HOW TO DEAL WITH THE NEGATIVE VOICES IN YOUR HEAD

You wouldn’t know it by looking at my Instagram feed, but sometimes I move through the world like I’m moving through a minefield: hyper-vigilant, sweaty with fear, and certain I’m about to be blown to bits at any moment.

I’m not kidding. I’ve got a whole world of weirdness inside of me that neither the Sierra or Hefe filters can improve.

As the result of my minefield-mindset, I tend to hold back – in relationships, pursuing my dreams, developing my gifts, giving generously, serving others.

Instead, my energy drifts toward daydreaming about my goals, avoiding intimacy, and pretending to be ok when I’m not.

How did I get this way?

How did I grow up into someone that often walks around with fists at the ready, eyes all squinty with suspicion, neck all tweaked from constant swiveling?

It’s a long story, but here’s the Cliff’s Notes:

A long time ago, I caught the sound of a small voice in a tiny corner of my mind. It made weird little squawks and, at first, I could ignore it as easily as I could attend to it.

But over the years I increasingly gave more of my attention to the voice in the corner.

As I got older, the voice got louder and more articulate. It started to make really convincing arguments about why I was unworthy of love and how I didn’t fit in like the rest of the kids. It provided endless evidence that I was fat and smelly and unable to talk to girls.

Eventually, the voice in the corner came to sound like TRUTH, like the only voice that could really be trusted. And for much of my life, I’ve let that voice boss me around.

The problem is, when we give our attention to the lies in our head, reality gets twisted. The reality of who we are, of how the world works, of who God is and how he feels about us. It all gets messed up.

At least it did for me.

But at some point – through therapy, prayer, reading, writing, small grouping, listening – a spotlight came on and lit up the voice the voice in the corner.

And it turns out the voice that sounded so massive and terrifying…is actually the size of a Malibu Ken doll.

Don’t get me wrong – Malibu Ken can be terrifying. That blank, drug-induced stare. That “neither male nor female” body.

But my point is, what felt bigger and stronger than me could actually be knocked over on to his smug little face with just the flick of a finger.

Are there whiny little plastic lies that have bullied you for a while? Maybe for years?

Here’s a secret: you don’t have to agree with those lies anymore.

You can “break agreement” with those lies. You can shine a spotlight on them. You can name them, deal with them, then punt them to the curb.

Then you can point and laugh at Malibu Ken and his crack-less butt, and get on with your life.

Because the truth is you were set free to live free. To enjoy freedom and share it with others. Not to crawl on the ground, praying you don’t trip a mine and piss off God. He’s not that kind of God, and he doesn’t want you to be that kind of person.

Remember, a condemning voice is a lying voice.

So stand up with me, shake off the dirt, and take a good hard look at whatever lie is tormenting you.

Do you believe you’re unworthy? That your past will always define you? That you’ll never get free of that bad habit or addiction? That you don’t deserve deep friendships or satisfying work? That God isn’t real, or worse, that he is real but he’s really grumpy and judgmental?

Say this – out loud if you need to – every time MK speaks up:

I break agreement with the lie that I (I’m) _____________. I refuse to listen to you anymore. Suck it, Malibu Ken.

Then get back to work enjoying your freedom and living as a freedom-distribution channel for others.

It’s Time To Quit NOT Creating

(Whether it's Thursday or not)

My friend, Bob, tries to quit something every Thursday. Usually it’s a bad habit or something he’s worrying about. He just quits and leaves it right there on Thursday’s doorstep and moves on with his life, getting lighter and more free every week.

I want to be lighter and freer, too.

So I’ve decided it’s time for me to quit something, just like my friend, Bob. I don’t mean it’s time to quit Bob. I can’t quit you, Bob.

Rather, I’ve decided it’s time for me to quit NOT writing, NOT CREATING.

I’ve been regularly NOT CREATING/WRITING for a long time which is NOT ME. And I’ll bet it’s not YOU, either. So starting today, Thursday, I’m going to do (or I guess, not do) just that.

Therefore, ladies and gentleman, may I present terrible writing that is hardly worth reading but is important anyway because I need to create.

(And you probably do, too. So quit NOT CREATING with me!)


Dear blog,

As you know, I’ve not written to you in sometime. But don’t worry – it’s not you, it’s me.

Ok, it’s you.

I’ve not written to you because you scare me. You scare me for at least FIVE of the following reasons:

  1. I want people to like me and I’m afraid if they knew the REAL ME then (blah, blah, blah, you get it).
  2. I want people to like YOU, my blog. I want people to visit it daily and find words that refresh them and inspire them and make them laugh. But I’m afraid they won’t do any of those things, even though I know that’s not the POINT of it all and that I should just write, dammit! Also I shouldn’t curse, even though – let’s face it – “dammit” is barely a curse word at all.
  3. I want to write. I need to write. And I need to share what I create because that’s what people are supposed to do – share themselves and receive the self that others share and blah, blah, blah unicorns and rainbows!
  4. I’m totes insecure and have trouble expressing myself apart from using the word “totes”.
  5. I forgot my password, dammit.

There, now you know the truth.

And if you want more truth: I just spilled coffee on my keyboard which I’m sure is a sign from the universe that I shouldn’t write. I shouldn’t share. I should just keep my private world to myself and go around faking it all the time!!!!

Maybe I’ll quit faking it next Thursday.

Your friend,
JESSE

PS I just realized it was Friday. FUDGE!!!!

The Secret Power Of Selfies

How To Make Them Matter

I recently preached at my favorite church. The topic? Selfies.

To illustrate the topic, I borrowed a friend’s selfie stick. Because I obviously don’t own a selfie stick.

Anymore.

Since mine broke from overuse.

I held my phone close to my face – you know, one of those phones that you can also use to call people, if that’s something you still do. I said, from this distance, all you can really see in the frame is me.

And to be honest, it doesn’t make for a very interesting picture.

I suppose you could try to zoom in for greater detail to make it a little more interesting – wow, his skin is really oily right now. Or, I wonder what that scar is from?

But that’s about as intriguing as it’s going to get from this distance.

If I hold my camera out a little further before I snap the pic, I can squeeze in a couple of friends. We might then take several pictures together and I will post the one most flattering of me, because hey, we used my phone.

Then I said to the audience (or “congregation”, if that feels churchier to you): “But if I put my phone on the selfie stick and extend it as far as it will go…and then reach my arm out as far as it will go…(at this point, I turned my back to them)…there’s just about enough room for all of us in the picture.”

I then snapped a selfie of me with a few hundred of my besties.

My point was obvious (though I rambled on for another 20 minutes anyway).

If there’s only room in the frame of my life for ME, the story of my life won’t be very interesting. Or satisfying. Or compelling – to me or anyone else.

But if I make space for others to fit in the frame of my life, the story of my life can get really good.

As a final illustration, I threw up a selfie-style picture of my friend, Bob.

bob goff selfie 1

Bob is a famous author and humanitarian and is living some of the best stories I’ve ever heard. We’re friends because we once had lunch together and because I have his cell phone number.

To be clear, I had lunch with Bob because his host that day was a friend of mine (a friend who once brought Don Miller to see me…in my office…but that’s another story). This generous and well-connected friend hosted lunch for Bob and a bunch of other folks, and he invited Katie and I to join them.

Oh, and I have Bob’s cell number because he put it at the back of his best-selling book. So maybe you have it, too. But so what. I’m over it.

I told the congregation/audience/crowd/throng of worshippers that Bob always takes a great picture because he has a great smile, but despite his great smile, the picture wasn’t super interesting.

Then I zoomed out to reveal the rest of the picture.

bob goff selfie 2

This is Bob and some of his friends. Bob and his team have built several schools in Uganda and a few other places (there’s even one in Iraq!) that serve kids without families.

It’s a lot more interesting picture. It’s a more satisfying picture. It’s a picture that inspires me and reminds me there’s a whole lot more to my story than me, me, me.

What was the key difference between the two pictures?

The second one simply had more room in the frame for others.

The throng got it. They always do. They’re a bunch of Bob-like folks who have graciously included me in their shot.

So I finished my sermon like I finish all my sermons: by dropping the mic and strutting off the stage to “Jesus Walks”.

I snuck back later to retrieve the selfie stick. In case, you know, I needed it for something.