May 26, 2016

Silence Your Inner Critic

In the Bible, Romans 12:2 tells us “do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” Another translation expresses the same thought by saying “…let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think.” The process of renewing our mind and changing our thoughts is one that God cares deeply about because he understands the impact it will have on our life. It is absolutely possible to change our thoughts, our habits, and our lives.

If I had to guess, your inner critic has turned up the volume since Tangled on Friday night. Your new awareness of the critic’s presence and your increased ability to control it pose a significant threat to the critic’s influence. You’ll want to understand that the critic will work hard to sabotage your efforts at controlling it. You’ve probably heard lies like: “this is too much work, or I’ll never get good enough at this for it to make a difference.” How about “this was great information for ___________, but I don’t have a problem with what she described?” Remember that awareness is half the battle, and that every person has their own version of an inner critic. The week leading up to Tangled, my inner critic seemed to have gained access to a megaphone. I’ve been working hard at controlling my critic for years, and I’ve made some powerful progress, but there are still times when I seem to lose the battle. Even after calling it out, creating new thoughts, changing my environment, and calling in reinforcements, I was still feeling vulnerable to the lies in my head. It was especially fun when I found myself crying at a meeting with the other senior leaders at our church, and then shaking my finger at one of the other pastors while saying through more tears “don’t you think I can’t handle this!” My critic had convinced me that vulnerability in that setting was equal to weakness. This is a lie I’ve believed to some degree or other since I was a little girl. It was only after extending compassion to myself, and doing the scary work of calling in MORE reinforcements that I was able to hear God’s truth over the lies.

Needless to say, those were not my favorite moments of the week, but I share them with you now so you won’t be discouraged when you seem to be losing to the lies in your head too. With practice, prayer, and a lot of compassion for yourself, you can and will learn to control your inner critic.

Questions for Reflection:

  1. There are specific times, places, and people that make us especially vulnerable to our inner critic, what do they look like in your life? How can you create healthy boundaries, or make other adjustments that would prevent the critic from having the upper hand?
  2. In the moments when your efforts to control the critic seem to be failing, what would it look like to show compassion to yourself?

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