“Then Caleb quieted the people in the presence of Moses and said, ‘We must go up and take possession of the land because we can certainly conquer it!’ But the men who had gone up with him responded, ‘We can’t go up against the people because they are stronger than we are!’ So they gave a negative report to the Israelites about the land they had scouted.”
How To Truly Quiet Negative Self-Criticism: God’s Whispers of Love
The world is very noisy. It’s always telling us what we need to do in order to be good enough — critical voices to be noticed, to belong, and to be loved. Which melt into own words of self-criticism.
We may have taken on those negative words as self-criticism. It makes us feel shameful because we’re afraid it’s true. So, in this world of pressures to be strong, never doubt, or struggle — and always know the answers and to do things well — you may feel tired. Weary.
Is there a place where we can really belong? To just be loved for who we are? Is it realistic?
If you feel the way I do sometimes, you would understand what a challenge it is to simply be God’s beloved.
If we focus on all the negative voices — what others have said about us (or not said about us), whether in our relationships or communities of faith — we can feel the way the Israelites did when they were about to enter the Promised Land God longed for them to experience.
Israelites who saw the big giants in control of the land — who saw their own fear and felt powerless and outnumbered — were the ones who hurled negative insults and later, even stones at Joshua and Caleb, their very own (Numbers 14:10). The people longed to enter into the land of milk and honey. But, they just didn’t think they had what it took.
But, I love how Caleb responded. Caleb first quieted them.
Today, you and I have a more beautiful voice to quiet all those negative voices, including our self-criticism.
God’s whispers are different from the stressful voices that exclude and stress us. God’s intimate whispers of love calm and renew us.
In quietness, the Voice of the One who calls you beloved longs for you to experience His love for you.
Do not be afraid… Your God is among you. He will bring you quietness with His love. (Zephaniah 3:16-17)
Take time today to enjoy something quiet. Maybe it’s looking outside your window to see the raindrops still and quiet collecting on a tree branch. Maybe it’s simply listening to your favorite worship song as you lie down in the afternoon sun on your bed.
Let God’s love wash over you and bring you to that quiet space where you are unconditionally loved and accepted.
Give yourself permission to take steps to be His beloved and you’ll find those negative voices loosen their grip on your heart.
God sees the real you and He loves what He sees in you: your heart. You are His beloved.
Then, quietly, you and I will be able to offer to others what we have received ourselves.
We can offer the quietness of God’s love as the beloved.
We can offer the gift of listening, comfort, and a quiet welcoming acceptance that life doesn’t have to look perfect in order to be worthy of attention. We can simply love others by being present with their real selves.
And suddenly, we find ourselves fighting those negative voices less and less.
Why? Because the Promised Land is no longer a place we need to fight in order to enter into belonging and being loved.
The Promised Land is your heart. God’s Promised Land is where you are continually letting God love you.
And nothing can ever separate you from the love of God. God’s love makes us victorious — no matter what any one says about you or what circumstances might look like.
Hear God’s whispers of rest and love for you.
You’re worthy. You’re cherished.
You are beloved. Just rest.
Together, let’s encourage each other. Keep listening to God’s whispers of rest, blossoming and stepping out to be the beloved. God’s beloved.
Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or distress or persecution…? No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. (Romans 8:35-37)
What is God’s loving whisper to you today as you look into a new week?
Look past the giants that might appear to challenge you and rest in the gentle, unconditional love God holds for you. You are safe in His embrace.
By Bonnie Gray, author of new 40-day devotional Whispers of Rest, who invites you to experience God’s loving whispers to refresh and guide you at FaithBarista.