03 Jan Throwing Fred Overboard
This summer I had the opportunity to speak on top of a ship in the Adriatic Sea. You know, suffering for Jesus. I spoke 30 minutes each night for six nights, the rest of the time I was free to spend with my wife and friends. If you are thinking this was the best speaking gig of my life, you would be 100% correct.
If you know me well, you know it doesn’t matter where I speak, I’m going to prepare like a crazy person. Once I’m on stage I’m fine, but until then, I can be a bit angsty. But this trip was different. Speaking on a boat in the middle of the ocean, not surprisingly, put things in perfect perspective for me. I’m tiny and God is not. God is in control and I am not. While I message prepped a couple hours each day, I was not my normal high-strung self. This was due in part to location, but it was also partly because now I can better deal with Fred in my head.
If you haven’t already guessed, I’ve given my negative inner thoughts a name, Fred. Fred, to put it as kindly as I can, is a jerk. This is especially true during times surrounding my speaking. He can often create anxiety before a talk and regret afterwards. But through my research for my new book, Us In Mind: How Changing Your Thoughts Can Change Your Marriage, I discovered a proven exercise to deal with Fred. And I want everyone to experience what happens when you put Fred in his place.
One night, something amazing happened I thought I would never be able to explain. But when I saw the photos from the cruise, I was stunned and thankful for the photographic evidence of the best speaking experience of my life. The night these three photos were taken, I was speaking about how to get Fred out of your head, so you could hear how incredibly loved you are by God.
Without me knowing, this photo was taken during worship BEFORE I spoke. To see that huge smile was a HUGE deal for me. It perfectly illustrates the change of finally being able to focus on what God thinks of me versus what Fred thinks of me. This allows me to speak with a whole new joy and peace.
I got a little emotional during the message on Fred. I was even wondering if I had been too transparent about my own massive struggle with Fred. But as I was about to close in prayer, I glanced to my side and saw the sun as it was about to kiss the ocean. It was as if a producer said, “Cue sunset.” The timing was beyond perfect, so I just stopped talking, and we all watched the sun go down together.
Oh, that sunset.
It was an incredible night, and I’m so thankful there is photographic evidence of one of the best, most telling moments of my life. And I still pray it was even more telling for the sweet people on that ship.
For me, the photos are saying:
o No, you don’t have to live with Fred always in your head.
o God’s timing is perfect.
o God really loves me…and oh how He really loves you too.
o God is so powerful AND personal.
God loves you, friend. I pray His voice is the loudest voice in your head.
Photo credit: The amazing, Katie Weeks