I don’t know about you but I am my own worst critic. There is a definitely a healthy amount of competition for the title but I am painfully aware of my shortcomings–to a fault. My failures as a leader, a father, a husband and most importantly as a child of God are never too far from my mind and can easily consume my thoughts and rob my peace if I let them. I am a personal perfectionist. At times I am reticent to show myself the same grace and room to grow that I would urge upon anyone else.
Maybe all this doesn’t apply to you and it’s not a struggle for you. But if it is, here is something that has helped me. First of all you have to realize that this struggle I am describing, well at it’s core it’s a pride thing. Sorry, but it is. Holding yourself to a higher standard than you hold anyone else has got pride written all over it. You are made out of clay not iron. Stop being shocked and indignant that you are weak. Embrace it, humble yourself and receive the grace God wants to give you.
Most importantly you need to fire yourself from the role of critic and hire yourself as your own personal coach. I’m serious. And it’s a huge upgrade. Critics are worthless anyway. All a critic does is pass judgment on the work of another. There is no cost or sacrifice to criticize. You don’t have to be invested. Criticism is cheap. Coaches on the other-hand have something to contribute. Their job is to move a person or team from one place to another. There is a goal in mind. They are not just heaping scorn or praise on you for the sake of it but rather seeking to bring you to victory. Urge yourself on to the greatness God’s Holy Spirit has put within you.
You have to shift gears from criticizing yourself all the time and learn how to coach yourself towards where God wants you to be. Part of this will involve learning how to correctly talk to yourself. In my heart the voice of a critic often rises up; slamming my performance and condemning me for not doing better. But that’s not helpful. A good coach doesn’t sugar-coat a bad performance, and sometimes the post-game talk can be bitter medicine but it is never hopeless. It’s good to be broken over your sin but not helpful to wallow in self-loathing. So instead of merely tearing yourself to pieces, admit your failures and them spend time coming up with a plan for next time.
And next time you find yourself rising up in judgment against yourself remember something, you are the blood-bought son or daughter of the King of Kings. Don’t you dare talk about yourself that way!
Psalm 43:5 Why are you cast down, O my soul? And why are you disquieted within me? Hope in God; For I shall yet praise Him, The help of my countenance and my God.