Silence My Critic and Write On

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I write as an art.

Speaking words of truth is hard.

It’s even harder when there’s conflict. Doubt. Fear. Criticism. All pulling this way and that way, trying to convince you that going forward isn’t worth it. The task is too big, too much work, and wouldn’t someone else say it better? Wouldn’t someone else be more qualified? Or why would anyone be interested?

But does that matter? Part of following God is going forward even when it seems less sensible or more difficult than the alternative.

You have to push on in spite of the protest inside your head.

The pounding of your heart is the anthem of your calling singing out the importance of the issue, not the dirge of your ability to follow through.

I get nervous. I feel under-qualified. I feel too young.. white.. quiet.. feminine.. conservative.. fearful – anything really – to talk about the things I feel are important in God’s kingdom.

The doubt and fear run deep.

There’s the voice that says the everyday and ordinary aren’t worth writing or sharing and voices without purpose (read: causes) are pointless. Or the normal stuff of life is less than.

My critic says spending time writing is not worthwhile and I’d be better off not.

But the race set before us will have obstacles.

Be they physical, spiritual, or mental. There is guesswork involved: in life, in following through, and everything, really.

There is no way to know at every moment we are on the right path. There might be a few, but the little choices are mostly left up to our discretion. Finding out calling is less about sorting through specific job titles (labeled “callings”) and more about finding that place where the intersection of our humanity and God’s glory can be filtered through our abilities and creations to reflect His Image and glory.

Imago Dei. We are made in the image of God.

God takes what we can give and uses it for his purpose. He is the one and only who can enable us to even give it.

There will be that element of doubt. There will be that fear.

But God. It’s all about Him.

And we can hold on close for the ride of our life, or stay behind and wonder what might have been.

I can give my best, my worst, and my in-between. I can use my voice for good things. I can speak truth. I can apologize when I reach beyond my knowledge and miss. I can hope and speak for peace and unity and equity.

I can share the mundane, the everyday, and trivial with confidence instead of the doubtful persuasion that it’s not good enough or “real” writing. I can mix the epic with the everyday; I can blend calls for justice with reflections on nap-time. Because what’s a cause without face and what’s a writer without their life? I can face the voices that tell me not to write and instead just write and see what comes of it. It’s time to stop undervaluing what I do write and overvaluing what I don’t (but wish I did)

It’s time to silence the critic inside that says I’m not qualified to do big things for God. The critic that keeps me from attempting even the seemingly little things along the way and keeps me minimizing my impact in even the most straightforward of settings.

Instead of wondering where those big things are –and what they are and when — It’s being faithful in the little things – yes, and taking steps toward those big things while continuing to dream and pray and follow and hope and speak and live and hug and love and leave and stay.

This is how I am a writer.

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This post was written in response to a prompt our (in)couraging writers group about dealing with the critic in regards to our writing. (The (in)courage communities are here if you’re interested or want to join one next session!)
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How do you deal with the critic (yourself or someone else) as you write or even just make day to day decisions?
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15 thoughts on “Silence My Critic and Write On

  1. Oh, this is so rich. I want to be at that intersection you describe – it is at that intersection where the “too’s” don’t disqualify you – because they shouldn’t: “I feel too young.. white.. quiet.. feminine.. conservative.. fearful – anything really” – God created you to be in the conversation!

    Beautiful writing – am so glad you do!

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  2. I can relate to so much of what you wrote. So many of their same fears. Beautiful writing, and my best wishes as you work past those fears and doubts. We never know what will happen with our words!

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  3. “The pounding of your heart is the anthem of your calling singing out the importance of the issue, not the dirge of your ability to follow through.” Loved these words and the vividness I felt by the meaning behind them. I truly feel pounding right before I hit “publish” and I pray that one person will be encouraged by that post. Thank you for your insight and vulnerability. Visiting you from (in)couraging writers. Blessings! Mary

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  4. Love this. Truly. Could I just cut and paste for my own post? (Kidding.) ;-) So glad you wrote, and so glad you are using your gifts to His glory. Keep on keepin’ on. Visiting from (in)couraging writers.

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  5. This line —> and wouldn’t someone else say it better? Wouldn’t someone else be more qualified? –> This is something we all struggle with… and the truth is no one can tell your story better than you and no one is more qualified to tell your story than you… Beautifully written brave friend. Write on!

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