Dear Inner Critic
Dear inner critic,
I would call you friend, you have been around that long, but you are far from being kind to me. You tell me all the ways that I am not good enough; not as woman, not as a wife, not as a mother, and especially not as a Christian. You are constantly pointing out how much I lack and today you called me fat and ugly and old, you pointed out the rolls on both my body and my neck, and I agreed with you.
I had a slight melt down in front of my family, because once again I was listening to you rather than Jesus. My son kept apologizing to me that I was upset, as though he had some responsibility in it. My husband told me he loved me and my family told me I was fine just the way I was, but instead of letting their love in I only heard your voice yelling louder that not only was I wrong and disgusting physically, but I was once again failing at being a wife and scarring my children for life.
No, you definitely are no friend of mine. Religious yes, oh boy are you dressed in your best religious clothing, looking down at me from your long pointed religious nose, pursing your lips, squinting your eyes as you shake your head back and forth at me. You are constantly telling me what a disappointment I am to the Lord and to every Christian who knows me. To be honest, I would like a break, if you don't mind, I am exhausted from your nagging.
I love Jesus and want to please Him more than anything else in my life. He spends so much time whispering His truths into my heart and all I want to do is shout it from the rooftops, but there you are with your wagging finger pointing it in my face saying things like, "really? Just a bit extra aren't we?" You disguise yourself in other women's voices and faces that pop into my head, but I know it's really you.
My husband supports every. single. thing. I am attempting to do as does my mom, my sister, every person who knows me best, yet your nagging voice comes to me in the form of strangers with folded arms saying things like, "there is no way you can try and do all that and be a good mother. No one could possibly attempt all that. I am rooting for you to fail!"
Yes, I want to serve God and His kingdom but I also want to help support my family financially so we can let them play soccer, and have beds or maybe one day own another vehicle. But there you are, stomping on my heart. Should I want to be a banker, a school teacher, or a barista I don't believe your accusing voice would be so loud, but maybe I am wrong? Maybe you are just as loud no matter what.
I have cried and cried over if this is OK with the Lord or not, no matter how much support I get from people I love and cheer me to go for it because your voice never stops screaming in my head.
But then....the fighter in me stands up again. I seek God, I ask for His wisdom, I tell Him it's all His, I give HIm my life and I ask for ears to hear and eyes to see and want to be surrendered to Him, and I believe I am. Why on earth do I trust your voice of criticism more than my own relationship with a God I speak to daily?
You know what, inner critic, you're right about one thing... I will get it wrong, I will make mistakes, I will let myself, my family and God down sometimes, but that is not my aim. I am not ignoring Him or them, but I am going to learn to ignore you. God will love me even if I fail, He will love me and redirect me even if I get off track. Your voice comes from both my fear of failing and my pride from thinking I can worry myself out of failing.
I. AM. EXHAUSTED. I can't live my life in fear of you anymore.
What you don't know is, I know your real name. You call yourself righteousness, you call yourself self-preservation and even safety, but in the end, I know your true name is nothing but condemnation.
I find I am not so different from Paul when he said,
"Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death. For what the law was powerless to do because it was weakened by the flesh, God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh to be a sin offering. And so he condemned sin in the flesh, in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fully met in us, who do not live according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.
Those who live according to the flesh have their minds set on what the flesh desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires. The mind governed by the flesh is death, but the mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace. The mind governed by the flesh is hostile to God; it does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so. Those who are in the realm of the flesh cannot please God."
I love God, He loves me, I love and live in the Spirit and so I don't have to put up with you anymore. I know you will still try and speak to me, my religious guilt gene runs deep, but Jesus came to set captives free and I will run with Him until He does.
I only serve one master, and it isn't you.