My plane landed at 9:30 pm Sunday night. That’s 12:30 am on the East Coast and since I’d been there all weekend, I had quickly adapted to the different time zone.
I was tired, but determined to make progress toward home. It’s a three-hour drive from the Los Angeles airport to our home in San Luis Obispo. I grabbed a coffee, picked up my luggage, hugged my traveling partner good-bye and merged onto the 405 freeway north.
I traveled for a couple hours and started to feel the dark night wooing me to sleep. The smartest thing to do was to stop and get a hotel room, even if only for a few hours of much-needed rest. I pulled off the freeway in Carpinteria, a tiny beach town and checked into a hotel. As I settled into the bed, I felt my body relax and sleep came quickly.
I set my alarm for 6:00 am and as soon as it went off, I hopped out of bed, anxious to get on the road again. I threw on clothes, zipped up my suitcase and grabbed another cup of coffee as I headed out of the hotel and into the parking lot. My keys were already in my hand and I clicked the button to unlock the car.
Nothing happened. I clicked again. And nothing happened. A feeling of dread mixed with panic swept over me. Oh no. No. Ugh.
The car was dead. I figured I must have left the lights on the night before. I was tired and in a hurry to get out of the car. I called AAA and sat down on the curb to wait.
“I’m such an idiot,” I told myself.
“I’m so stupid!” I repeated in my head.
Over and over I called myself names and berated myself for my mistake.
If you were there with me and it was your car, I would have told you, “No big deal!”
I’m sure I’d remind you it only set us back half an hour. I would have hugged you and told you not to be so hard on yourself. It was just a small, simple mistake.
But for myself I had no grace, only harsh words and criticism.
I began to wonder, at that early hour, how my perspective would change if I was gentler with myself. What if I showed myself kindness?
“It’s okay,” I whispered to myself.
“It could happen to anyone,” I told myself comfortingly
The sun began to peek over the hillside and cast a soft glow through the trees. I exhaled. The glow of the morning light was breathtaking. Maybe I would have missed the sunrise if I hadn’t had to wait for the tow truck to come start my car.
Within a half hour I was on the road, heading towards my family. My head was filled with thoughts of how imperfect life is, and how there is still beauty to be found. I am flawed and yet, I can show myself kindness. I make mistakes but there is forgiveness.
It’s okay to be kind to myself. I want to be gracious instead of critical. Isn’t that how Christ is with us?
The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases. His mercies never come to an end.
They are new every morning. Great is your faithfulness.
Where can you show yourself some kindness today? Where can you replace criticism with grace and forgiveness?
Bev Duncan @ Walking Well With God says
I am still my own worst critic, but I have mellowed some with age lol. I used to think that anyone could do my life better than me…voice of the enemy. I’m learning that if the voice in my head is that of criticism and condemnation, it simply isn’t God’s voice and if that’s not how He would talk to me, then He wouldn’t want me talking to myself like that. Like you did, when life throws a monkey wrench in your plans, I’m learning to ask myself, “What might God want me to see here?” For you it was a beautiful sunrise. How many times do we miss something wonderful that God wants to show us because we’re too busy beating ourselves up? Thanks for a very thought provoking post and a reminder to be kinder to myself.
this is off the point, but i was sure the story was going to go…”and when AAA came, we realized that I was trying to unlock someone else’s car!” at least you were at the right car! 😉
Sarah S says
I was thinking the same thing Tami. 😉
Jeanne Takenaka says
Laughing out loud….I thought the same thing. 😉 Perhaps because I’ve done it!
Beth Gracheck says
Thank you, Lisa. I needed that this morning 🙂
I am so guilty of this. Sooo easy to make things okay if someone makes a mistake, and sooo quick to criticize myself for the same mistake. Thank you for this great reminder today. 🙂
I just need to embrace that I get tired after traveling for two weeks. I feel bad, ashamed: “I am sure others don’t get as tired as I do. I can’t handle much now can I?” And I feel less of myself. But why not just embrace that this is who I am? Yes, I need days of rest often, so what? I’d be much better if I just accept this of me, extend grace and love. God embraces me when I take good care of myself.
Bev Duncan @ Walking Well With God says
You sound like me…I am not a high energy “energizer bunny” type person. I don’t like to admit that I usually have to take a nap each day. I can’t go, go, go like a lot of my friends can and yes, it does make you feel like less of a person sometimes. I have learned that the comparison game leads nowhere. Listen to your last words…”I’d be much better if I just accept this of me.”…YES! You are wonderfully made just as you are. And yes, God would have you extend grace and love to yourself…He DELIGHTS when we take care of the frame He has given us. I am guessing that because you move at a slower pace and don’t rush through life and rest often, you are a wonderful listener, sympathetic to others and their flaws, compassionate and caring??
Do not be ashamed of how God created you…He made you with some wonderful gifts to share. The more I learned to focus on my gifts, the less I played the “no win” comparison game where I always came up short. Praying for you sweet one…
Thank you for the wise words. Like you, now that I know those harsh words directed at me are coming fron the enemy and not God, I now know how to fight them. Now I know not to believe those lies from the enemy. I recognize them and immediately send them on and combatting them with scripture. Thank you for the reminder!
Jeanne Takenaka says
Lisa, Berating myself is something I struggle with too. It’s so hard to give ourselves grace when we hold ourselves to a standard of perfection. I never hold anyone else to that standard—just myself. When I see one of my boys exhibiting this same tendency? It about breaks my heart. I wonder if it breaks my Father’s heart when I don’t give myself the grace to make and live through mistakes.
You’ve given me good food for thought today. Here’s to giving ourselves grace and learning to see ourselves as our Daddy does.
I so needed this today. I’m nineteen weeks pregnant and have been dealing with sciatic nerve pain for the last week or so. It got so bad today I could barely stand up. As I got ready to leave work early, I told my supervisor that I really felt awful leaving, like I was being a baby about it.
If it had been a coworker in the same position I would have told them to go home, get some rest, come back tomorrow.
Needed this reminder! Thanks so much!!
Shannon @ Distracted by Prayer says
Thank you for this. Reading your post helped me realize how much self-criticism is a part of my normal inner dialogue. I would have done the same thing in your situation! Usually it’s something related to time or efficiency and betrays my worship of control and order. Lots to ponder.
❤️❤️❤️Thank you for the reminder Lisa! I am also hardest in myself (incurred a few overdraft charges just this morning because I used the wrong debit card yesterday in my haste to bulldoze through a project I didn’t want to do in the first place…). Even though it’s fixed, I have been beating myself up all morning! But maybe my “sunrise” was reading your lovely post! Adore your creations (I own many) & loved living near Carpenteria & SLO a many years ago… ❤️❤️❤️
I really needed to hear this today! I am guilty of beating myself up when I make the tiniest mistakes. I also feel guilty about things that I shouldn’t feel guilty about. For instance, when I had to have surgery, I felt guilty for having to tell my boss that I needed surgery and I would be out of office for 3 weeks. Why would I feel guilty? I have no clue.
Thanks again for this post! It’s really given me a lot to think about.
I really needed this today. We are always told to have grace with other people so it’s easy to forget that we need to have grace with ourselves. Thank you for making me feel better!
Birdie Cutair says
Thank you for this message. I, too, have recently gone through a similar experience. Mine was not about a car but about paying way too much to have my driveway sealed. I didn’t realize the cost until it was way too late. As I paid by check I started beating myself up for making such a stupid mistake. I was angry, frustrated, and just plain mad at myself. It took awhile, many prayers, to finally realize God forgave me for this expensive mistake and I should be a little more tolerant of myself. I gave it all to Him and He has helped me get past the hurt and the pain and now I’m being more kind to me.
Oh Lisa, your timing is beautiful. I just finished reading your post when my son called and wanted to know where I was. I had the wrong time in my head to pick him up today, and it takes me 30 minutes to drive to his school.
Your post saved me from beating myself up about it. Your post made my situation humorous.
Thanks so much for sharing. You made my day!
Beth Williams says
I am my own worst enemy for sure! Any little mistake or if someone “shows” me up at work then I start to feel “useless, stupid, dumb, not good enough, pretty enough, etc”. Oh I know those are lies and I am good enough, just maybe not at that thing (blood draws, nursing, etc. I am truly good at math and accounting type work.
I need to realize that God made me the way I am and accept it for what it is. I also need to tone down my hyperness and look at God’s beauty all around me!
Thanks ! 🙂
We’re in search of speculative stories with a strong
humor ingredient. Assume Resnick and Sheckley,
Fredric Brown and Douglas Adams.