I am one of those people who can have a full-fledged conversation… with myself. Thankfully, I usually don’t have it out loud, although on occasion you might just overhear a comment or two. Mostly the conversation takes place in my head… kind of like a reality TV show featuring five equally obnoxious women… which surely sounds better than me telling you that I’m just a chick with an undiagnosed psychotic disorder.
The star of the show is usually Perky Paula. If you’ve been around me much, then you’ve met her. She’s the one who’s got a sassy sweetness coupled with sheer determination to make the world a happier place. She has a strong need for perfectionism, and she just about wears everyone else out with her positive attitude and need for everything to be just right. She has a slightly bossy side, but it’s just because in her little mind everything is possible, and we just all need to get busy making it happen. Some people are convinced she must be on meds. Surely no one can be that happy. And the truth is, sometimes Paula is just a facade… the one I’m most likely to hide behind… the one who can make everything appear perfect when it’s really not.
But, of course, Rude Rita rears her ugly head on a fairly regular basis, too. She’s the narcissistic one – fully entitled so everyone else needs to get out of her way and quit interrupting her progress. She’s the one who will breathe fire over the phone when some poor I-can-barely-speak-English-but-atleast-I-have-a-job person doesn’t figure out what she needs fast enough. She’s the one that talks trash to the other drivers on the interstate. She’s the one who wants me to believe I’m better than or more important than someone else. That if they would just try harder or work harder or quit making such dumb choices then they wouldn’t be where they are.
And then there’s Negative Nellie. Not so much the narcissist, but ever the pessimist. Her main goal is to squelch Perky Paula’s positivity, and when I have a bad hair day… or I can’t find anything to wear in my closet… or the weather threatens to be even the least bit gloomy outside, then Negative Nellie has a hay day in my head. She’s the voice who perpetually whispers things to make me doubt myself, others, and even God. She can take the tiniest thing and blow it completely out of proportion, and when she does…
Worrying Wanda tends to make a guest appearance. She can have one of the boys in a tragic car wreck on the way back to college before his car barely leaves the driveway. She’s the one who causes my heart to race when the phone rings in the middle of the night. She’s the one who tries to talk me out of taking risks, out of making sacrifices, out of reaching out to others, out of… with what if? what if? what if?
And then there’s the one I hate most of all. I call her Envious Eve. She can’t look at anybody else without comparing, without coveting, without envy. She always thinks everyone else looks younger, skinnier, and cuter. She thinks their house is nicer, their children are better behaved, their jobs are easier, and their husbands more romantic. She often tag-teams with Negative Nellie, and as you can guess, the damage they can inflict can be disastrous.
Ok. I’ve typed all this, and I’m wondering why in the heck I’ve just fully exposed a great deal of my thought process. It’s like Mel Gibson in the movie What Women Want. If you remember, after being nearly electrocuted in the bathtub, he had the power to hear women’s thoughts… and it nearly drove him crazy. Trust me when I say… it’s probably not a safe thing for everyone to know what’s going on inside my head. Not safe at all.
Good thing it all doesn’t just happen in my head, and a great deal more happens in my heart. Stay with me here.
On long car drives, we play silly question games like, “If you could have any special ability, what would it be?” or “Would you rather have no nose or no lips?” or “Would you be willing to lick the bottom of a toilet seat for $100,000?” We take turns asking and answering questions, and I’m always a bit amazed at what the answers reveal. Of course, sometimes I’m just downright shocked and appalled. It should be noted here that Friday’s long drive to Taos revealed that both of my boys would not hesitate to lick the bottom of a toilet seat or a homeless person’s feet for $100,000… and I’m fearful for a some quite less.
But here’s the question that I asked on Friday that really got me to thinking… Would you rather know what’s in someone’s head or what’s in their heart?
Suffice it to say, often what’s going on in my head is not worth knowing. It’s ugly or selfish or prideful or mean or negative or fearful or untrue… And, it can be absolutely exhausting. And it can make me feel horribly guilty. And sometimes it makes me want to just run away… from myself.
But here’s what I’ve come to know. What rules my life is not what is in my head. It’s what’s in my heart.
My heart… my heart is God’s dwelling place. And when I have faith and walk in obedience to God, the promise of Ephesians 3:20 completely silences the women in my head. What I can’t do on my own, God can. It’s His power is at work in my life, and He is able to do more than I could ever hope for!
When Rude Rita or Envious Eve or Negative Nellie or Worrying Wanda… and yes, even sometimes when Perky Paula tries to take over my thoughts… I repeat Paul’s words in Ephesians 3:14-20. I like to say them in first person…
When I think of all this, I fall to my knees and pray to You, Father, the Creator of everything in heaven and on earth. I pray that from Your glorious, unlimited resources You will empower me with inner strength through Your Spirit. Then Christ will make His home in my heart as I trust in Him. My roots will grow down into Your love and keep me strong. And may I have the power to understand, as all Your people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep Your love is. May I experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then I will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from You. Now all glory to You, who is able, through Your mighty power at work within me, to accomplish immeasurably more than all I can ask or imagine.