Fans React to Me Eating Cheez-Its

This is one of the dumbest things I’ve ever made.

I kept seeing reaction videos of people losing their minds over the new Smash Bros game trailer and I thought it would be funny if they were reacting to something incredibly mundane. It was an idea in my head for a couple of weeks before I finally sat down and filmed it. I kept saying “this is so stupid. Nobody cares about this.” But it made me laugh so I kept going.

Do dumb stuff that makes you laugh.

4 Lessons From Elle Mills' Youtube Breakdown

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4 months ago Elle Mills showed the internet what it looks like to have a breakdown.

She posted a video for her 1 million youtube subscribers called “Burnout at 19” and IT. WAS. RAW. She gave a very honest look at how miserable her life felt even after she found fame and success through her youtube channel.

It is very clear from the footage she shares that things were not ok. Honestly, there are parts that are hard to watch.

Yesterday she posted a follow up video called The Aftermath of My Youtube Breakdown and I think it offers some great insight.

She gives some updates on how she’s doing and what changes she’s made to her lifestyle. BUT THEN (and this is the genius part) she interviews her friends and family about her progress from their point of view. Things get raw again.

Be warned: there’s some bad language.

HERE ARE 4 INSIGHTS I LOVE ABOUT THIS VIDEO

“REACH OUT EARLY”

One of the first things she says is that she’s learning how to reach out early before things build up like they did when everything broke down the first time.

This is a great point for all of us. If a husband addresses “the problem” when it’s just a casual flirtation with the girl at work, then he can deal with it before it’s a full on affair. If a teen learns that it’s ok to talk about your feelings even when you don’t fully understand them, they can deal with it before it leads to cutting.

“PERFECT IN PERSON”

One of her friends points out that Elle will put on a happy face in person and then turn around to share her darkest feelings online.

This is huge. There’s something about sharing your thoughts and feelings through a screen that feels safer.

I think it’s the reason people feel comfortable getting in the most insulting and infuriating arguments on Facebook, saying the cruelest things they’d never dream to say to someone’s face.

It’s also true for vulnerability. Having someone watch you peel back the layers of your feelings and really share can be terrifying. If we post on social media instead, maybe it’ll get lost in the chaos of everyone’s feed. Maybe people will think it’s a joke. We get the release of sharing without any of the mess that comes after. In the moment it feels like that’s all we really needed but confession is only supposed to be the first step. Admitting we have a problem doesn’t solve but it does open you up to actually deal with it. When we only share in impersonal settings we’re never held accountable for the change we know we need.

“I DON’T WANT TO LOSE WHO I AM”

Another friends thinks Elle is afraid to deal with some of the things in her life because she thinks that if all these problems go away, she’ll “cease to be the person you are right now.”

I think this is a huge fear.

I saw this tweet last month…

 
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That tweet sucks.

Chris Gethard is a comedian who is very open about his own mental health and what he’s done to seek help. He commented on this fear in an interview.

 

“I will often times have younger comedians approach me and say, ‘I don't want to go on pills. I think they'll take away my edge,’ or something. And, like, well, good luck with that. I hope it works out, but I think that's a really dangerous myth, and I wish people didn't perpetuate it.”

 

I know I’ve had the same fear when it comes to comedy. What if I deal with all my issues or I have to go on medication and I’m not funny anymore?

For Gethard the exact opposite of this fear was true.

 

“I actually got funnier. My career didn't really do anything until I was on medication for a few years … As interesting as it might be to be a loose cannon, once I was medicated and once I was in therapy it was like, ‘Oh, now I can organize my thoughts. I can do second drafts. I can take meetings and not be just wracked by anxiety and nervousness.’ All these skills you need to be able to have to have a career are things that only set in once I actually straightened my head out.”

 

Getting better won’t mean you’ll stop being interesting. Your identity is defined by what’s wrong with you. You are loved for who you are. 

I know I had to learn that getting help wouldn't take away my personality. It actually improved my life. IN A LOT OF WAYS.

PROGRESS OVER PERFECTION

I love that Elle Mills makes fun of the type of video she could have easily put out as a follow up. She could have pretended that she made a few changes and suddenly her life was fixed.

No.

There’s still work to be done.

She says towards the end she needs to value “Progress Over Perfection.” Yes.

"Nothing can be done except little by little."

Things take time. We need to be patient with ourselves and with each other. It’s easy to get discouraged because we want everything to change right this second. Sure, you haven’t arrived yet but are you heading in the right direction? Are you taking steps towards that new you?

Every day you take a step in that direction is a day worth celebrating.

The ending of the video is a little too neat and cheesy but that’s forgivable.

I applaud her honesty. She is not the only youtube creator suffering from burnout. It’s a growing problem in the community. And I hope her ability to share her journey helps others to start taking steps in the right direction too.

Don't Get Caught

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“Do something good today and don’t get caught.”

 

That’s the advice Kristen Bell got from her therapist and then shared on the The Good Place podcast.

Jesus is very clear that the intentions by what we do are just as important as the actions themselves. If you do good just to earn points or for the attention and praise, then it’s not really all that good.

Pray in secret. (Matthew 6:5-6)

Don’t let your left hand know what your right hand is doing. (Matthew 6:3)

I love the idea of trying to do good deeds for people without getting caught. Take the recognition you get out of the equation. Turn it into a game.

How many secret good deeds can you pull off tomorrow?

The Good Place is a wonderful show. Season 3 is about to start next week. The first 2 seasons are on Netflix. I can’t recommend it enough. The podcast is also a fun listen after you watch the episodes.

You Can't Buy Your Way Out of Anxiety

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I just read Rebecca Jennings’ article on VOX, Fidget Spinners, Weighted Blankets, and the Rise of Anxiety Consumerism.

There a lot of popular products out now that want to be the answer to your anxiety.

But they can’t.

FDA guidelines strongly recommends these companies never claim their products can be used to treat anxiety because there’s not really any scientific proof that they do. Instead they get away with just saying their products “can be used for anxiety.”

They might help relieve some of the stress and frustration but they’re not cures. The effect is addressed but never the cause.

And these products are HUGE. Most of them started on Kickstarter and raised millions of dollars because people are desperate for something to help them with anxiety.

From the article:

 

“We’re not understanding how to deal with [mental health]. Instead, we’re throwing products at it. It’s very American.”

 

We’re dealing with the fruit and not the tree (I was going to say root but I didn’t want to rhyme). We’re pulling all the apples off the apple tree and hoping oranges start growing.

Why do we do this? Because it’s easier. Because to really change things we need to attack the roots and commit the hard work of removing the entire tree and planting a new one. It’s scary, it’s difficult, and it’s incredibly uncomfortable.

It could involve going to a counselor or digging in to your past or being truly honest about how you view yourself.

It could be a really painful process. But it’s worth it.

From the article:

 

“It makes sense that our immediate impulse is to buy stuff that promises to deal with [our anxiety] so that we don’t have to.”

 

It’s hard work. In Recovering Redemption they called it “spiritual surgery.” But it’s the type of surgery where you’re awake the whole time.

Oh man, how great would that be, though? God knocks you out, you wake up a few hours later, and He says “Ok. I took your anger issues away.” Sweet.

I can’t buy my way to freedom. I have to be willing to do the work.

Oh Jesus please remind my heart daily that the work is worth it and that you’re the one guiding me through every step.

Why Struggles Never Get Addressed

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You can’t fix a problem unless you’re willing to admit the problem exists.

Imagine you’re at your car mechanic waiting for them to finish your oil change when this old, ugly, busted down car pulls into the parking lot. There’s smoke coming from the engine, one of the tires is flat, and there are weird smells and weird noises everywhere.

The manager goes out to talk to the driver and asks “What can we do for you?”

“Nah. I’m good.”

“Excuse me?”

“Yeah. Everything is great.”

“There’s nothing wrong with the car?”

“Nope.”

Meanwhile the car sounds like a sick donkey trying to clear its throat.

The car will not get the help and attention it needs until the owner is willing to say “I think there’s something wrong. Can you fix it?”

If you go to the doctor and never tell them you’ve had pain in your stomach for 2 months and you cry blood, you will never get a diagnosis, and you’ll never get the help you need.

Confession is so important because it is where all meaningful growth and change begins. It’s the first step. Once the issue is in the open you begin to deal with it.

The Mister Rogers quote I use all the time is “if it’s mentionable, it’s manageable.” If you can talk about it, you can deal with it.

A lot of times we’re willing to admit the problem is exists (to ourselves) but we’re not willing to accept how big the problem is. We think we can handle it on our own. ‘There’s no need to bother anyone else about this. I’ll fix it myself.” If we think we can handle these issues on our own, we should have to set a deadline for ourselves. How long are you going to try to deal with something on your own before you’re willing to say “I guess this isn’t working.”

In their book Recovering Redemption Matt Chandler and Michael Snetzer talk about why it is foolish to look to ourselves for salvation from our problems.

 

The truth is (and come on now, you know this) you would be hard-pressed to find anyone—AN-Y-ONE—over the course of your lifetime who has lied to you, and fought you, and failed you, and disgusted you more than you have. Right? And that’s the person you’re counting on to come to your rescue? That’s the one who’s going to figure it all out and turn things around for you? Serious? An improved version of you?

 

There’s no problem too big or too small for Christ. There’s no way to deal with the problem until you admit it exists. And God has given us the church, his body, our family to help carry us through redemption and healing. We should never try to go through it alone.

What Dracula Taught Me About Journaling

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Growing up I thought keeping a diary was just for girls and journaling was just for Doug. And almost every tv show I watched as a kid had an episode where someone finds the main character’s diary and reads their darkest secrets. Why would I ever want to journal?! Someone could find it and read it!

But that’s actually the best part of having a journal.

I’ve been reading Bram Stoker’s Dracula because I’m in the mood for something spooky. Last night I read a passage where a woman is writing in her diary and she describes why she enjoys the process so much. She writes:

 

“I am anxious, and it soothes me to express myself here; it is like whispering to one’s self and listening at the same time.”

 

Journaling is so great because it’s a chance for you to eavesdrop on a conversation with yourself.

You’re giving yourself the time and space to vomit up all your thoughts and feelings about what’s been going on, examine it all, and organize your thoughts. Are you ever at a loss because you’re not really sure how you feel about something going on in your life? It’s like you’re in a fog and everything is ambiguous and weird? Any time I get that way I try to write it all out.

Process it on paper. Wrap words around those vague feelings hiding out in the back of your mind. Get it out of your system and make sure you pay attention to what’s coming out. It might surprise you. Eavesdrop on yourself.

Thanks for the lesson, Dracula.

WANT MORE?

I found this really in great article highlighting nearly a dozen reasons Why Keeping a Daily Journal Could Change Your Life

Be the Help

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Whenever a public figure takes their own life, we get on social media hoping to reach out to those who are also struggling. We encourage them to seek help.

What if we’re speaking to the wrong people?

Rick Warren, in his first sermon series back after his son took his own life, told his church the one thing you should never say to someone dealing with a tragedy:

 

“Don’t say to somebody who just went through a major loss—they just got fired, they just got a bad report from the doctor. Don’t say ‘call me if you need anything.’ That’s about the dumbest thing you can say to somebody in shock. Because now you’ve put it on them. They’ve got to work to get your help. You’re not taking the initiative. You’re forcing them to take the initiative.”

 

Are we doing the same with those struggling with their mental health?

Are we saying “seek help” when we should be saying to those in the church “BE THE HELP.” Are our small group leaders and volunteers the ones we need to speak life in to when depression and anxiety is the national conversation so they feel empowered to ask the difficult questions of those under their care?

Be the help.

Don’t wait for them to reach out to us. Go to them.

After struggling with depression and anxiety, Andrew Stoecklein, lead pastor of Inland Hills Church in California, took his own life this last weekend.

Instead of saying: 
“Pastors, there are people in your life who love you and care for you. It’s ok to talk to them if you’ve had similar thoughts…”

I want to say: 
“Pastors, if you have people in your life who you love and care for, reach out to them to this week. Ask how they’re doing and then ask them again to make sure you got the honest answer."

Be the help. Take the initiative.

This week I'm praying for Andrew's family, his church, and for the conversations we need to have with the people we love.