What kind of love is this?

I love Seth Godin.

The guy is a genius, but actually if he was here he would say that I am too. And you. And everyone. We all have genius in us but we’re often just in places where we’re not allowed or prepared to let it out.

Honestly you should just stop reading now and buy everything he has ever written. And follow his blog. And have your life changed.

Reading his book ‘Linchpin’ at the moment I was struck by an illustration he used about ‘teaching fire a lesson’.

Basically if fire burns us we can be angry with our self but getting angry at the fire is pointless. It won’t stop the fire being any hotter next time. Or if we are cut off by a driver we scream and yell at them because we want them to know that is not acceptable and so they won’t do it again.

But as Seth observes, they can’t hear us. It has no effect on them whatsoever. Continue reading

Open = Safe

So back to that afternoon when I sat on my bed waiting for Mark’s call. As I mentioned fear was the biggest emotion I was feeling. Yeah I had done the hard part of opening up my secret to Mark and yeah he had responded with nothing but love and grace but no I wasn’t confident that didn’t mean he was simply waiting to yell at me down the phone.

Really knowing Mark as I did I should have known better and actually it was probably the best conversation I had had in my life.

Getting off the phone that first time I felt a lot of things. Hopeful, excited that porn was finally behind me but behind all those emotions was one major building block that would see this through.

I felt safe.

That was something that I had not felt in a long time where porn was concerned.

Telling someone about your porn problem is a little like learning to drive on your own and finally realizing that you are just going to crash or hit an innocent animal at some point. So you ask someone into the car with you who has driven for a long time and also has some back up control on the car. So when you start to go too fast, they can brake, when you start to steer in the wrong direction they can guide you back onto course. Or when you don’t check what’s creeping up behind you in the mirrors they will see it for you.

Left on your own you are heading for ER. Having someone in with you means you can relax and go for it, knowing if you do slip up it won’t mean certain disaster.

Craig makes a great point about what it means to be safe when he reflects on our lives online. We have two versions of ourselves. One that we project on twiter and facebook. The one where we ‘like’ the cool things and retweet the biggest celebrities. Then there is the part of us that sits in our rooms building secrets that are going to destroy us if left unchecked. Online we can control what people think of us to a certain degree but offline well that’s where we protect ourselves by keeping stump.

That is not safety. That is hiding. And although hiding may seem safe it really just means we are lost. But being open with everything that we are means that we have someone driving beside us showing us it’s ok and that we aren’t disgusting.

This is safety.

Feeling secure to be yourself, knowing you don’t have anything to hide.

Being confident in your gifts, knowing that God is ready for you to use them.

Being around people who love you, not constantly stressing about what they think because they already know about you and they have still let you in the door.

But the only way we can possibly experience this is when we are open with people around us. When we lay out the most vulnerable parts of our lives and let them tell us it’s ok.

The confidence that comes from that is unbelievable. Maybe it scary or intimidating but at the core it is safe.

And safe is free.

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This post is based on chapter 2- “Safe” of Craig Gross’ new book ‘Open’, with my own experiences of accountability and opennes with others. Do yourself and your community around you a massive favour and buy his book.

I’m Adam (and Eve)

I grew up never really liking God. I mean I knew He loved me in a theoretical sense but hardly ever felt a nice warm and fuzzy feeling inside like I thought I should. He just felt too distant and someone to be weary of.

Much of this has to do with the view I had of myself. Occasionally I would get this overwhelming sense of loneliness and unworthiness. There are many reasons for this and many that I may still need to discover but I am convinced that one major factor is the view I had of God from church.

Now when I say church I don’t mean just my home church, but Christians, books I read, the way I was taught to read the Bible and what I was just simply told God was like by the people I thought knew.

But as I have grown older and into my adulthood I am convinced that a lot of what I thought was true about God was well, simply lacking in something. And sure yeah we may never fully know God but I couldn’t help but think I was being shortchanged.

Now back to how I viewed myself. From the very start we’re told that humans as a thing, we are essentially fuck ups. We don’t really need to look into our past too far to see that but if we did we would see the millions of ways that we have made a mess of everything. From slavery, racism, murder all the way to the Hangover Part 3. We mess up something good and ruin it. Continue reading

Open

While I waited for Mark’s call in my bedroom I thought about how what I was about to do was the complete opposite of what I was used to doing there. Sure I was nervous and scared but I was also incredibly excited and hopeful.

Knowing that Mark was going to call and ask me questions about my week specifically if I had looked at porn made me feel safe then vulnerable but ultimately confident. Normally I would hide away in my room creating a wall of secrets as I sat with my trousers around my ankles viewing porn. That day was different. That day I was opening up my life to someone like I had never done before.

From spending hours in my room feeling a mixed bag of emotions that usually ranged from ecstasy then shame; to a mixed bag of emotions that made me feel afraid but hopeful.

From creating secrets to exposing them.

This was my first experience of accountability.

And it changed everything. Continue reading