We all feel hopeful in the new year, until the inner critic threatens to choke all creativity. What keeps you inspired to keep living boldly?
As an engineer, I was always taught to check and verify the accuracy of my work. As a writer, I push myself in the opposite direction as my pen hits the paper. When it comes to art and creativity, it’s important to express myself as clearly as possible without holding reserved seats for criticism and naysayers.
Problem is, I am often my worst critic.
Analyze yourself too closely and it’s like sucking oxygen away from a flame.
Are discouraging words threatening to blow out the inspiration God’s placed on your heart too?
As we step out into a heightened focus around our One Words for 2011, we need to be careful of our inner critic, who loves to zero in on our weaknesses and limitations.
After all, we are not into the work of self-made projects or self-improvement resolutions.
We are taking a journey down a series of experiences and conversations with God this year.
God is the author with the pen, paintbrush or the quill to the music sheet. God has pronounced you His symphony, His Van Gogh, His Great Expectations.
If you’re like me, you might be rolling your eyes at this point.
With an inner critic very much alive and well, what hope does someone like me have?
Most days, my thought life reads more like “Low Expectations.”
Like any Master Artist, God had a few words to share with me.
Stop trying so hard to be someone special.
What if you actually believed you already are special?
I love you.
The Faith Triangle
Three words that can change my world.
God. loves. me.
How important are these three words?
Think back to 7th grade science period with Mr. Lindquist.
The Fire Triangle is
“a simple model for understanding the ingredients necessary for most fires. The triangle illustrates a fire requires three elements: heat, fuel, and… oxygen.” (via Wikipedia)
Without heat, a fire can’t begin or continue. Heat is the ignition.
Without fuel, a fire stops.
Without oxygen, a fire simply extinguishes.
When we compare these three ingredients to the three found in Scripture —
“and hope does not disappoint,
because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts
through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.” Romans 5:5
— we find the ingredients to keep our faith alive.
In The Faith Triangle:
The heat that ignites our faith is the Holy Spirit.
The fuel that keeps our faith burning is hope.
The oxygen to our souls is the love of God.
Maybe you’re like me when I pray —
“I love you, God” rolls off the tongue more easily
than “You love me, God.”
Encouraged by a Sunday sermon I heard a few weeks ago, I started meditating on God’s love for me, whenever I started feeling choked by critical voices.
It’s definitely easier to beat myself up for what I could’ve, should’ve, would’ve done.
But I decided to say “You love me” to God as a heartfelt experiment rebuttal, even though I felt kinda silly doing it.
My hope in God’s poetic work kept me humble enough to try it and the Holy Spirit obviously has been interceding for me. Because guess what?
I’m making some bold moves, shaky in myself but confident in His love for me.
Even if the feeling’s been just an ember.
“Not that we are adequate in ourselves
to consider anything as coming from ourselves,
but our adequacy is from God..
Therefore having such a hope,
we use great boldness in our speech …”
2 Corinthians 3:5, 12
How do you deal with your inner critic?
How is hope shaping your new year?
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** SPECIAL UPDATE**
I’ve selected a special Faith Jam topic next week, in anticipation for Valentine’s Day. Check it out below and be sure to weigh in with your voice.
*** NOW, IT’S YOUR TURN — FAITH BARISTA JAM! ***
Faith Barista Jam Thursdays — I serve up a topic of faith, you write the post. Keep faith fresh with a faith prompt and add your voice to this community.
Today’s topic 1/27: Hope
Share your post by clicking on the blue button below “Add Your Link” or just comment directly.
Here are the friends in our Keep Faith Fresh Community who submitted “Hope” in the One Word For 2011 Faith Jam.
Kendal Privette(*), Melanie (*), Laura Boggess
Helen Mignon, Cheri, Maria T, Merissa
If you’re up for it, drop by & say hi to these friends. (*) indicates a One Word post.
Never too late: click & share a your “One Word” post or leave a comment.
I’ll be selecting some of our Faith Jam topics from the One Words For 2011 we’ve created together. Let’s encourage each other. Swap our stories.
Next Thursday’s Topic 2/3:
What I Wished Someone Told Me About Dating
(The following Thursday Topic 2/10:
What I Wished Someone Told Me About Marriage)
* I selected the above topics for both single or married, guys or girls.
Approach it any way you feel inspired! Only required ingredient: keep it real. Thanks for serving your personal brews!
Build the Keep Fresh Fresh Community: Link back to Faith Barista or Grab the HTML Code For The Faith Jam Badge
It’s a jam session. As time allows, say hi & drop a comment when visiting the community faith blends!
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Photo Courtesy of Wikipedia.
Bonnie, thank you for sharing this. We need hope, and the kind that stands even in the midst of the worst.
My post today isn’t about hope, so I’m not linking up. A very different post poured out yesterday when I sat down to write. I guess it’s sort of about hope — I ask questions because I have hope that there are answers. 🙂 Anyway, I will enjoy reading everyone’s contributions.
Great to see you here at the jam via comments, Joy. 😉 Loved seeing you pull up your chair with your cup this am.
Encouraging word- thanks for sharing!
I forget sometimes the fuel behind my faith. I’ll keep doing the same things because they are just the same things I’ve always done… and haven’t taken time to reflect on the real reasons, namely the intimate love of God.
Hi Dustin, loved those words — “the intimate love of God” — that’s the kind of affection I want more of too. It’s easier for me just put the car in neutral.
[…] more posts about hope, visit the Thursday Faith Jam at Bonnie Gray’s Faith Barista […]
Love the verses from Romans 5. So much HOPE is found there. Only he can silence our inner critic enough to leave room for hope. Thanks again for the encouragement, Bonnie!
Loved your post today too, Lisa!
Bonnie, learning to trust in God’s love for me has been one of the most important steps in my spiritual growth. It reminds me that God wants to fill us with his love before we can love anyone else. It’s important to remember that critical voices can crowd out the encouraging, life-giving words God wants to share with us.
Yes. I want more of that to beat down those critical voices. Your post was MAD good today, Ed! Keepin’ it real!
Bonnie, thanks again! HOPE is key to a joyful, abundant life! I wrote about hope in December at a time in which I was struggling to find some! God bless you!
Hi CK, We all need continual doses of hope, that’s for sure.. Keep that fire lit..
How awesome, Bonnie. Romans 5:5 is FIRE!
I spent years battling those inner critics and still do some days. Overcoming it has been learning to focus on God’s love and grace and learning to be thankful. I think Satan plants the inner critics to keep us from what God wants to do in our lives.
Totally! We’ve got them exposed today. Loved your post, Amy!
This is the first Faith Barista that arrived in my email since subscribing. It seems that it was written right to me. I know it wasn’t, but gosh! It hit the nail on the head with me. I found myself jotting down quotes and welling up with tears. I am so thankful that God led me to your blog. He knows exactly what we need. I am learning: He loves me. REALLY loves me.
My one word, that keeps appearing EVERYWHERE, and I am so grateful for it, is:
God keeps reminding me that I am chosen….by Him, and for Him. That word keeps me humbled and in awe….all at the same time. I am learning to trust His love, and silence the inner critic.
Thank you for being so real….I have identified with every post I’ve read.
I thank God for making you!!!! He IS the Giver of all good gifts. You are a gift.
Chosen is an amazing, powerful word. Life changing. Keep holding onto that gem and so awesome to have you here, Melissa!
That is one powerful love triangle! Who knew it was okay to have one…hee hee. My verse this week is also Rom 5:5. The discussion of hope always has that at the forefront for me.
This is the most powerful and heart changing post for me. Thank you Bonnie for being knee-knockingly obedient.
I too struggle with remembering/believing in God’s love for me. The critic wants me to believe I have sinned too much and will never be good enough. But, when God speaks to us or places something on our heart, for me it is gentle, loving and leads me to say “I see!” When it is my inner critic speaking it is hurtful, shameful and makes me feel not good enough. I am learning that if it is hurtful, it is NOT from God. Somedays the critic goes on and on but I’m choosing to not buy into it and rather focus on His voice. Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and NOT to harm you, plans to give you HOPE and a future.” Great post Bonnie, so glad I was led here!
Bonnie, I LOVE the the Faith triangle! You are so creative and I am so encouraged by your words. It’s true we start out the New Year kind of gung-ho and it’s right about now that the inner critic starts making special guest appearances. We need to remember that Satan is the author of discouragement and you’re right repeating “God loves me” is necessary to survive those attacks. Thank you for this, so happy to be jamming with you today!
[…] This post was mentioned on Twitter by MakeADifferenceToOne and FaithBarista, Alltop Christianity. Alltop Christianity said: The Faith Triangle: Live Boldy And Stop Beating Yourself Up: We all feel hopeful in the new year, until the inn… http://bit.ly/hDAebI […]
His love is the antidote to that poison and I know all about it. I’ve shared before that I’m my confidence killer, but I also know His grace is sufficient. Loved this post, Bonnie. So crucial to our living in His best. Thank you.
This is in sync with what I learned with Focus on the Family’s Truth project under “Labor,” last week. God created us to create.
I love the concept of the triangle.
[…] also included this post in the Faith Barista Jam over at Bonnie Gray’s Site where this week we discuss Hope. Go check out all the great posts […]
Bonnie – I love the idea of telling myself, “God loves me.” That is hard! But what a difference it makes to remember that on a regular basis. Thank you for that thought, and for all these thoughts here – for hosting this community. I enjoy being a part of it. Thanks for make me feel so welcome! Courtney
Your posts are always timely! Thanks so much and praise God for you!
I love this idea–this love-oxygen/fire-Spirit/hope-fuel triangle. A very cool way to conceptualize this. 2010 was a difficult year for me personally, and for our family for various reasons. When the new year came, I felt Him pulling me close, telling me: I AM your hope. I’ve had a lot of dying to self to do (And it’s only January!).
Thanks again for hosting the Jam, Bonnie. Always a pleasure!
The Holy Spirit KNEW I needed this post. The inner critic screams so loudly in my ear — freezing me. That’s what I wrote about today.. but.. and it is a big BUT – He Is still my hope!
Dealing with my inner critic is something that I have struggled with for a long time. I am slowly learning to replace the lies with the truth.
What an awesome power there is-hope-love -spirit. Just like the power of fuel-hear-oxygen-fire–refining to purity, cleansing, healing, energy, necessary for mighty trees-strength-to grow
The inner critic is alive in well in us…because of original sin. You’re so right: focusing on God’s love is a great way to rebut the inner critic. When I sit down to pray, I always try to focus on God’s love for me. It’s a great way to begin prayer rather than focusing on our needs.
As for how I deal with the inner critic, I try to remind myself that I’m forgiven and redeemed. Sometimes I just simply notice “the voice” and try not to give it too much energy; I just try to let it pass. Or, I simply pray: “Lord, I’m powerless, but you’re all powerful.”
Thanks for this post!
I like that phrase that “our adequacy is from God”. That should keep my hope up!+
Bonnie, I found myself in this post. “Analyze yourself too closely and it’s like sucking oxygen away from a flame.”
The faith triangle: the Holy Spirit, love of God, and hope will enable me to live boldly. Hope sprang up from your true and encouraging words written here.
Thanks for opening the door for this jam!
Just discovered your “Jam” and so enjoyed reading last weeks, and joined in this week. Loved the “triangle” picture. HOPE . . . .so thankful for it!
[…] Live Boldly And Stop Beating Yourself Up by Bonnie Gray (Faith Barista). I loved Bonnie’s illustrating the Faith Triangle–great way to think about our hope. Also check out all the great posts added to the faith jam. […]
What an amazing visual! Thank you for sharing your gift of metaphors with us 🙂
[…] may see hope in the branches. Linking to the Faith Barista for this week’s jam on hope. And with others spilling imperfect crumbs in the Hush of the […]
This is an amazing and creative and powerful post, my friend! Bravo!
I’ve read it several times and get something rich each time through.
It made me think of one of those triangle dinner bell things–calling us to feast on Him.
My daughter’s surgery and return to school and caring for her and now my grandgirls have messed with what I hoped would be my schedule. But I’m not going to lose hope. Living in the moment and trusting He will redeem the time.
Hugs to you.
I love the image of the triangle that you presented! So much truth, yet so succinctly and clearly described. Thank you for sharing that, Bonnie. 🙂
I find it so interesting that you shared this about the inner critic, because I have been wrestling with some familiar demons these past two weeks. In fact, my post was about that battle. You very much encouraged me! Thank you for always keeping it real.
Thanks, Bonnie, for these thoughts! I loved your suggestion of saying “You love me” to God, when faced with discouraging words from our inner critic. I want to use that idea. Thanks, again, for your words. I didn’t get a post linked up this week, but wanted to check in here, anyway. Will also go read a few of the posts that others linked up …
Oh how I struggle with this!! believing that God loves me! I am so easily distracted from this truth, but there it is! Written on our hearts…
I am in a place of sadness today, but my head and heart are often in different places. I think I have head knowledge of the love of God, but the heart knowing is starting to catch up, by His grace… desperately grasping for the HOPE that is found in those words “Do not let your hearts be troubled, Trust in God, trust in Me also…” there is so much that remains unseen… we are to hope it that which is unseen and not put our trust only in the seen… oh how I need assurance of the unseen today….
I am off to go sit at His feet awhile…
Wow this is written straight at my heart! I am my biggest enemy sometimes with my inner critic. I love the idea of saying back, God loves me. I need to do this. Thank you so much for your encouraging words.
I really like I love you God, You love me God. It takes care of the worry, worry, worry about what I’ve done and how I’ve done it. And I don’t have to work hard and write well to be special I already am special so I write from that foundation.
Some of the same thoughts I’ve been ruminating on the last few days! Resting in God’s love is hard for me so many times. The last few days have been full of some of those struggles. Hope and love have been persistent in speaking truth in the face of the lies that flood my mind so easily. Thanks for some wonderful encouragement and the reminder of the Holy Spirit’s intercession.
I had computer problems all week, so posting wasn’t possible this week. I really missed being part of the Jam. On to next week!!!
Sheryl, so close to my own experiences this weekend…
Here is a little bit of fresh truth…
“..let us draw near to God with a sincere heart and with the full assurance that faith brings, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful.” Heb.10:22-23
I love this “Stop trying so hard to be special”. Um, yes. Great advice. We don’t have to try to be special. God sees us as special regardless.
I didn’t write anything for the link-up. I’m always two steps behind, but I can’t wait to check out what some of the others have said!
[…] jon 13. The gift of trust by bradhuebert 14. Social Media … or Social Blogmarking? by Devesh 15. The Faith Triangle: Live Boldy And Stop Beating Yourself Up by Bonnie […]
Well ya have done it again…spoken what I have only been thinking!! Missed this jam because I was on vacation with the family…but oh how this speaks to where I am!!
It is like standing at the end of the diving board in swim lessons and having to dive into the deep end to pass the class and move up a level…something very scary about falling head first into anything!!
Right now the inner critic is SCREAMING that I am ill equipped to even think about the idea God has placed in my heart much less act on it…doing battle right now, but am not discouraged!! Will keep ya posted!
Love the triangle illustration (even if it is sort of science-y. Shudder.). Very Trinitarian. I echo Amy Sullivan’s comment above. Hope to catch up with you next week.
So true with writing – you just have to let it all go – then the real heart comes out. I think too when we get to analytical we dim the Holy Spirit’s voice speaking to us.
It is no accident that I stopped by tonight. Thank you for your encouraging words and the reminder to not let discouragment blow out the embers God has placed in our hearts! I was journaling just tonight about some of the pursuits I’ve taken on, some of the areas I’ve let myself be discouraged, and praying about direction. Coming over here has given me a new confidence (thank you for the inspiration for that word!)… I truly appreciate it!
All my best,
Bonnie, it seems so easy to say that we are loved. That we have always been loved. But so hard to believe. I love the idea of the fire, the fuel and the oxygen. Nothing burns without all three.
I also think that those old voices in our head, old ghosts that come over for coffee can damp the fire down and starve it of oxygen. Those voices becomes louder than the still, small voice.
‘You are loved, you always have been.’
Sending you love today x Claire