Hey y’all- hope that you had a great weekend and that you’re ready to tackle another week. I am so excited to watch my Clemson Tigers play LSU for the National Championship tonight! In honor of tonight’s game, today’s I’m highlighting some powerful words of wisdom from Dabo Swinney, Clemson’s head coach! He handled some specific harsh words and criticism very gracefully last month, which is a reflection of his godly character. I believe everyone can learn from how Dabo responded to a critic, so keep reading for some encouragement!

Words of Wisdom from Dabo Swinney
(Me with Dabo)

The Situation

In early December, the week before college football conference championships, SEC Network analyst Paul Finebaum called Dabo Swinney “the most annoying winner in all of sports.” Finebaum then went on to say, “Someone just give him a pacifier, send him to timeout, and we will check in on him on Dec. 28 when he finally plays a legitimate team during this entire college football season.” (Quotes from Finebaum are from this article on TigerNet.)

Most people’s knee-jerk reaction to remarks like these would be to lash back and defend one’s self. However, Dabo does neither one these things. Instead, he actually praises Paul Finebaum for being good at his job as an SEC Network sports journalist. Then he ends with this powerful nugget of wisdom, “one of the best lessons I’ve learned is that you don’t worry about criticism from people that you wouldn’t seek advice from.”

A Mark of Character

Dabo not only didn’t retaliate and lash out at Paul Finebaum, he actually praised him even in the face of criticism. Dabo Swinney is very open about his faith on a national stage, and his response to Paul Finebaum is a true mark of godly character. It shows that Dabo truly walks the talk. This reminds me so much of Jesus’ instructions in Matthew 5 to turn the other cheek and love your enemies.

This is one of the aspects of walking with the Lord that I struggle with the most. Even if I don’t verbally retaliate to someone who directs unjust criticism towards me, I retaliate in my heart. And I often vent to my friends and my therapist about how much someone hurt me, and how I wish I could give them a piece of my mind. Don’t get me wrong, it is definitely healthy to recognize and confront valid feelings of anger when someone hurts me. However, Dabo’s response to Paul Finebaum challenges me to really have a heart change where lashing out, even internally, isn’t my knee-jerk reaction!

The Opinion that Truly Matters

I also wholeheartedly believe that Dabo’s faith in Christ enabled him to put Paul Finebaum’s critical remarks in proper perspective. I frequently have to remind myself that ultimately, Jesus’ opinion of me is the only opinion that truly matters. If I’m being faithful to Him and what He has called me to do, then I shouldn’t worry what others think about me.

I definitely don’t struggle with insecurity over what others think as much as I used to. However, I still find myself overly concerned with the opinions of others at times. I want to be well-liked and popular. For instance, when I discovered that someone I now personally unfollowed my blog Instagram account, I couldn’t help but wonder if I somehow offended them. Then sometimes when I share about my Beautycounter business, I get self-conscious about what others think. Even though Beautycounter is extremely different, MLMs as a whole have such a negative reputation.

Encouragement from Acts 4

Dabo’s focus on God’s opinion reminds me of a study from my BSF (Bible Study Fellowship) class this past fall. A few months ago, we read in Acts 4 how Peter and and John were arrested for proclaiming the healing power of Jesus. Yet even in the face of opposition, they continued to boldly share their faith, and were ultimately only concerned with God’s opinion. The following verse really spoke strongly to me:

“But Peter and John replied, ‘Which is right in God’s eyes: to listen to you or to him? You be the judges.’” -Acts 4:19

This is a sweet reminder to me to keep my eyes on Jesus and the opportunities and calling He has for me, without being so worried about what others think. He has given me this platform to share things that bring me joy, words of encouragement, and His love. I might not be everyone’s cup of tea, but I have to remind myself that is okay. He’s also given me the opportunity through Beautycounter to share the importance of using safer personal care products with others. I have the privilege to be part of a movement that is striving to make safe beauty products a reality for everyone someday in the future.

More than Football

I love Clemson football because of its rich traditions and passionate fan base, and I’m really hoping Clemson brings home their third national title in four seasons tonight. However, I am thankful that win or lose, my Clemson Tigers have an amazing man of godly character leading them! Dabo’s response to Paul Finebaum’s criticism was such a great reminder to me that God’s opinion is the only one that truly matters. Even if you’re not a Clemson fan or football fan, I hope this post encouraged you!

Before, I sign off and get ready to watch the big game, I want to share a photo of the Clemosn pretzels I made in honor of the occasion. I took the green m&m’s out of the “Spooky Mix” I had leftover from Halloween, so I was left with orange & purple. You can see the recipe for my famous covered m&m pretzels in this post. Use whatever m&m’s suit your festive occasion. They are always a hit at parties!

Clemson tailgate snack

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-xoxo Liz

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