“I don’t like this.”

“I don’t like this.”

October 27, 2023 0 By Laura

I remember one of my very first art critiques in college. It was in my 2D design class, and it was in a class that was taught by someone who ended up being one of my favorite professors. He was a typical art professor–super introspective and thoughtful, totally quirky, and absolutely awesome. He stood and stared at an abstract painting I had done for far longer than was comfortable, and I expected the worst to come out of his mouth when he finally opened it. He made some comments about some things he liked, which was a nice way of starting a really stressful experience for me as an insecure artist in a college program full of artistic geniuses. Just as I was feeling good about myself and gaining confidence in my piece, he pointed to a black shape in the corner. 

“I don’t like this.” I was surprised to hear him say something so blunt and unpleasant. 

I didn’t know what to say, and my heart was starting to race. With uncharacteristic boldness, I simply responded, “I do.” 

He looked up at me, eyes wide. He nodded, smiled, and gave me an A. Then he walked away to begin the next student’s critique. 

I couldn’t believe it. First, I had disagreed with a professor–that was not part of my personality at all and I still couldn’t believe an exact contradiction to his words had come out of my mouth. Second, all I had to do was stand up for my painting and I got an A? I later learned that it wasn’t always quite that simple with other art professors, but my memory of that critique has resurfaced countless times since that day many years ago.

I didn’t like that he wasn’t a fan of something I made, but I wasn’t willing to just tell him it was okay that he didn’t like it. I needed him to know that I did like it. At the same time, it truly didn’t matter if he liked it or not. I made it, and I liked it, and that’s what mattered at that point. 

I think about God as our creator and wonder if he’s ever upset that we criticize his creation. We talk endlessly about beautiful sunsets, picturesque mountains, and stunning landscapes. But then we look in a mirror and all we can see are the flaws. God created us just as He created the mountains, but we don’t aim to point out the flaws in them, do we? 

Can you imagine? 

“Ugh, look at that mountain. It’s alright, I guess, but that ridge right there is kind of plain. Wouldn’t it be better if it had bigger trees and more snow and prettier clouds above it?” That sounds ridiculous and we would never do that.

But we do that to ourselves. We not only notice, but we also bring attention to our own perceived flaws and apparent shortcomings. And we focus on them and harp on them and obsess over them. We let them define us.

But what if we flipped the script and asked God how He felt about us? After all, He calls us His masterpieces. We are His workmanship. We are His creation. God made us the way we are for a reason, and even if we don’t see or understand that reason, we have to trust His knowledge and sovereignty.

We might tell God we don’t like something about ourselves or about the way we look, and that’s okay. But I feel pretty confident that God would respond with a loving yet resounding, “I do.” 

God made us each perfectly, exactly the way we are. He chose our hair color and texture, skin color and face shape, how tall we are, what shape we are, how our voice sounds, what makes us tick and what makes our skin crawl, our gifts and talents… He knit us together with His loving hand and calls us dearly loved.

Are you listening to His voice that says you are His chosen child? Or are you listening to the enemy’s voice that tells you you’re flawed and unusable and unworthy? It’s okay to not love everything about yourself, but work toward that. Work toward remembering that He made you perfectly and he longs for you to see yourself through His eyes. If you look in the mirror and think, “I don’t like this.” Make sure you leave space to hear His voice respond: “I do.”