Discouragement doesn’t take much for me. It may not last long, but I’m easily persuaded that I’m a big loser. No matter how much I accomplish on any given day, by the end of the day, I find the least little thing can rob me of all the good. Recently, over the past month or so, I’ve learned to call this internal voice After 9:00 Lisa. She’s negative and self-depreciating. I don’t care too much for her and am learning to ignore her once she begins.
If I’m feeling as if I didn’t do enough, write enough, or juggle as many balls in the air as I should have that day, After 9:00 Lisa starts in. She asks me why I can’t I be like other moms and do more with my son or be a better homeschool mom or keep my house cleaner or spend more time with my mom or why I take every short-cut imaginable when cooking dinner because I just don’t love cooking. Actually, I do kinda like to cook when I have plenty of time, but it’s always a last minute mad dash to get food on the table because I’m totally absorbed in work or ministry. Who can like that day after day? What I’m doing is all good stuff, so why do I feel so guilty that I’m not doing enough good stuff?
After 9:00 Lisa totally gets on my nerves.
It may not be hard to figure out why I call her After 9:00 Lisa. It’s almost always after 9:00 p.m. when her voice begins to echo in my head. I’ve become so aware of her and how she intends to deflate me, that when she begins, I glance at the clock and say to myself, “Oh, that’s just After 9:00 Lisa.” I tune her out and go about the business of getting ready for bed or whatever I’m doing.
My point is this: we all have our most vulnerable moments, those times when we are most susceptible to criticism and feel easily defeated. For the longest time, when those accusations would come, I would take them to bed with me and snuggle with them. I would try to figure out how I could squeeze more hours into my next day just to get more accomplished. How self-defeating that was since I didn’t go to sleep with any kind of peace. Typically, if I tossed and turned with After 9:00 Lisa’s voice in my head, then I would wake with far less energy than going to sleep in peace.
All this to say: we have to avoid that internal dialogue that reminds us of all the ways we don’t measure up. I’m doing as much as I can and more. So I’m cutting myself some slack. I pray through what has to be done vs. what the ideal is. I don’t have it all together, especially here lately. I’m cautious of making any decisions or plans after 9:00 p.m. since that girl can’t be trusted. I suggest you do the same. Cut yourself some slack when you’re not on your best game. Prioritize with eternal perspective. Get to know the sound of your discourager and learn to tune her out.