It was only 335 miles – piece of cake – from the Arizona/New Mexico border to Tucumcari, our stop for the night. Driving it would be fun – something I could do in my sleep. Only I learned a valuable lesson – never, ever use the words I could do it in my sleep in the same sentence as driving.
It was late afternoon when I took over the wheel from my husband. Both of us were exhausted from difficult days prior to this trip. I thought I could easily take the strain of this leg away from my husband. After the sun dipped low in the sky and eventually disappeared, I was beyond my comfort zone.
That’s when the name calling started…
Not from my husband, but from that well deep inside of me where my cruel self-talk resides. Idiot! What makes you think you are a good enough driver to drive all this way in the dark? You are so stupid!
Anytime I make mistakes or bad decisions, these thoughts spring forth. Part of it is impatience with myself; part of it is the knowledge I should have known better. No matter what, though, this name calling hurts! Instead of thinking positive and encouraging thoughts, I find the ugly part of me that has wiggled so deep inside it now feels part of me. I wound myself all over again.
That night, when I pulled into our motel’s parking lot, I momentarily placed my head on the steering wheel and lifted up a prayer to God. Thank You for getting us through. Thank You for keeping us safe. Thank You for keeping me on the road!
Even a strong prayer of Thanksgiving doesn’t negate all that brutal self-talk. Does it come as naturally to you as it does to me? We punish ourselves with contempt if we think we haven’t accomplished what we should, didn’t show kindness to others, or my favorite: couldn’t keep up with the dust, disorder and dirt in the house.
How we talk to ourselves matters.
When I approach God, this crouching attitude of derision often follows me. I am constantly apologizing for my stupidity, my pride, my laziness, my mistakes. I get so bogged down in these words of shame and disrespect sometimes I think God believes them, also.
With my head on the steering wheel, He whispered to me, “You are called my delight.” The warmth enveloping me as I slipped out of the car to register was palpable. His delight! No way! The next day, I looked up delight on Biblegateway. What He said in the 8th century BC is still as pertinent today. “No longer will you be called deserted. (or reckless or stupid or dumb) Instead, you will be called My delight is in her.” (Isaiah 62:4)
Before I fell asleep, those same negative thoughts invaded my sleep. It is so easy to punish ourselves when we are disappointed in our own behavior. It becomes so natural, we forget to stop it. Sadly, we begin to think we deserve it.
If God calls us His Delight, what business do we have of correcting him with our negative self-talk? We are loved by a God who called us Delight and never Disappointment. As a child of God, it is my birthright to call myself His Delight.
I slept soundly despite the difficult, tiring day. God brought me from the border of disappointment in myself to delighting in Him. No matter what I say about myself, He has the final word. And his ultimate, everlasting word is: My delight is in her.