Silencing my Inner Critic
There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.
I struggle with not feeling good enough. I continually prop myself up against the wall of comparison and make a little mark. When I step back and look, I can see other marks higher than mine. My mind instantly begins comparing. Almost. Not quite. No matter how hard I try, I’m below the line I want to achieve.
I grew up believing that if I was the good girl who did everything right I would be accepted and my life would be rewarded. I believed that if I didn’t create conflict and was easy to get along with I was doing things right. Man, just give me the rules and I will follow them. As a child, being submissive, quiet, and hard- working paid off for me. I made good grades in school. I didn’t cause conflict at home. I was faithful to church. I was the poster child of a good girl and in many ways my efforts were rewarded. The trouble was when things didn’t work out, someone was upset, or I made a mistake. Immediately, feelings of worthlessness would wash over me and I would feel guilty. My self-worth was based on my performance and at some point in time I would fall short.
The apostle Paul struggled with meeting expectations as well. In Romans chapter 7 he shares his inner conflict of wanting to do what is right, but not being able to do it. No matter how hard he tried he could never measure up to the standard of perfection. He wrestled with how guilty he felt because he couldn’t get it right. His mind swirled with all the things he was doing wrong. He wanted nothing more than to be free. Constantly struggling to do everything right was exhausting. He was following the rules, but the rules just kept get harder to keep. He loved God, but his thoughts and actions didn’t always reflect it.
So, what do we do when no matter how hard we try, isn’t good enough? What do we do when in our minds we love God, want to do what is right, but fall short in our daily lives?
Paul gives us the answer in the first two verses of Romans chapter 8. “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death.” Bottom line, we have to stop trying. We have to stop trying to earn the approval of God. We have stop trying to be accepted by our good behavior. We have to stop thinking we can do it.
Trying to live a life good enough is like trying to live under the Law. The Law only reminds us of what we are doing wrong. It sets a standard we can never achieve. The Law was never designed to save us. It was designed to reveal to us how we fall short of God’s standard. God didn’t create me to be a good girl. He created me knowing that I would need to be a redeemed girl. The truth is Jesus completely and permanently accepts me, no matter what. He unconditionally loves me. He took all my shortcomings, sins, and failures and made them His own. In exchange, He gave me His righteousness. A righteousness that God cannot reject no matter what. My redemption is complete.
So, the next time my inner critic begins to chirp at me about not being good enough, I am going to stop, breath, and tell it to be quiet because there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ.
I am enough because He is enough.
Between a husband, 2 sons, and teaching high school my sanity is found in running and Starbucks. I have a circle of running friends who inspire me to be authentic and real as I live a life of faith before them.