August 21, 2014

My Worst Critic

Today, inspired by Jon Acuff's post in which he did the same, I took a photograph of my worst critic.

I caught her in a moment. I snapped her photo so that I could see her at a vulnerable moment and remind her that she really holds no power and that she doesn't always tell the truth.

I took her picture so that I could look right at her and tell her that she's not always right when she tells me things including (but certainly not limited to):

  • You are not a nice person.
  • You don't deserve good things to happen to you.
  • Good things aren't happening to you, and it's because you aren't trying hard enough.
  • You're bitter because you think you aren't good enough, and you're not.
What a mean person this critic is! Nobody would want to hang out with a person like this, would they? And yet she was close enough for me to snap a photograph.

Are you ready to see her?

(I know you aren't surprised.  These types of posts are usually pretty predictable.)

I had this empty post field open already when I clicked on Jon's tweet that led me to his blog post, and it was incredibly well-timed.  I was literally preparing to write an honest-but-not-very-nice post about myself in which I shook my fists to the Heavens in frustration and anger and bitterness about the fact that I'm not where I want to be yet.

Worse and much scarier - that I don't know where I want to be yet.  At least not definitively.

I do know some honest facts, though (my critic just doesn't have a very nice, tactful or loving way of saying them):

  • I'm afraid. 
  • I'm anxious.
  • I'm having a hard time being happy for anyone right now when good things happen to them.  Not because I don't think they deserve them, but because I don't understand why they aren't happening for me. 
  • I'm unfulfilled, professionally.
Look, I know what I'm doing wrong (though, perhaps "wrong" is the critic's word and I should try to come up with another one).   I've read all the devotional emails and heard all the sermons that remind me that until I fill up my life with Christ and focus on His word, I will not feel truly fulfilled in other aspects of my life, either.

Even THIS WEEK, I read a devotional that should have made me feel better.  It spoke directly to what I've been feeling lately.  Here's an excerpt:

I know some of you are ready to give up and quit. Some mountain is standing between you and the dream you thought was sure to become a reality. You think God has lost track of where you are and what you are going through. He hasn’t. That is a lie from the pit and smells like smoke. Don’t buy it!
I know you don’t understand why a loving God would allow so much pain to saturate this broken world and perpetuate such loss and hurt. I don’t either. But God’s ways are so much higher than my ways, and His thoughts are for my eternal good – not my temporary comfort.
The world is broken and hearts (including mine) are so heavy right now.  I'm frustrated with the state of the world, both globally and in my own little bubble and that mean girl up there in the mirror is telling me that I shouldn't allow myself to feel my own little first-world problems when there are "much bigger, worse things happening everywhere else." To an extent, she is right...

But I do need to address her, head-on, and face the truths that I'm fighting against with every fiber of my being.

A lot of posts and articles have made the rounds lately, in the wake of the sudden and tragic death of Robin Williams about how depression and anxiety are liars. I've never wanted to admit that I may struggle with one or both of those things (not outside of the postpartum anxiety I had for several months after Z was born, anyway) because they aren't "as bad as some people really have it."  But that's another lie, because I don't have to quanitfy OR qualify my feelings against those of others.

If I'm laying in bed, letting that inner critic, that Mean Girl, tell me all of those items in that first bulleted list and believing them, then it's time to make a change.

There's no revelation or special ending paragraph to this post that details what I'm going to do or how I'm going to do it. Because right now I'm still in the frustrated phase. I am reading devotional emails and cognitively knowing and understanding what the issue is and what I can and should be doing, but right now I'm stubbornly digging in my heels and folding my arms and just wanting to be mad. Openly inviting my worst critic into the conversation.

But maybe calling her out is the first step. She, led by the lies of the Enemy and the untruths and deception of anxiety, is not the boss of me. I won't let her win.

As I write this, I get tears in my eyes because I know that I do try every day to focus on love and positivity, but that sometimes that's just not enough.  But I'll get there.  My story isn't even close to over. Way, way, way down the path I can see where I want to be. I've just got to get over that mountain first.

No comments:

Post a Comment