I have no idea who you are or what your story is. Maybe you’re a single mom reading this with kids shrieking, a sink overflowing with dirty dishes, and you’ve literally locked yourself in the bathroom to breathe alone for four minutes. No judgment here if that’s you!
Maybe you’re a 20-something aimlessly seeking to find what you’re supposed to do with your life, and wondering if God actually wants to use you greatly to build His Kingdom.
Maybe you just landed your dream job and can’t shake the relentless voice in the back of your mind saying, “You think you can do this? HA! Good one. You don’t have what it takes.”
Social media makes us believe everyone except us has it together, but the more and more I sit at coffee tables talking with friends and leaders about Jesus, the more I’m learning we all have an inner critic, and our inner critic is usually the harshest and most unforgiving voice directed at us.
So how do we silence our inner critic? Here are a few strategies God has taught me about how to move forward and hear His voice above all others:
The first step in silencing our inner critic is to identify and call out the lies we’ve come to believe.
Who is someone you talk to on the phone more than anyone else? Maybe it’s your best friend, a spouse…whoever it is, you know their voice pretty well, right? So if you called them and someone else answered pretending to be them, it wouldn’t be long until you realized it wasn’t them who answered.
The same is true of our relationship with Jesus. The more we listen to God’s voice (in our quiet time, in His Word), the easier it becomes to recognize what voice is His versus the critical lies we hear from the enemy. Recognize the untrue things you’ve come to believe about yourself and call them out for what they are—lies.
Once you identify the lies that have filled your heart and mind, replace them with God’s truth.
Here are some examples of what God says about you in His Word:
I’m more than enough. (Romans 8:38-39, Exodus 3:11-12, 2 Corinthians 12:9)
I am fearfully and wonderfully made. (Psalm 139:13-16, Genesis 1:27)
God has a perfect plan for me and I am chosen. (1 Peter 2:9, Ephesians 2:10, Jeremiah 29:11)
God is with me. (Isaiah 41:10, Joshua 1:9, Psalm 23:4)
Maybe journal them down or talk with a friend about them. I do this about once a week, and I’ve found that God’s truth is the BEST way to silence my inner critic.
Another way to turn down the volume of our inner critic is to turn up the voice of God. This often requires the intentional act of unplugging.
Sometimes, it’s fasting from social media for a few days. Other times it’s taking a hike in nature. A lot of times my inner critic comes from comparison, so for me mindfully lowering the volume on everyone else and simply spending time in the presence of God is a powerful way to reset. I love the way Matthew 11:28-30 (MSG) puts it:
“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.”
Whatever it looks like for you, unplug and bring your insecurities to Jesus and allow Him to bring you freedom.
A lack of confidence doesn’t have to be the end of your calling. Whether you’re a mom, employee, friend, sister, boss, coworker….whatever your calling is, know that it’s given to you by God and don’t let your inner critic make you think otherwise. I love the saying: “God doesn’t call the qualified, He qualifies the called.” God calls you and then equips you for what He calls you do. He will give you the grace to do it! He’ll train you to do it, too. When God has a high calling on your life, He is never skimpy on training. That’s why we must embrace the call and allow Him to work within us, in spite of our inner critic.
When we let God lead the way, simply put, it isn’t about us anymore. It’s on Him to navigate the way, and trust me, He’s REALLY good at His job. Fear can’t win our minds. The critic can’t win. Let God’s truth win and point others to Him.
Ana Munoz lives in Las Vegas, Nevada. She is passionate about leadership, fun, a good cup of coffee, and encouraging others to unleash their fullest potential. You can follow her on Instagram.