Monday Reflection: Moving Toward 2012 -- Silence Your Worst Critic!
By Rae Lewis-Thornton
December 12, 2011
This piece originally appeared in Rae's blog, Diva Living With AIDS.
Can you imagine the Angel of the Lord coming to you and predicting your future? Like #ForReal. Telling you this thing is going to happen beyond anything you could have ever thought for yourself. I know I've said it often, if God had told me that my life would be what it is today, I would have told God to go sit down somewhere with that craziness. For Real! This is especially true when I made a transition to AIDS and there was no hope for a future.
Live past the 3 years most people with AIDS died? Nope, I couldn't see that for my future. Covers of magazines, an Emmy Award and a ministry that enriches lives? Nope, I wouldn't have thought it! "Why would God use me?" Is what I would have asked.
Come on, you can be honest, if an angel sat in your living room you probably would have thought you were going mad. Well, so did Zechariah when the angel visited him about the birth of his baby boy John the Baptist.
Can you imagine? Here Zechariah is old as dirt and the angel tells him that he and his wife Elizabeth are going to have a child. Now at 90 years plus, Zechariah knew his penis was dead. I mean he's been looking at it for 90 plus years and he should know if his penis works better than anyone right? And even if there was Viagra, which there wasn't, what about his wife Elizabeth?
Come on, let's be for real, she couldn't have a baby when she was a young sweet thang in those child bearing years. And now she hasn't had a period in over 30 years, how the hell is a baby going to happen?
Zechariah asked the Angel of the Lord, "How can I be sure of this? I am an old man and my wife is well along years." But I'm sorry to say that Zechariah was his own worst enemy. God had sent a gift and he just put his big foot right into his mouth, just like many of us do.
Yep! Sometimes we are our own worst enemy. We speak negativity into a situation before it can even blossom. We doubt our abilities before we have even given them the chance. Sometimes we just need to shut it down and that's just what God did to Zechariah, he silenced him.
Yep, during the time of Elizabeth's pregnancy Zechariah couldn't talk. The angel said, "I am Gabriel. I stand in the presence of God ... I have been sent to tell you this good news. And now you will not be able to speak until the day it happens because you did not believe wife my words." (Luke 1:18-20.)
Now to be authentic to the story, there was at least one time that God gave Zechariah his voice, and you know, it was simply to say something positive and then he silenced him yet again until the birth and naming of John. (Luke 1:67-75.) It reminds me of the saying, "If you can't say something nice, then say nothing at all." But don't you know this saying can also apply to your own life?
Sometimes we are our worst critic and we do more emotional damage to ourselves than necessary . We internalize the negativity. Yep! We start thinking and before we know it, we've mumbled it to ourselves and even mumbled it to someone else, things like this: "I couldn't possibly do that," "there's, no way I can make that work," "that's not enough money," "that's not how it's typically done," "I'm not good enough, even in relationships," "how can you love someone like me, I don't deserve you," "I'm not capable," and so on.
We kill in our spirit all the reasons why that good thing that God has or wants to bless us with can happen.
The Bible says, "As a man thinketh so is he." It also says, "Life and death is in the power of the tongue." Practice speaking goodness into your life. Start believing you can do that thing. Start thinking you're worthy. Don't be afraid of the gifts and talents that God has given you and you have taken the time to develop over the years.
Without Chance There is No Opportunity! Rev. Jesse Jackson taught me a valuable lesson during his bids for the president. He would always say, "If you don't run, you are guaranteed to lose." There is so much truth in this statement and I remember this in every venture I go into. You must be willing to take a chance. You cannot allow the past to hinder your future.
In order to take that chance you must silence your internal critic that says no! Most often it runs on autopilot because you lean on it like a crutch. Shut Sybil's Ass Down!!!
You see, your inner critic speaks from your past and selectively calls on those things that went wrong. From A to Z, your inner critic thinks it's keeping you safe from future failures so you don't trip up.
In reality what it's doing is treating you worse off than if you had pursued that thing. It's like this: instead of actually keeping you safe, your inner critic makes you feel even more miserable and it stifles your growth by paralyzing you in fear and negativity. You cannot determine your future by your past. That's a set up waiting to happen.
Tomorrow is always another day with fresh possibilities!
This is what I want you to practice as a way to help silence your inner critic. When the inner critic says no you can't do that, remember what happened the last time?
I want you to actually sit down and write out what happened the last time. Then I want you to make a list, one with the good and the one with the bad from this particular experience and I promise you that there will be a good in what you thought or actually was a bad.
There is always something you learn from every situation that will help you in the next situation. It does not even matter if there was only one good thing, or one lesson, every lesson is valuable. It's about how I can use yesterday's experience to help further tomorrow, rather than not have a tomorrow. God wants you to soar, and there is nothing from your past that says you can't.
Allow your inner voice to speak life into your future! Once and for all, put Sybil to rest as you move into 2012! Silence Your Worst Critic, YOU!
Post Script: Please visit the other post in this series
Rae Lewis-Thornton Speaks
Rae Lewis-Thornton is an Emmy Award-winning AIDS activist who rose to national acclaim when she told her story of living with AIDS in a cover story for Essence Magazine. She has lived with HIV for 27 years and AIDS for 19. Rae travels the country speaking and challenging stereotypes and myths about HIV/AIDS. She has a Master of Divinity degree and is currently working on her Ph.D. in Church History. Rae has been featured on Nightline, Dateline NBC, BET and The Oprah Winfrey Show, as well as in countless magazines and newspapers, including Emerge, Glamour, O, the Oprah Winfrey Magazine, Jet, Ebony, the Washington Post and the Chicago Tribune, to name a few. She earned the coveted Emmy Award for a first-person series on living With AIDS for Chicago's CBS News.
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