Amy Picture

What Do You Say In The Middle Of Your Story?

O kay, 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.”

Amy PictureOften 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

 

 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?

 

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.”

I thought through how I finish stories. Here we get to my light bulb moment. It was one of those

OH MY WORD.
Really?
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.

The heart of the gospel isn’t “you need to be more” or “you need to be less” it is “you are enough.”

 

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.

 

What are you saying to yourself? Is it the gospel? Or a false message?

 

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?

 

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Image Credit: Strolic Furlan, Creative Commons


Amy Young

About

Amy Young is readjusting to messy middle of life in the US after more than twenty years in China and the recent death of her dad. When she first moved to China she knew three Chinese words: hello, thank you and watermelon. Often the only words really needed in life. She is known to jump in without all the facts and blogs regularly at messymiddle.com and tweets as @amyinbj and is the most unbeautiful pinner Pinterest has ever seen (but she's having fun!).


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