| from Lauren Roman |
For those of us who have an obnoxiously active inner critic, the struggle to overcome that destructive voice can be a daily battle. It actually goes deeper than that. It’s a battle fought not one day at a time, but one action, one decision, one word, even one thought at a time!
If you or your children struggle with this, you know as well as I do that fighting such a continual battle gets exhausting. While I’m asking God to help me defeat this unrelenting critic once and for all, His strategy seems to be quite different. As Jesus explains in John 15:4-5, a fruitful life requires dependence – ongoing effort to rely on His strength, moment by moment. That’s the only path to victory.
It’s as if I want Him to drop an atomic bomb, while He wants to empower me for hand-to-hand combat with Him fighting at my side.
A wartime analogy is unpleasant, but does paint an accurate picture. We want the miracle, the lightning bolt, the one-and-done path to a transformed life. But when it comes to true transformation and sanctification – becoming more like Christ – it just doesn’t work that way. God leads us through a lifelong process of incremental progress.
Following Jesus is a step-by-step walk of faith, which requires willingness to risk. The inner critic is inherently averse to risk, even the God-ordained variety.
After all, if you step out in faith, all sorts of bad things could happen! Why risk stepping into the unknown, when you can stay nice and safe where you are? Granted, maybe it’s not the best place to be… but it’s a known quantity. Maybe you think God is calling you to something better… but what if you misheard? What if you go the wrong way and end up in a big sinkhole?!
Our enemy can wield the inner critic as a very effective weapon to discourage and derail us.
There’s a famous quote from Theodore Roosevelt that speaks to this. Although the critic and the warrior are two different people in his analogy, it’s easy to imagine our inner critic and inner warrior in their place:
“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”
A harsh inner critic can cause debilitating self-doubt. I’ve taken some huge risks in my life that God has turned into amazing blessings… at other times, discouraging self-talk has kept me from stepping into the arena at all.
That’s an easy win for the enemy. If the inner critic keeps us from even trying, we’ve already forfeited the game!
This is why Dr. Kathy talks about teaching children to “fail well.” If your children want to give their wholehearted best effort, they have to overcome the inner critic and be willing to fail. And you have to be ready to dust them off, encourage them, and get them back into the arena.
Sometimes the biggest win is defeating self-doubt and simply showing up.
Author Lauren Roman is a creative communicator, truth teller, and enthusiastic encourager who captivates audiences of all kinds. Her eclectic career began in her teens with a starring role on the ABC soap All My Children, continued with more TV and film (Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Nashville, Grace Unplugged), and now encompasses speaking, singing, and writing. Lauren inspires others toward true identity and freedom in Christ, sharing from her own journey as a “recovering perfectionist” with bold transparency, emotion, humor, and practical biblical insights. Uniting ladies of all ages and life stages, she addresses tough topics like recovery, food/body image issues, sexual integrity, identity/self-acceptance, and mental health, sparking important multi-generational conversations. For the past decade, Lauren has delivered impactful keynotes for women, youth, and pro-life ministry events. Her messages reach thousands of parents and families through her role as a Celebrate Kids Associate Writer and Speaker. A lifelong poet, Lauren is thrilled to launch her debut children’s book Think Good, Be Good! in 2021. For more information or to schedule Lauren for your next live or virtual event, please visit: laurenroman.com.