Ways you can identify a 'usual suspect' critic vs a 'garden variety critic' or a 'helpful critic.'

1. No matter what you say, how often you meet, etc, they never come around. They don't want resolution.

2. They weaponize your insight against you.

3. As much as you try to resolve, they never land, they just keep shifting the target.

4. They continue to embrace their own POV over the objective facts of the situation.

5. You give them too much real estate in your brain.

Once you identify a usual suspect over other types....

1. Move them out of the corner office of your brain. They are usually tiny fraction of % of all your people, but you give them a large % of your mental energy and time.

2. Never meet alone. Bullies behave better when there are witnesses. Also, usual suspect critics twist your words and meaning, so having someone witness what you say can protect you.

3. Pray for them. Praying has helped me keep from self righteousness, anger fantasies.

You can stay connected to your usual suspect critics, but protect your heart, time and integrity.

More on this week's MLA podcast episode for those wanting to dive deeper.


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More from @stevecusswords

20 Mar
One aspect of Family Systems Theory that I think is at risk of being lost is 'playfulness.' Students of FST like Friedman and Whittaker actually measured anxiety through the lens of playfulness, the opposite being earnestness.

Playfulness doesn't mean you don't take matters seriously. Sometimes the more serious, the more important 'play time' is.

Playfulness is not only for people of privilege, it is a human need and a true antidote to anxiety's grip.

In the 1950, Murray Bowen, founder of FST coined the term 'societal regression.' It became one of his 8 core concepts.

As he studied the way anxiety spreads between people, he kept moving his view wider and wider from couples to families to groups to an entire society.

Read 14 tweets
12 Mar
I continue to explore tools and ramifications to decrease the grip of our Inner Critic.

It recently occurred to me that the message of the inner critic often fall into broad categories of:

- you must do it perfectly
- you must know the answer
- you must always love well.

Wait a minute there, Inner Critic.

Are you suggesting we should be:

All knowing
Unconditionally loving?
Always there for people?

Does that sound like anyone you know?

The very first temptation given to humans was:

'you can be like God.'

No. We cannot. We will never be like God. We can worship God and love God and follow God.

Most scandalous of all, we can enjoy God.

But we will never be like God.

Read 7 tweets
3 Mar
Pastors, let's talk about 'usual suspects' critics.

There are all kinds of critics, some of whom are an absolute gift.

Then there are the 'usual suspect' critics.

Helpful: they're in it with you, they're for the cause, they see things in you that you don't see, they help develop you as a leader.

Sometimes their feedback hurts, not because of them, but because we pastors tend to take our ministry so extremely personally.

Then there is the 'garden variety' critic. They don't have malice toward you, it just hasn't occurred to them that maybe you and your team have put 100 hours into the decision and looked at every angle.

Because they go to church, they think they know how to lead a church.

Read 10 tweets
2 Mar
Chronic anxiety is present any time the false self is demanding attention.

What do you think you need that you don't really need?

What are you in the grip of that God is rescuing you from?

Jesus died to free me from needing ______ anymore

For me? Thanks for asking.

Gold standard sermons everytime.
Having the answer always at the ready.
Everyone approving me, no matter what.
More insight from me when you don't understand me or misattribute my motives.

and plenty more.

I recommend you write them out. It is crazy what you live for and how tightly you are in the grip of these false needs.

Pay attention to superlatives and exxagerations.

'always' 'everyone' 'must' etc. These words are evidence of being in anxiety's squeeze.

Read 5 tweets
1 Mar
What are the top four ways relationships get into trouble quick?

1) Unspoken expectations.
2) Unspoken values.
3) The meaning we make out of what we don't know.
4) Assumption of motive in the other.

And then we spin in the '4th space: the space inside the other' and we spend inordinate amounts of time wondering, 'what were they thinking, why did they do it that way.'

Spinning ensues.

It takes courage, clarity, calm and curiosity.

Sorry for the litany of Cs....old preacher syndrome....

But you can speak the unspoken and move into a posture of curiosity with the person to regain human connection.

Read 7 tweets
27 Feb
The Inner Critic.


Its hard to dislodge the power and influence the IC has over us.

Here is a helpful tool:

1. Find at least one other who cares about you and get together.

2. Have your friend write down the messages your IC tells you as you share it.

3. Then ask her/him to write the adjectives of these messages, ex: 'harsh,' 'unrelenting,' 'condemning.' etc. So now you have the actual messages on one line and descriptors on the other.

4. Now write the descriptors of God's character and God's posture toward you. Patient, loving, kind etc.

5. What if I were at least as ________ to myself as God is.

Read 11 tweets

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