A Simple Look at a Not-So-Simple Life

Reading with a Pen: For My Inner Critic

I do my best reading with a pen in hand. When I stumble across beautiful sentences, or wise quotes, or unforgettable scenes, I feel like I need to put down a flag of discovery so that one day (hopefully) I can return. Sometimes I underlines phrases, sentences, or entire paragraphs. Sometimes I draw smiley faces or exclamation marks in the margin. Sometimes I initiate my own conversation with the text by writing in questions or comments. (I am so thankful that Amazon built these capabilities into their Kindle!) Sometimes I move the entire conversation – quotes and all – into my journal so I will have room to explore. Too often, however, my marks just sit on the page – forgotten until or unless I pick the book back up again at some point in the future. I thought it might be fun to go searching for the flags I’ve planted around words in some of my favorite books.

This is a quote I copied in my journal while reading Debbie Macomber’s Knit Together:

It’s difficult to complain to God about how terrible you are when you remember you’re talking to the original designer. (p. 39)

I have memories of one of my junior high youth leaders telling us, “God don’t make no junk!” That’s something that every young person needs to hear over and over, because the world can be pretty cruel (and so can your friends and classmates) in those critical transitional years. By the time we become adults, we may not hear the same kind of voices from around us, but we usually still hear them within us.

I have an ugly talking inner critic. Sometimes he tries to mimic the voices of real people I know or have known. Other times he is just a grouchy voice. (And yes, my voice is a he. Go figure.) I’ve written about him here.

If this reminder from Macomber won’t shut up the voices that tear us apart, whether they come from outside us or inside us, then nothing will. When I read this quote, I am reminded that it’s true. God don’t make no junk.

no junk


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