wit and a sharp tongue. It requires little investment of the depths of yourself, and you can all the while maintain a safe and respectable distance from committing yourself to anything.

Creation, on the other hand, is a profoundly self-giving and self-sacrificing enterprise. It requires me to pour myself out into a task, to dredge up the deepest parts of myself and give them expression in what it is I am creating. It is a difficult, vulnerable task; one laced with pitfalls and characterized by suffering.

The critic says to the creator, “you’re not doing it right.”

The creator says to the critic, “something must be done.”

I would much rather be a creator. I’m afraid that I’m the critic.


God, You are the Creator who reigns over all of my potential for co-creation. Kindle in me a fire for all of the things that the critics within and without would keep me from doing. Help me to look for the beautiful and the good rather than a smug ability to point out things that are not as they should be while doing nothing about it. Stoke in me a flame of imagination that sees the power and goodness of Your kingdom making all things new.

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