I have a son who calls himself names.

As his mother it’s excruciating to hear.

It takes my breath away to listen to how he talks to himself.

Anytime he makes a mistake or a bad decision or can’t seem to get his shoelaces untied from their tangle of knots I’ll hear him mutter — Idiot! I’m so stupid!

And it hurts.

It hurts because it means there’s a core lie he’s believing about himself that has somehow wriggled deep under his skin until it feels like it’s part of him. Until he believes it enough to start preaching it back to himself without question.

I was thinking about that the other day as I was loading the dishwasher and eavesdropping on my son. As I lined up all the blue plastic cups and the sticky knives and forks I caught an earful again of my son’s impatience with himself.

I get it. I do.

Most of the time I don’t think we’re even aware how we’re talking to ourselves. It comes so naturally to be crushingly cruel to ourselves. To disdain how much we accomplished in a day, how little we think of our own ability to love or reconcile or work out or keep with the dirt and dust that collects under the dining room table.

But the names we call ourselves matter.

I know this because I know how damaging it is to listen to my son, my beloved, brave and beautiful son, call himself, “Stupid.”

But if I’m honest, if I were naming myself, there are days I am tempted to call myself something along the lines of, “Lost her temper again” or “Can’t keep up with the dishes” or “Constantly doubts herself.”

I can get so bogged down in what I get wrong that the names of shame and despair role right off my tongue until I believe that God believes those names about me too.

If you can relate, then please keep reading here. Because I recently discovered my new name. And I want it to be yours too.

I’m sharing the full story at (in)courage today – just click here to read the end.