Feeling inferior comes from within; that inner critic — the voice that insults you every time you make a mistake… “Oh that was stupid, stupid!” “When will you ever get it right!” “Like you’re going to succeed — what a joke.” That attacker is also a destroyer. It will keep you from trying new things for fear of failing, and it will stop you from becoming all that God intends you to be. Don’t let the ruthless critic win!
We have to learn to silence this inner critic. But how? By practicing mindfulness. What is that? It’s paying attention and being aware of your mental patterns in a non-judgmental manner, just like the grace that Jesus shows us. His Holy Spirit guides and provides wisdom, if we can learn to listen and tap into it. Sometimes it is as simple as stepping back, and simply listening to those inner voices in your head. When you hear the critic, tell it truth that comes from the Bible. What does God say about you? Find verses about identity in the New Testament, and repeat those verses to yourself. For example, let’s say you did something like forgot to check your voicemail and missed an important call. The inner critic starts to say something like this: “Oh, you’re such an idiot!” Instead say this to yourself: “I have direct access to the throne of grace through Jesus Christ.” (Heb. 4:14-16.)
One of the benefits of a mindfulness practice is changing your mind from negative thoughts to positive God-thoughts. It’s transforming your mind through the renewing of it by God’s Word! Spend some time in the next few months cultivating a mindfulness practice. Start by finding scriptures that speak of your identity. Here are a few to get you going:
“I am assured that God works for my good in all circumstances.” (Rom. 8:28.)
“I cannot be separated from the love of God.” (Rom. 8:31-39.)
“I am confident that God will complete the good work He started in me.” (Phil. 1:6.)
“I have not been given a spirit of fear but of power, love and a sound mind.” (2 Tim. 1:7.)
Pay attention to your thoughts and repeat these scriptures to yourself when that inner critic begins to speak. The usual tirade of thoughts filled with self-blame and shame will try to invade your mind again, and you will have to fight against the barrage. At some point, you will begin to notice a change in yourself. You’ll take a deep breath, and feel at peace knowing who you are, and the destructive thinking will loose its grip. You have God’s power to not to believe the thoughts of the past. You can choose to stop beating yourself up, and remember who you are in Christ! Choose to identify with who God says you are! Don’t indulge in negative thoughts, and replace them with positive ones. Even if at first you don’t really feel different, transforming your mind into Christ’s truth will happen. It takes time and practice. Be intentional – you can do all things through Christ who strengthens you! (Phil. 4:13.)
Are you ready to silence that inner critic? If you are, then just stop, and listen to your thoughts. Truly listen. Pray. Breathe. Listen. It all starts with one prayer: God show me who I really am.