It’s dark and late. I’ve tucked my babies into bed, rocked my newborn to sleep, and kissed the love of my life, Miles, goodnight. I curl up and begin to try fall asleep myself when suddenly I hear the voice in my head. You know the voice? It’s the inner critic. It starts out slowly. You really shouldn’t have gotten angry so easily today. You never encouraged Miles today. Based on what you said to your friend on the phone today, she probably thinks you’re a terrible mother. As the night gets darker, so do my thoughts. The real battle begins between my mind and my hate-filled, lying inner demons.
You’re a bad mother. Your poor kids, they deserve more. Miles has to deal with so much from you—you’re high-maintenance and needy. You’ve put on weight. You’re fat and so unattractive. As tears begin streaming down my face, I decide to move to the couch, regroup, and have a cup of tea. It’s silent, it’s dark, and the inner demons come back for their most sinister words yet. You’re worthless. Nobody cares about you. This world would be so much better if you weren’t even here. I feel alone in the dark and finally cry myself to sleep.
This attack happened to me when I dealt with post-natal depression after my fifth child, nine years ago. I want to encourage you! I found freedom from these critical, horrible thoughts, and so can you! Critical words hurt, and too often, our inner critic is what navigates our lives. I lived this for way too long. It affected my routine, my parenting, my marriage, and my relationships, but I overcame by seeking help and fighting back with the truth Jesus lovingly taught me.
So often, we women especially believe the lies and the negative words of the inner critic. Perhaps you had an abusive parent. When your self-esteem is at its lowest, a giant rerun of all they said to you plays throughout your day, making you hesitant to take on tasks. Or maybe you’re gifted with a career you love, but all the mothers around you stay home with their kids full time. Although you feel called to be both a mother and have a successful career, the inner critic attacks with, There is no chance you can do both well. Maybe you’ve put on a few pounds and the kids want you to swim with them, but your inner critic stops you with, You’re way too fat for a swimsuit.
Women, it’s time to stand up against this epidemic in our minds, and start seeing it for what it is: lies. We must reject those inner demons in the name of Jesus. Through His power, and from His love and acceptance, we can begin to do the things that God has gifted us for and be the women of God we’re meant to be.
Is this possible? Can we smash the inner critic and find true peace? Yes! Below are three practical steps toward freedom you can take today.
Three Ways to Fight Your Inner Critic
- Call the critic out. Call the demonic thoughts of worthlessness what they are: lies. Ask God to reveal the unhealthy thoughts, and start calling each one out. Say it out loud whenever you can. “That is a lie. I will not believe this. This is not what God thinks of me.”
- Bring the critic into the light. Tell someone what you’re struggling with. The enemy wants you to stay in the dark. He tries to convince us that we don’t need to tell anyone. Bring it into the light, whether it be with a trusted friend, your spouse, your pastor, a medical doctor, or a professional counselor. Better yet, tell each one of those! This will give you the full support you need—body, mind, and spirit—to live your life to the fullest, the way God intends.
- Replace the critic’s lies with truth from the Word of God.
Lie: I’m a failure nobody cares about.
Truth: For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus … Ephesians 2:10 NLT
Lie: I’ll never be able to change.
Truth: … anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun! 2 Corinthians 5:17 NLT
Lie: I will never be able to reach my full potential.
Truth: Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think. Ephesians 3:20 NLT
Lie: I’ve done too many bad things for God to forgive me.
Truth: But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness. 1 John 1:9 NLT
My prayer for you is to no longer be tormented by inner demons. You can receive a true miracle of deliverance through God’s power working in you! You can smash the inner critic who tries to suck the very life out of you. With God’s power, you can begin to thrive as the woman God designed you to be.