Confessions of an Armchair Critic

Nobody likes to be called an Armchair Critic/Quarterback/etc. The associated implication is that you are a lazy loudmouth. I know, personally, that I am neither of those things. Yet, as more and more responsibility is placed on me, I notice that I feel more and more anxious about it. What if I can’t do it? What if I let someone down? What if the things I’ve always feared about myself turn out to be true? There is a huge disconnect within me, and I’m probably not alone: I want to do something meaningful, but when the opportunity arises, I shrink back from the weight of responsibility that inevitably comes with it. I am starting to think that this is a more accurate definition of an Armchair Critic–someone whose desire for the safety of the status quo outweighs their desire to implement change. Some might say this is simple realism; the person who plays it safe is the person who is aware of their own fragility. Maybe. However, maybe sometimes we fear the things we do because they are tied to the things we care about most. 

It is easy to constantly reflect and never do. You can sound profound and awe-inspiring. But if you never back up your words with actions, you are only proving that even you don’t believe your own words. We can either stay in the nest and tweet about the wonders of flying, or we can jump off the branch and actually live it. Or, for the more stubborn of us, life can literally throw us out of the nest, forcing us to back up our words, like it or not. These decisions aren’t always easy. That weight of responsibility doesn’t go away; it only gets heavier with time. 

It can be a stinging comfort to believe that nothing is expected of you. You have nothing to offer, so you get to take it easy. The downside is, that’s for kids. We all have to grow up sometime. And, when you think about it, is that really what you want to believe? That because you feel your offerings are insufficient to the task, your input has no weight? It’s time to graduate from milk to solid food, as Paul would say. 

“When I was a child, I spoke and thought and reasoned as a child. But when I grew up, I put away childish things.” -1 Cor. 13:11 

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