My good friend Dustin Nickerson is on the show again this week. Dustin is sick and tired of losing dear friends to crossfit. As he puts it, if you know any single person who does crossfit, then you know every single detail about crossfit. They’re like the Jehovah Witnesses of exercise. And their gyms are like nothing else: filled with old giant tires and monkey bars! It’s as if the whole crossfit movement was created by someone who couldn’t afford to buy gym equipment, but loved recess as a child. But what’s worse is how the people who do crossfit oversell it to those of us who don’t:
“Man, since I started doing crossfit, I feel better, I’m losing weight, I sleep better, and my kids are all doing better in school now! I also don’t have to pay any ATM fees, I got a free iPhone upgrade…man, crossfit has changed my life!”
People who use essential oils are very similar (to be honest, I have taken part of the “essential kool aid”)
According to Dustin, Essential Oils is a small cult that claims that no matter what is wrong in your life, it can be fixed with their magic gypsy oil.
“So, if I rub this on my neck, it will be good for my skin and help my dog’s anxiety? Great!
And they are just as preachy as crossfit people! Dustin is afraid to post anything about his life on social media because of the “essential oil trolls” out there! It doesn’t matter what you post, they always have the same reply: “Well, have you tried essential oils?”
Man, I have such an upset stomach today.
“Well, have you tried essential oils?”
I’m grieving the loss of a close loved one.
“Well, have you tried essential oils?”
My car won’t start this morning.
“Well, have you tried essential oils?”
Now… I typically hate to argue with my guests, but since we started using Young Living’s Thieves Essential Oil in the Streblow house, my kids have started getting better grades!
Next, my dear friend, comedian, pastor, author and inspirational speaker, Steve Geyer joins the show! Steve is actually one of the first comedians I ever saw live… years and years ago, and he still tours today.
Steve’s book, Shameless: Set Free from the Mask, is a phenomenal work. It started out as a blog of his, and took him about three years to write. I don’t think I’ve ever been able to focus on anything for that long!
His book addresses people with feelings of worthlessness, despair, and memories of past failures… which pretty much sums up every comic who I’ve ever met… which makes me wonder if these are things Steve has struggled with, himself.
He has, on both ends of the “counseling spectrum”, but don’t get me wrong, Shameless isn’t a “woe-is-me” book. It’s actually a moving and uplifting read that reaches to the heart. Many people feel, as they read it, that they are having a deep, yet easy, conversation with Steve and he’s known them for years… even though they’ve never met.
But his favorite feedback came from his sister-in-law. Many people in his family were reading Shameless simultaneously, and they were each waiting for the moment in the book where Steve throws somebody under the bus for making him feel ashamed throughout his life. But it never happened.
One of Steve’s tricks to writing the book was to explain how shame had come into his life without shaming the people who did it. After all, shame is a contact sport – if you are shamed, you tend to shame others and maybe not even realize it.
He’s also received several notes from teachers who, after reading Shameless, have changed their approach to teaching… even though they had previously thought they were cool and simply teasing their students, they soon realized they were heaping shame on their students.
As comedians, our ultimate payoff is when people hear our stuff, then laugh… then snort or pee themselves. But, with his latest work, and the appearances he has made to support the book, Steve’s ultimate payoff is when people approach him at the end of an evening and can’t communicate because of the tears in their eyes.
Now, some people approach Steve and ask, “but, aren’t there some forms of shame that are ‘good shame’?”
That’s like asking if there is such thing as “good cancer”.
Shame – at it’s human beginnings – can be rooted to the Garden of Eden after Adam and Eve first disobeyed God. They felt ashamed, they withdrew and hid. The proper response when we do something wrong is Godly sorrow… which is very different than shame.
One habit that Steve has that he is definitely not afraid of is crying in movies!
A while back, to his daughter’s embarrassment, he found himself bawling in his seat… while they watched Alice in Wonderland.
“Dad, you can find God in EVERY movie!”, his daughter said.
Steve answered, “Yeah… that’s because I’m always looking for him.”
In the movie, Alice is a young adult and had forgotten about her childhood venture into Wonderland. The White Rabbit presents her to Absolem, the Blue Caterpillar and they show Alice this incredible prophecy showing that Alice is supposed to achieve an incredible task – far beyond what she thinks she’s capable of.
“That’s not me!” exclaims Alice.
The Rabbit then asks if she is the right Alice.
“Not hardly, stupid girl.” is the Blue Caterpillar’s reply.
Later in the movie, she comes across Absolem again, and he asks, “Who are you?”
“I’m Alice”, she replies, “but not THAT one”.
“How do you know?” asks the caterpillar.
“Because you told me yourself.”
“No… I told you that you were not hardly Alice, but you are much more Alice than you used to be… in fact, you’re almost Alice.”
Much later in the story, she is feeling ill equipped and bewildered and runs off to cry alone. Then she happens upon the Blue Caterpillar a final time as he is in the midst of cocooning himself.
“Nothing is ever solved through tears”, he says.
Alice, recognizing Absalom’s voice, turns but is startled to see that he is hanging upside down. “Why are you upside down?” she asks. “I’ve come to the end of this life,” Abselom answers in a whisper. Unsettled Alice asks, “Are you going to die?” Absalom’s response is one word, “Transform.”
So, while Alice is transforming, Abselom is transforming as well.
“Don’t go,” Alice implores, “I need your help!” Still cocooning upside down Abselom replies, “How can I help you if you don’t even know who you are… stupid girl!”
The first time Abselom called her “stupid girl” Alice remained silent. This time those same words struck a nerve. “I’m NOT stupid,” Alice begins, “my name is Alice, I live in London. My mother’s name is Helen and my sister’s name is Margaret. My father is Charles Kingsley. He had a vision that stretched half way around the world and nothing ever stopped him. I’m his daughter… I’m Alice Kingsley!”
“Alice at last!” Abselom exhales. Before completing the cocooning process he counsels Alice, “The Vorpal Sword knows what it wants to do. All you have to do is hold on to it.”
Once Alice understood that she was the daughter of her amazing father… just as we are created in the image of our Heavenly Father… she realized how empowered she truly was, with no need to feel ashamed.
As Steve puts it:
Like Abselom provoking Alice to fulfill her destiny, our Father compels by His Spirit and the sacrifice of His only Son to “take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold us.” Instead of continually asking, “Who am I?” we might be better served to ask, “Am I utilizing my God-given gifts and talents, opportunities, and life experiences to their fullest?” Going further it might be prudent to ask, “Why do I put energy into asking self-defeating questions rather than acting on what I can accomplish through Christ who strengthens me?”
All of us (at various times in our lives) have been “not hardly” which is a natural part of life. Sadly some never move beyond being “not hardly.” If we are to become “me at last” no one else can make us that. It is up to us to fulfill our own destinies by yielding to God’s Word and who He says we are. Paul states matter-of-factly, “For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ, to do good works that He prepared in advance for us to do.” Ephesians 2:10 Certainly we are helped and hindered along our journey by others, but they are never the ones fully in control. Today is a good day to start becoming “much more you than you used to be” and soon you’ll become “almost you” and then it’s a short road to “you at last.”
God’s plan knows what it wants… all you have to do… is hold on to it!