The Night My House Burned Down | Part III

“Thoughts create beliefs in the conscious mind; once sent to the subconscious, those beliefs become feelings and actions. If your subconscious computes that you will likely succeed at something, it brings all your powers to bear to make it come true. If it computes that you’ll fail, it will generate behavior to make that come true–that’s what it means to be self-destructive.”

-Tim Sanders, Today We Are Rich

It has taken me years to get the courage to write part 1 of this series (and even longer to access the tools to make it a reality in my life). I have mulled over writing part 3 of this series for weeks now, and the reason is that truthfully, I was afraid to write it.

Afraid that you all might think we should be talking about marketing strategy, or off-camera lighting instead of vulnerability, trauma, and how to change our core belief systems.

But today I am stepping into those fears and writing what we know we need to send you regardless of that fear, and if you don’t want to read it, that’s totally fine! We have a great shooting and marketing piece coming your way soon enough.

Fear causes people to freeze and to not act, and fear typically is a symptom of shame in my life. Shame that someone will not like what we say, or not like who we are, or not like the direction we are headed. But that is OK. Shame, fear and the controls we put into place to manage them are NOT something we want in our lives anymore!

Welcome to part 3 of the the Night My House Burned Down.


In part 2 we walked through the Poverty Mind-Set and demonstrated just how destructive it is. I told you about my personal mind-set from my early years and how I truly believed that success was something unavailable to me. That all changed ONCE I changed my information intake.

If we now understand that “thoughts create beliefs in the conscious mind” and that “those thoughts become actions and feelings” then we now know that in order to become the people that we have always wanted to become and to build the businesses that we have always dreamed of building, we have to create a new system for receiving information and be tuned in to what we allow to dominate our minds.

Essentially, if you want to change your circumstances, it starts with how you think, and the decisions and choices you then make based on your beliefs.

Here’s how to start:

(NOTE: There is something that is relatively new to me that I believe I should share (I have been hesitating, but know I should and I will at the end of this rather LONG post), but first, lets recap a post we wrote in January about how to change your Mind-Diet and therefore change your core belief systems. To do this is actually very simple, but it does take dedication and focus.)

Step 1: Take an Inventory of What you Allow into Your Mind Each Day

Tim Sanders (in his book Today We Are Rich) says to spend the next few weeks taking an inventory in a small journal of what goes into your mind. Everything that you read, listen to and watch should be quickly logged with the amount of time spent doing it, and then you should quickly categorize the Tone (was it positive, negative or neutral) of each of those events. (We wrote about this in our “A Great 2016 Starts Here” post).

You should also do this for people that you spend time with (friends, family and associates). A youth pastor of mine often said, “Show me your friends and I’ll show you your future.” Don’t underestimate the impact people have that you surround yourself with!

Then after you do this for a few weeks, quickly scan over the journal and circle the negative or useless information you have “consumed” and then highlight the positive information and relationships.

Once you become aware of what you are letting in, then you can start to do something about it.

Step 2: Filter Out The Negative

You must start taking control of your Mind-Intake if you want true change in your life.

If the first thing you do when you get up is read the news, check email, hop on social media (or like those of us with kids) get your kids ups and let the chaos begin, then we need to re-think our first mind meal.

How you start the day will determine the thoughts that dominate your afternoon and night.

This morning, I (Zach) woke up and listened to the Bible App audio of Romans chapters 4 and 5, and then got my son up and cooked him breakfast (and it is amazing how positive that experience was since I started my morning with a positive intake). On my way to work at a coffee shop I put on the Hold Me Tight audio book which is a marriage study that Jody and I are doing that teaches positive cycles in conversation and how to hear each others deepest emotional needs. This got me thinking positive thoughts about Jody and what I can do to enhance our marriage.

I then got in to work, and opened Trello and starting organizing my day and prioritizing tasks. I refused to open my email, Facebook or Instagram or listen to the news, as all of those things become either neutral or negative influences on the start of my day. When I do open email or check social media, it is with a business mind-set and purpose, and to get in and get out fast.

My day was full of positive thinking, belief in what we are doing, and completing key tasks and staying focused on helping others.

Step 3: Up Until Now

In my Transformational Coaching I did with the incredible Julia Woods of Beautiful Outcome, she changed ONE phrase in my daily language that had been holding me back for YEARS of my life.

“Up Until Now”

Whenever I catch myself saying something like “I was hurt as a kid, and I just keep people at a distance to protect myself.” I insert the phrase “up until now.” (I use this for anything that I say that seems concrete in my mind, but that I do want change to happen in).

What that does is it takes all that negative language and turns it futuristic. It says, “yeah, things have been hard, but I can change that! They WERE hard up until now.” Some might say that I’m just fooling myself because those thoughts or feelings I have do have truth to them. But Tim Sanders says:

“The reason it is so important to feed your mind good stuff is that the resulting thoughts determine your success or failure, your happiness or misery, and most important, the circumstances of your life.”

You have to say “enough is enough!” No longer will allow what has happened TO me determine WHO I will become and who I WILL be.

The Final Step To TRUE Transformation: Vulnerability

This is the part I didn’t want to share, but KNOW that I need to share.

For the last 10 years of marriage and my entire life before I met my wife, I always believed that who I was, who I TRULY was, was not something anyone wanted.

The kid who grew up poor. The kid who didn’t get an education. The kid who wet the bed until he was 12 years old and never stayed at friends houses because of it (admitting that one is still fresh to me and really hard to say). The kid (and adult) who thought he was dumb. The man who coped and medicated his pain in ways that hurt those around him. Who would want that person? Who would love that person?

But I have found something in the relationship with my son that I spoke about in Part 1 of this series. Because of my son’s complete honesty about who he is, and because he has no shame covering his heart (like I have had up until now) there was this safety for me to open up to my son and allow him access to my heart. When I was seen for who I truly am for what I believe was the very first time, it started a chain reaction in me that I am still coming to grips with.

It revealed my true self. One that I had not even known was there. He opened up my wounds, my shame, my fear, and exposed my heart. Because of that I decided to make a choice. Would I continue to medicate my pain and cope, or would I finally allow comfort and healing to enter my wounds? Would I risk MORE exposure to those around me like my wife and close friends? Or would I continue to hide, cover my shame, and control those around me so they would not see it?

I chose healing and comfort. For the last 6 weeks of my life, for the first time I can remember, I have not medicated my pain (praise be to God for that!). I have been transformed and who I truly am is coming to the surface for the first time in my life. I have been exposing that true self to my wife, which has been transformational for our marriage. I have been exposing that true self to my friends, my family, and my son and it is radically changing me. It also is SUPER hard!

What I am saying is that your testimony matters, your mind-set matters, and your mind-diet matters, but there is something more vital, more critical, and more important to do than ALL of that.

It is the simple act of vulnerability.

The act of telling my wife what is TRULY going on in my heart. No longer holding back that last 10%. Exposure and honesty has brought healing to my life like nothing else before it.

Shame > Fear > Control > Cope: Repeat

I have come to realize that when something happens to me (or I do something to myself) that is hard to come to grips with (abuse, wrong behaviors, violence against me, abusive language towards me, being different in some way, and the list goes on), it can cause shame. Then the natural reaction to that shame is fear that someone will expose it. So we then use control, brought on buy fear, to hide our shame. Then many of us manage our pain caused by the shame of what has happened to us. We manage it with drugs, alcohol, pornography, acting out, anger, food, shopping, or whatever we can use to numb us to our pain.

Once I made a decision to STOP medicating and coping, it allowed that pain to come straight to the surface. Once it comes to the surface, I can deal with it, get comfort for it, and get healing for it. When my pain is dealt with properly, I no longer need to cope. I can be free and start walking in liberty.

I know this is deep, and that some of you may be going “hey, don’t you guys teach lighting and stuff? Is that what this email list is about?” The answer is yes and no. Most of the time we teach about lighting and business and systems, but we felt called to speak about something deeper and more important for a few weeks and we are grateful you have all given us your ears and listened to what we had to say.

If any of this message is speaking to you and you want freedom from the shame that has taken over your life and caused you to live in darkness, then I want to give you some powerful resources to help you on your journey of recovery (some of which, that have literally changed my life) . We believe that you are called to be free of shame, and free from the things that hold you back from being who you were truly created to be.

Transformational Coaching

If you want to walk through your story with someone with insight on who you truly are, then coaching with Julia Woods will be one of THE most powerful experiences of your life. I walked through the 12 weeks with her and it was life changing.

Get More Info Here on TFC

Bethesda Workshops

If you have a sexual addiction and need freedom, then be bold, be strong, and contact the team at Bethesda. People come from all over to attend these powerful workshops, and they can show you how to get healing for your wounds and help you cope in the right way and get free of coping behavior.

Contact Bethesda Workshops

Faith Journey

As I mentioned in Part I, my world was rocked when I came to know the Lord at 17. Throughout my life He has been the ever-present one always loving me, accepting me and welcoming me with open arms, even when I messed up bad. His hand has been evident on my life. Without the Lord saving me, guiding me, and protecting me I wouldn’t be here today. If you’re not sure about the whole Jesus thing, but are interested, I encourage you to find a Bible-believing church and get plugged into a small group where you can surround yourself with caring people who can answer your questions.

Emotionally Focused Therapy

If you are married and feel emotionally distant from your spouse, we recommend finding a Bible Based EFT counselor that comes HIGHLY recommended and getting into counseling. Getting a coach to be a third party in your marriage does not mean that you are bad, broken or wrong, it instead means that you care so much about your spouse that you want to make things better. Jody and I have been in this type of counseling for the past 8 months and it has been transformational for us.

In conjunction with our counseling, we are reading Hold Me Tight, and it has been really hard, but powerful. We are experiencing closeness like we never knew we could have, and it has been the best investment in US we could have ever made. You BOTH have to want it, but when you both decide that you want it, it is powerful.

Marriage Intensives

Is your marriage on the brink and you’re in desperate need of help? Check out Focus on the Family’s Marriage intensives, which are designed to help marriages in crisis.

Marriage Intensive Bookings

Marriage Retreat

Jody and I started in incredible marriage retreat called Connect which just happened last week. We had 64 couples at WinShape Retreat Center with us for 3.5 days, and it was truly transformational. It is an event for married couples that are in business together and focusses on that unique dynamic. We have just over 60 spots for next year, and have already sold 30 of those spots to this years attendees and it will sell out super fast!

To find out more about Connect Retreat, CLICK HERE and if you want to register, click below!

Register for CONNECT 2017!

Need a Trusted Person to Talk to?

Faith based, Focus on the Family has licensed counselors available (for free) to listen and provide guidance, and to pray with you.

Chat With Someone Now

Before I end this 3-part series, I want to share with you a story…

There is an old story of a very wealthy man that had 2 sons. Both were born into wealth and both were given a great inheritance. One son stayed the path his father had set out for him, and the other took his inheritance and squandered it all and ended up left with nothing. He hit rock bottom of mind, body and spirit.

He decided he had had enough, so he got up and started the journey home to his father’s hoause. He thought to himself, “If I just go home, tell my father that I am no longer worthy to be called his son, maybe my father will let me work as a hired hand and at least I won’t starve.”

While he was still a long way off from his child-hood home, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him.

The son said to him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.”

But the father said to his servants, “Quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and shoes on his feet. Bring the best of our food and let’s have a feast and celebrate. For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.” The entire family began to celebrate that the Prodigal was home.

This is what my heavenly Father thinks of me. For a long time I thought I wasn’t worthy of a love so unconditional and such acceptance, and I thought so lowly of myself. This isn’t truth! He is waiting with open arms to love me, accept me and help me start brand new. This is the restoration and lasting transformation that I have found in knowing God.

Thanks for joining me as I’ve shared, and I hope that this has been a far bigger blessing to you than any shooting or business content we’ve put out.

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