There is a certain benefit in a critic.
I’ve been mulling over my post about silencing my inner critic and I realized there is another side to the story.
The critic I wrote about is the dehabilitating inner-critic. It’s the one one who tells you “stop trying” “you can’t” “you’re not good enough” and asks “who do you think you are?” The one that shuts down your creative process completely.
But there is another critic, one who refines you and your message. It’s the gentle whisper (or loud hollering!) saying maybe that’s not the right way, maybe that story is best kept close, maybe there’s a better time or place or manner or attitude to tell it in. It checks for content, accountability, and honesty.
The refining critic encourages instead of discourages. It tells you to strive for better and to show the whole love of God through your writing instead of our own cracked version of love. Or it tells you to share the broken version so we can see God shining through the cracks.
Sometimes refining might sound like the silencing but there’s a difference between exhortation and criticsim.
Exhortation includes an emphasis on hope and future improvement. Silencing criticism just says “This is bad” which is easily confused with “you are bad”.
The silencing critic shuts the process down.
The refining critic breathes fresh life into your art.
Our inner critic can have two voices: one that attacks our worth and one the constructively interacts with our need to create.
We have to choose which to listen to.