Wednesday, July 7, 2010


If I was a car out of alignment I bet it would feel like this. There's this friction in my soul that tells me something isn't right. With a vehicle it's easier to see. I'm no mechanic but that's one of five car repairs I've got a handle on. If my ride flings itself into oncoming traffic when I release the wheel it needs a car doctor. Other repairs I diagnose are as follows:

1. Put air in back left tire.
2. Put air in back right tire.
3. Put air in front left tire.
4. Put air in front right tire.

I'm just sayin'. If you need help with air and tires, I'm your man.

Back to soul-friction. Two things pull me from the blog's primary purpose. (Blogging 5x/week to process failure and emerge with peace). I'm fighting to stay centered. If I let go I'll careen in one of two destructive directions.

Destructive Direction #1 (aka: swerve into ditch)

Too much too soon. Success captures my imagination and teases me away from soul searching. Of course there's room for dreaming but I could easily become consumed with blogging for blogging's sake, instead of for healing's sake.

This writing thing has gotten into my system. I love it! And while I'm insecure because I've never had training, I sometimes wonder if I have natural talent. When people like my words I stand taller, grin at a mirror and remind myself: "I'm good enough, I'm smart enough, and gosh darn it, people like me!"

I can't help but imagine the future. It's a bright place where children frolic at my ankles and my life is in order. Periodically Danielle and I load the kids into the Volvo for a book tour that's inspiring people nationwide. It's OK to hope, right?

But almost immediately I veer for the ditch. I become self-important and worry about satisfying readers today. Within hours I'm bouncing like a pinball. Shooting for silly, serious, sincere, and sarcastic. It's not only impossible, it's exhausting! I quickly become someone else. People rarely like the new me, because it's a fake me.

All that to say I can't swerve to the right. Can't be hypnotized with visions of perfection. That thinking is what got me here. Curse my crazy pain-numbing impulse to chase unreal things because they seem happier.

Destructive Direction #2 (aka: swerve into traffic)

A new place to hide. As crazy as this sounds, I can easily get lost among my rants. Brace yourself for my first ever Breakthrough Realization of the Week. (Let's call it BROTW and pretend I'll use it again). Ready for the BROTW? I cannot process everything I need to process publicly! There it is. Are you blown away?

I'm obviously a proponent for authenticity, but if you think I'm going to throw my wife or family under the bus, you're crazy! I'm also not going to tell you if I want to masturbate. Sorry to disappoint. (I hope there was an office pool somewhere taking bets on how many days before THAT word appeared in my blog. I bet the over/under was 55. Always take the under. It took seven days to curse. It was inevitable.)

I need freedom to feel hurt and angry about private stuff. The depths could be hurtful to people I love, or destructive to strangers. As much as I need to be honest, I cannot do it without regard for others. That's unloving.

It's also unsafe for me. Not everyone has the same experiences in life, and some people can't relate. Chalk it up to denial, lack of grace, or lack of relationship, but it's just dangerous to let my junk dangle in the wind. Not only will I hurt others, but I'll get hurt too.

I've been so confused over this issue that I've been hiding in my blog. I've veered toward oncoming traffic by ranting in circles about things that have little bearing on my actual inner angst. If I just get angry for anger's sake, then I still avoid the real pain of things too deep for a blog.

My brilliant wife helped me see it. She suggested three minutes to vent on a Word document before blogging. She encouraged the blog project but said I should ask myself if there's anything I need to say privately first.

This was huge because when I've considered a private blog it sounded daunting. But she framed it like a pre-blog-soul-check and I thought, "yeah, I can do that!" (I should also mention that several great friends suggested variations of this idea).

All that to say, I can't swerve to the left either. If I hide behind random rants I'll stunt my progress and ultimately fail to get where I want to go. So here's to getting a soul-tune-up. Now I'm ready to rumble openly for a couple weeks at least!


  1. A good wife is a (really) good thing.

  2. Go to the Rock.. a very present help in time of need. God is good..all the time. We are not:) That's why He came..

  3. Awesome. Your clarity and ability to constantly refocus are commendable.
    Keep going :) And keep listening to your wife!
    I'll be watching for the next BROTW. Could be come a thing, you know? Your first published work . . . BROTW for the Soul . . .

  4. That's a brilliant solution I think. Perfect way to establish personal boundaries and protection. Just remember that any time you put yourself out there in an honest, open and vulnerable state, there will always be critics and ridicule. It gives fearful people an opportunity to deflect attention from their own issues to yours, thus preventing them from dealing with said issues. The criticism will hurt but it will also make you a wiser man with that perspective in mind.
    Keep writing. You've always been a gifted and poignant writer, and with this much practice those gifts and insight will only be honed and increased. I'm really looking forward to what develops from this journey you've begun.


  5. Really good idea for word doc. Kudos to Danielle for suggesting it! :) You could also choose to save as draft and come back later (when cooler heads are prevailing) to judge whether it is publishable.

    BTW: I'm an English major. I have training. I would stop following you in a heartbeat if I thought your writing was not worth reading. You are naturally talented (take it from someone with LOTS of literature classes behind her) and you need to heal, find your voice, and seek God's direction. I do believe you have a calling on your life, and I would never say that lightly.

    Looking forward to watching you grow, and praying for you and your family.

  6. and when i say "watching you grow" i just mean reading new stuff. LOL.

    have an awesome week, Matt!

  7. Instead of my own blog, I've decided that I'll focus my entire written existence on comments to your posts - I'd love to say I'd be like your Paul Schafer but I'm probably just Andy Richter material.

    Favorite quote from this entry:
    "Back to soul-friction"

    Runner up would have to be everything from "I'm obviously a proponent . . . " to "It was inevitable."

  8. Matt, I read your blog faithfully. You appear to have turned a corner.