Why do I write this blog? What is this whole #four4soaring thing about anyway? As I ponder this question I am assaulted by what Steven Furtick calls the Chatterbox in my own head:
You are writing this blog out of ego.
You want to be liked.
You crave attention.
You don’t really care about anyone but yourself.
The only one you want to see soar-is you.
I’m not very fond of that Chatterbox guy.
He is the one that I have fought with my whole life.
He has been my adversary since I was a young man. He has been the primary rival working against me all these years as I desperately sought to free the “Colonel Of Truth” from the prison of my insecurities.
In the action-packed screenplay of my life, the good Colonel was captured many decades ago by Comrade Chatterbox. I can’t even recall when Colonel O. Truth was initially caught behind enemy lines and tied up? My loose reckoning is that his capture occurred some time in my early childhood when I knew the unbridled joy of just being loved and cared for, playing in the woods near my house or with my toys, a time when Comrade Chatterbox had not yet begun broadcasting yet?
In those heady days, all was right with the world, I didn’t compare myself to others, I thought I could do anything and be anything, I felt that the love I received from my family was pure, unadulterated, and unconditional. I didn’t know abandonment or hurt. I didn’t know envy for what others had materially or otherwise. I was, in my Faith’s vernacular, a child of God- innocent, accepted, watched over by a heavenly guardian.
One day, who knows what day or what year that was, the broadcasts started. They were intermittent at first, but they were relentless and over time they drowned out a good deal of the unbridled joy and freedom I felt. Year after year, the broadcast of Comrade Chatterbox told me I was not loved by anyone, let alone this Heavenly Father person. Through the years, Colonel O.Truth was brought to lower and lower levels of the dungeon where the light had a difficult time getting in. Before I knew it Comrade Chatterbox had filled my head with things like:
You’ll never get married.
You’ll never have a girlfriend, let alone a wife.
You’ll never get a good job.
You’ll always be poor.
You are ugly.
You don’t deserve to be loved by anyone.
You should give up any creative or artistic feelings that stir in you to write or speak or lead, you are kidding yourself.
At some point, I went to war with Comrade Chatterbox. It was a bit of a Cold War. It was a war of umbrage and one-upsmanship. I started to prove Comrade Chatterbox wrong, or so I thought, because I fought and won so many of the things he said I would never get. I took the hills of work, the plains of romantic love and the battlements of (a modest) austerity. (I never did get very good looking but I got rid of my warts and outgrew some of my pre-teen gangliness 🙂 .)
There I stood having won all those battles, but I was stuck on the ground. I wasn’t flying or soaring overhead, surveying any of the “good work” I (almost spitefully) did to get where I was. I was tricked into thinking all those hills were on my side of the combat zone!
Instead, one day, I woke up to find I was stuck behind enemy lines, behaving just like Comrade Chatterbox- cynical, pessimistic, tribal and petulant. To make matters worst, the Colonel was still locked in the dungeon and the Comrade was broadcasting louder than ever!
Until I found these friends and they had a map. A map that led to connections and those connections led to others who soon started to light the path to freeing the Colonel. Along the way the good Comrade got quieter as I made my treacherous trek toward the Colonel. One day, after a momentous struggle with the Comrade, I found Truth and he was set free (with quite a bit of help from Above.)
The initial price I paid was to shut down my Sherman tank-sized ego and realize I could not fight this battle all by myself. The later price I paid was letting people in, beyond the close circle I held tight. Even later, I started believing in something greater than myself. In many ways the old me died saving Colonel Truth from that dungeon, but, I was brought back to a whole different life.
I locked away my guns and stopped warring with the Comrade. Today, when I hear the broadcast seeping in, I have learned to turn up the volume on another broadcast. I hang out with the Colonel now. I learned that Colonel O. Truth, or Kernel O. Truth as he is known by his civilian moniker, is all about mentoring me and telling me that I do have something to share and I shouldn’t hide that. When I meet up with him, he encourages me to let others see what I have stored inside of me. He says some people need to hear what I have to say, some people just need me to listen and yet others need me to show up for them.
That said, this story is not about me…
…it is about you.
It is not even about asking you to find the Faith I’ve found, although I will always pray you would. This is a story about the Colonel locked away in your dungeon. You see Colonel O. Truth is the kernel of truth that you spend a great deal of time denying and locking away. The kernel of truth is who you really are. I refer to it as a kernel, not because it is only part of the truth, it is the whole truth about you, it is a kernel because you have made it so small.
When you lock the truth of who you are created to be away, it shrinks to the size of a kernel, a morsel that is ever-present, calling from its captivity, for you to be who you were always meant to be.
The kernel of truth was probably well known to that kid you used to be when you believed anything was possible before Comrade Chatterbox and the traps of comparison and ego got in your own way.
Just like when you were young and it was more like a Bountiful Bushel Of Truth, the kernel of truth, once he is set free, will help you realize you are loved and forgiven. When that happens, and you accept it, the kernel will begin to grow back toward its original size.
We avoid letting the kernel have his say and that is where bias comes in. We all have a strong tendency toward confirmation bias. That is when you tend to migrate toward information that confirms what you “already know.” The trouble is, much of the time, what we already think we know about ourselves, is wrong. In fact, most of it is derived from Comrade Chatterbox’ version of the truth.
The Comrade’s propaganda gets overwhelming and a snowball effect occurs where we push the good Colonel deeper and deeper down into the dungeon until we can’t find him anymore. We get lost behind enemy lines, with no map, few connections and no ability to free him (or ourselves) on our own.
When I am listening to my Colonel, he tells me the reason I write this blog is that I have been you. He reminds me that, despite any human failings or need for validation, the overriding kernel of truth is that I want something FOR you, not from you. I believe you can defeat Comrade Chatterbox and you can soar on the wings of Light, Love, Leadership, and Laughter.
This blog and the quotes and jokes I share are offered to help you find your way to free your Colonel. They are intended to be clues and a map to set him free.
You may find you need help getting there and turning the key as I did. My help came from above. Maybe you won’t want to make that choice? I would never try to compel you to do that. In any case, I can advise you to start with connections. Start with the community. Surround yourself with people who are FOR you.
I’m not advocating you join up in some sort of tribal fallacy with people who share the same anti-xyz cause or who follow the same hockey team. (although those can be fun.) I’m talking about taking a step and spending time with people in settings where you can talk to them about what’s really going on in your life, knowing they want nothing from you and everything FOR you. I’m talking about finding the places you can go where people will see you for who you really are and help you see it too.
I’m talking about serving alongside others and working on things bigger than yourself. I’m talking about a place you can soar!
I’m glad you are reading this because I want you to know this is one of those places. Thank you for reading and let me know anything I can do to help you. For the record, in my movie version of your life, Comrade Chatterbox always goes down in flames.
You, my friend, will always Soar.
images are from Rambo and Unsplash