What’s going on in your head?
Okay, this wasn’t my proudest moment, but if I can’t tell you the truth about these moments, I’m left with a falsified version where I come off as better, kinder than I am.
About 18 months ago Beth, one of the founders of Self Talk The Gospel, reached out to me and asked if they could use something I’d written for Self Talk The Gospel. I checked out the website and said “Sure, that would be wonderful!” What I thought was, “What in the world hippie new age name is Self Talk The Gospel.”
Often when I’m contacted about using a piece I’ve written, it’s a once and done. But Beth is unique and sought to foster a relationship. She asked about using several other posts and if I’d be interested in writing for Self Talk The Gospel. Why let a wonky name get in the way of a good working relationship, one I sensed could become a friendship?
And this, this is the power of words.
The more I said Self Talk The Gospel, the more I got it. I got the power of it. I’m going to be talking to myself, you’re going to be talking to yourself. The question is, what are we self-talking about?
This summer I read Brene’ Brown’s most recent book Rising Strong. The subtitle is “the reckoning, the rumble, the revolution.” The cover also says, “If we are brave enough, often enough, we will fall. This is a book about what it takes to get back up.”
One part that stood out to me involves what we do in the middle of a story. Let’s say you:
- Have a tiff with one of your kids as they go off to school or
- Write a private Facebook message and the other person doesn’t respond and you’re left feeling like your hanging or
- Call your spouse at work and they seem annoyed to hear from you
You could see all of these happening, right? Because they are at the intersection of Normal and Life. So, the story has started, but it’s not resolved. It’s normal to play out what will happen next and envision how the story will end. Most of us finish our stories with some version of “not enough.”
- A better mom wouldn’t fight with her kids.
- She didn’t like what I said.
- I’m a nuisance and when I interrupt people I bother them.
I thought through how I finish stories. Here we get to my light bulb moment. It was one of those
OH MY WORD.
Is that what I think?
My version isn’t “I’m not enough,” my version is “I’m too much and I need to dial it back.” Start listening to how you express yourself both in your head and how you promote yourself to others.
I am a bit seasick over how consistent this message is in me. I asked a friend to review a piece I’d written and this is a direct quote: “Is this too hand waving? Is it too much?” I almost never ask if I need to add more umph, instead I ask if I need to tone me down. I was telling another friend about a job I had left and said, “If I had just been less, maybe all this crap wouldn’t have happened.” A friend doesn’t reply to a text and I think, “Oh my word, I’ve gone too far.” Too much, been less, gone too far.
Now please hear two points of clarification:
One, there is a need to read situations and to moderate ourselves. This is called wisdom and maturity. You can sense the difference between being wise and having a false tape going, right?
Two, when I told my friend “if I had just been less” she saw the danger I was flirting with and loving said, “You are not too much, you are abundant. That is the truth about you. There is so much in you, so I don’t want any less of you, so don’t start doing that please.” (This was in a Voxer message, so I re-listened to it, that’s how I got the exact wording. Isn’t that a blessing?).
The heart of the gospel isn’t “you need to be more” or “you need to be less” it is “you are enough.”
You are enough–because you are made in the Image of God.
You are enough–because any and all and forever your sins are covered by Jesus.
You are enough–because you are abundant.
This is why we need to Self Talk The Gospel. The middle of our stories need to be infused with the gospel, not the false gospel of not-enough or too-much, but the life giving gospel of
- You are enough in your mothering and your child loves you and they will not need therapy in the future from that one interaction.
- You are enough in your friendships and when you friend reads your message he or she will smile at how witty you are.
- You are enough in your marriage and your spouse feels so comfortable with you he or she can be real with you. He had been holding in his annoyance and putting on a false face. She needed the outlet of a real emotion.
Can you taste the power of the gospel infused into the intersection of Normal and Life. Sure, the Lofty and Special need the gospel too, but that’s not where we live. I have grown to love the name Self Talk The Gospel and irony of ironies, find myself using the language, “Amy, Self Talk The Gospel. What are you saying to yourself? Is it the gospel? Or a false message?”
Slowly, slowly, my self-talk is more and more sprinkled with the gospel and the ways God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit can enter a story and change the ending. And that, my friends, is good news!
How about you? Mid-story, do you tend to be not-enough? Or too-much?
A version of this first was first on Self Talk The Gospel
Carla Gasser says
I have heard the of the concept of “preaching the gospel to yourself,” but the idea of “self talk the gospel” makes a lot of sense to me too! I appreciate your openness and vulnerability here. As women, I think one of our biggest issues is negative self talk. Thank you for this post!
Carla, the phrase and concept have really grown on me :)! and I can see how life giving it is. Here’s to being part of a revolution! :)
Kay Bruner says
I think mine is some weird version of both. At least part of my story is that other people have too much to do, and I can’t ask for what I need. I’m not important enough and also too much for others to cope with. It makes me feel sick to my stomach to say that. Which probably means that it’s true and important.
Oh man, as I read this, I get the “I don’t want to bother others” piece too. And the “makes me feel sick to my stomach.” I get that too. It was almost like the blinders were ripped on off this one for me, and once I saw what I saw, it was overwhelmingly every where. Showing, as you said, that it was important for me to know this was (and is) going on inside of me.
Lois Siemens says
One of the messages I am always preaching is that we are enough, we have enough…… I did a calligraphy piece once using the words “Scarcity” & “Abundance”. When you break them down, ‘scarcity’ becomes – scar city; and ‘abundance’ becomes – a bun dance. I have been scarred by the threat of never enough, and when I respond to having enough I dance in gratitude.
Lois, I love this picture!!
I like this. I’ve shared it. I feel envigorated by it, even though I’m having a duvet day because I feel over stressed, have a tooth ache and want a break. Yup this has made me feel great. Thank you lovely Amy X
Duvet day … what a great phrase, not a great day! Thanks Diane, for commenting, sharing, and walking with me :)!
Carol Giles says
Abundance, what a perfect description of who and what we are in Christ. It is not too much, too little, it is just right as you indicated in your post. It reminds me of grateful. It is not happy, infatuated, or high. It is just right. These words fill the intersection of normal and life with love and the reality of how blessed we are to have a personal relationship with the lover our soul. Thanks for a great post.
Carol, yes, yes, yes … we are blessed :)! When I hear “too much” creeping into my story in ways that steal and don’t add to life, that’s a curse, not a blessing. Like the word of “blessing” being added to this discussion! Thanks!
Mark Allman says
Mostly I think I wonder mid story did I do too much; say too much; share too much; or take too much on. This is usually where worry finds me….. mid story…. really no where else. I must think through your thoughts here.
Suzanne O. says
It is TOTALLY hippy isn’t it?? :) Grateful the Lord led me to you and now I have the honor to serve alongside you!! You are incredible, and you’re right – because of Him, you’re enough! LOVE IT