Collect Words of Life, Not Criticism

//  The BEST part of moving houses, or cities, or nations is that you get rid of the old and start fresh. Garage sales, yard sales, rummage sales, although painful at times are brilliant for reducing clutter.

Minimal mess. Minimal clutter. Minimal packing.

But what about our emotional, mental, and psychological baggage? How do we manage that kind of clutter after years of collecting life experiences?

This season has been harder than I expected. Little did I know that when I pressed ‘publish’ on my book, I would be pressing GO on a roller coaster of emotional turbulence.

  • Insecurity? Haven’t dealt with that in years, but here we go!
  • Comparison? Oh, my goodness, where did that come from?
  • Second-guessing myself? Stop this ride—I wanna get off now.

There’s a verse in the Bible that speaks about God sending His Word and then TESTING that Word (check out Psalm 105:19). I think that’s what’s been happening here. You see, whenever we allow God to use us to deliver something important, WE get tested in it first.   

Oh, great.

So, when I wrote in my book about comparison being the thief of joy, guess where I was tested? When I wrote about no longer listening to lies but clinging to the truth, that’s where I was tested. If I’ve EVER doubted my abilities as a wife and mother, THIS has been that season.

It’s been the craziest roller coaster ride ever. Can you relate? //

How can we cope with Vulnerability?

1.    Acknowledge that you are Human

You were never meant to be perfect, and that’s ok.

Just before I was to speak at the Oasis Women’s Conference in May, I had coffee with one of my pastors and told her that I was feeling completely ‘un-qualified’ to speak to women on the topics of IDENTITY and KNOWING WHAT GOD SAYS ABOUT YOU. She just smiled and said,

“Shauna, if you told me right now that you felt qualified to speak to those women, you would actually be disqualified. Qualification comes from Him and His anointing, not your abilities or feelings.”

That’s life-changing!

I don’t have to be a perfect woman, perfect wife, or perfect mom for God to use me. Click To Tweet

I just have to stay connected to His Spirit and let Him anoint me to be ME… right now, right here.

2. Collect Words of Life, not criticism

It’s easy to remember all of the things we dislike about ourselves. I’m sure you can list 5 things right now off-the-top-of-your-head. And the enemy loves to whisper those nasty labels in our ears when the lights go out at night. Loser, failure, hypocrite…

But God is so good to us, and He LOVES to encourage us.

The problem is that our minds are like sieves and we soon forget those Words of Life. We leak.

My friends, WE HAVE TO COLLECT those encouraging things and keep them close to us. We have to remind ourselves what we do right.

We have to cling to the truth of what God says about us. Click To Tweet

I’ve got a JOURNAL dedicated to this exact purpose… it’s a collection of what I’m doing right.

  • When God speaks something encouraging or empowering (from His Word or everyday life), I put it in the book.
  • When someone writes me a thank you note for something, I paste it in the book.
  • When someone sends me an email to say how much they appreciate me, I print it out and paste it in the book.
  • At my book launch party, I asked my friends to write something encouraging in the book so that I can read it when the enemy brings discouragement (cuz he does that, you know).
  • Successes, compliments, thank you notes, whatever. Put it in the book.

3. Don’t Shrink Back

Creativity is a vulnerable thing, whether you are writing songs, poems, or books, choreographing a dance, or creating a piece of art. You will ALWAYS feel exposed after you share it with the world.

You are normal, but DON’T let that feeling of exposure cause you to shrink back.

Embrace the vulnerability and keep creating. Click To Tweet

In my case, I’m still writing. I’m still learning. I’m still sharing.

And you can too.

YOUR TURN: How do you cope with vulnerability?


HOORAY, my book is available!

IDENTITY - book cover

Now available on Amazon and Kindle.

For more info, check out the book page here! In South Africa, you can order a physical copy from me. Send me a personal message, and we’ll make arrangements.


Every Friday, I join an inspiring group of writers to write for FIVE MINUTES on a one-word prompt. No editing. No revising. Just WRITE. This week, the prompt word was COLLECT.

// indicates the start and stop of the timer.

For more information on Five Minute Friday, check out the Five Minute Friday website!

7 replies
  1. Jennifer
    Jennifer says:

    Wow! What a blessing to read your blog this morning! I just finished purging a BUNCH of journals – full of pain, challenges, prayers and God only knows what else. I have hesitated to start another one, but I LOVE the idea of an encouragement journal. You are right, the negative sticks, the good can be slippery! Blessings to you as you continue to lead in obedience and grace. Thank you for your ministry to me and to so many others!

    • Shauna Blaak
      Shauna Blaak says:

      Haha, that’s a great description of why we forget the good stuff! It’s slippery!

      I’m so glad you were encouraged today, Jennifer! I ❤️ that about writing! God just knows who needs to read my post today!
      Have a great week!

  2. Jennifer
    Jennifer says:

    Oh my…I throw everything away….including all those notes of affirmation and words of life. How I wish I had them neatly tucked inside a book or journal. What a wonderful idea. I hope that your collection of words of life will be a blessing to you many times over!

    • Shauna Blaak
      Shauna Blaak says:

      Hi Jennifer! I must admit, I’d rather organize than throw stuff away (except junk mail—that’s gotta GO). And yes, I like to look back on these bits of encouragement every now and then (especially if I’m feeling melancholic at all). My love language is “words of affirmation,” can you tell?

      Have a wonderful week! (Are you visiting from Five Minute Friday? Which #?)

  3. Rachel
    Rachel says:

    Nice site! Love your words … Once I gave up perfectionism (after I recognized it for what it was – a barrier) I could love more, be forgiving … and be vulnerable. Never done this before. Learning, just like you! Thanks for coming to visit me! Blessings!

  4. Marie
    Marie says:

    Thank for this, Shauna! I struggle mightily with insecurity and doubt. My ministry is so very small and hidden. I often find myself comparing my work to others and wondering why I bother. But Jesus can use anyone. I needed that reminder today!


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