Silencing Your Inner Critic
“But now, O LORD, you are our Father; we are the clay, and you are our potter; we are all the work of your hand.” Isaiah 64:8 (ESV)
“Repeat after me — I AM NOT A LOSER.”
Tears streamed down my daughter's 5-year-old face as she caught her breath and whispered, “I am not a loser.” “Louder!” I insisted, grabbing her arms to wave them in the air. “Stand up and say it like you mean it!” A faint smile appeared across her face as she repeated, “I AM NOT A LOSER.”
Moments before, I set up my daughter at the kitchen table to work on an art project, meticulously mapping out details before she commenced with the first brush stroke. I began to clear the breakfast dishes and sweep last night's crumbs while she played.
Before long, I heard her fist hit the table and the crumpling of paper as she exclaimed, “I am such a loser; I mess everything up.”
I ran to the table. “What did you just say?” I asked. She replied, “I am a loser because I colored this blue when it was supposed to be black.”
“You are not a loser. One accident or mistake does not make you a loser. That is not what Momma and Daddy think about you. More importantly, neither does God. You shouldn’t say negative things like that about yourself.”
All words I desperately wanted her to absorb and believe.
Later, before going to bed, I stared into the mirror and felt that familiar twinge of self-recrimination in my own heart. You are not a loser. Tears like those I’d wiped away earlier pricked my eyes because I had my own self-criticizing episode just days prior.
Instead of basking in my younger daughter's squeals and delighting in her birthday party, my mind raced in negative directions.
You still carry these last few pounds — don’t you care at all about how you look?
That mom works, volunteers and juggles a family — why can't you do more?
Some days you don’t even read your Bible — do you really love the Lord?
It embarrasses me to confess this wasn’t the first time my thoughts have run amok, causing such intense self-loathing that I was unable to enjoy anyone or anything present. So, why do I repeatedly lecture my daughter about her self-worth and the importance of giving herself grace when I practice the complete opposite myself?
For me, this cycle started during early adolescence. Insecurity abounded, so loving and accepting myself for how God made me was a challenge.
Despite the praise my parents poured into me, I never felt assured. Outwardly I appeared confident, but inwardly I was a complete mess. After years of telling myself I wasn’t good enough, smart enough, skinny enough or “fill-in-the-blank” enough, I began believing I’d never be enough for myself or anyone else.
Our key verse, Isaiah 64:8, declares we are intentionally and purposefully sculpted: “But now, O LORD, you are our Father; we are the clay, and you are our potter; we are all the work of your hand.” God views us as His work of art — His masterpiece.
Not only that, but God created us in His image, which means we bear some of His qualities. When we believe in Him, we are made into a new creation in Christ.
However, all of our problems don’t vanish in that moment. Overcoming personal challenges and resisting temptations requires a shift in perspective. I know all too well how the enemy attacks, causing me to question if perhaps the Potter made a mistake in my construction. Instead of looking inward, we must look to Christ to see our new, redeemed selves in Him, our only hope. When the father of lies prowls, I cry out to my heavenly Father for Truth to flood my mind and ease my soul before Satan pounces.
So, the next time we’re tempted to speak hurtful words to ourselves, let’s stop and ask: “Is this what my Creator would say to me?” Let us be women who not only speak Truth into others, but soak in the Truth ourselves.
Lord, help me shift my temporal, self-demeaning perspective to an eternal, Christ-honoring one. Please grant me victory in this realm of my life as I truly desire to be an example to my children and others around me. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
TRUTH FOR TODAY:
Genesis 1:27, “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.” (ESV)
2 Corinthians 5:17, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.” (ESV)
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REFLECT AND RESPOND:
How often do you speak words of encouragement to others, but only offer criticism to yourself? What lies from the enemy do you continue to believe instead of resting in Truth from our heavenly Father?
What is one Truth you need to focus on today? Share your thoughts in our comments section!
© 2019 by Laura R. Bailey. All rights reserved.