Engaging Your Inner Critic | Series Message 3 of 4 in Our Inner Critic and Our God
Ephesians 4:20-23 “That, however, is not the way of life you learned when you heard about Christ and were taught in him in accordance with the truth that is in Jesus. You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.”
I can remember being told when I was growing up to ignore the bullies who made fun of me. They were schoolmates and cousins, and they teased me about the excessive amount of hair I had on my arms and legs. I’m a girl; I’m not supposed to have all that. But I did, and I caught hell for it as they say. Kids can be relentless, all the way up to high school.
The most damaging bully that I had to deal with was the one no one even knew was tormenting me. She began very early in my life, and she had all manner of material to use against me. As a little girl of 7-8, I was repeatedly reminded by her that others would think me nasty if they knew what I had “allowed” people to do to me. She was very convincing.
As I got older, my actions added fuel to her fire. She was now able to remind me that my actions were disgusting and totally made me unwanted. I grew up under her criticism to feel unworthy and dirty. I could tell that I was smart because of my grades, but even in this area, she won. She reminded me over and over again that someone was going to find me out one day. I doubted myself because of her.
I’m glad to say that she, my inner critic, is dead. She deserved it. Killing her took time and effort and being born again in Christ. I had to engage my inner critic full on. We had to wrestle with what was truth and what was not. I had to separate out what was real and factual from the layers of interpretation that had been piled on top of that.
She tries to come back to visit every now and then, but I totally see her for what she is now. It’s not a relationship that I’m willing to entertain even for a few minutes.
But much like Job’s friends whom today we’d call frienemies, she was used by God to push me closer to Him. She had a purpose in God’s hands. The enemy meant her for harm, and God turned all that harm into a beautiful testimony to His faithfulness and deep love.
So I said I had to engage her. How did I engage my inner critic? In it’s simplistic form, since we only have a bit of time here,
- I acknowledged the thoughts that I was having and the negative things that I was telling myself in various areas of my life. You have to call them out. See them. Let them know that you see them. Write them down even.
- I acclaimed what I knew to be true, what I wanted to be true, and what God had to say about what is true. In other words, I spoke truth over my life. My previous circumstances and actions were not who I was or where I was going. To acclaim means to announce enthusiastically and publicly, so it’s quite a powerful step.
- I then acted those acclamations out in my life. I lived like what I wanted to be. I believed what God said about me. I acted on the truth and not on the interpretation of the truth that my inner critic was touting.
- And then I assessed how things were going with this and began all over. Several times daily as a matter of fact. It’s a circular process.
After I came out on the other side of my self-bullying, I coined the A4 Mindset Method and taught it to a few people that I was life coaching at the time. I still use it regularly to keep the little witch from parking herself in my head for any stretch of time. I’m fairly confident that I’ve conquered her for all intents and purposes, because when our confidence is in the one who can do all things, then we can have courage to move out each day and face what seems scary and hard.
So today I invite you to engage your inner critic. Use the mindset method that I outlined here. Adapt it if you need or feel compelled. Share with me your thoughts and processes. Let’s kick the inner critic to the curb by being full of Christ and in touch with our Heavenly Father.
Next time, we conclude our January series with a focus on taking hold of the narrative that’s being told over our lives. Our stories are powerful to create our realities, and we should never leave our stories to our sometimes inaccurate inner voice.
Impact for the Kingdom.
Connie Benoit Sirois
Author | Speaker | Trainer
We are called to love others as ourselves. Our communication gives us continual opportunities to do this. We should never miss a chance to honor others. I’d love for you to read about my mission.
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