If any of you know me, you know that I talk a lot about the “workers” in my head. Some people think it’s weird to confess that there’s a team of little men operating a factory inside your brain, but I’m convinced that everyone has a crew of workers in their heads. But I want to share what the layout of my brain is like because I’ve learned some lessons that I think are helpful.
We all know what it’s like to have a whole bunch of thoughts crammed inside that stress us out so I hope this post will help you explore your own workers’ office space and lead to a smoother work environment. So, without further ado, here is a roster of some of the workers in my head…
No, as much as I want to say that the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost are in control of my thoughts, they are not always at the command center. As a matter of fact, they usually only make cameos when I’m in danger of destroying myself—but we’ll get to that later. This trinity is a team of 3 main workers who run the overall show. They write up things I should say and put them in a fax machine at the center of the command center and I say whatever they wrote down.
They also speak 3 different languages and are responsible for translating any information that comes at me into those 3 languages. Those languages are spirituality, superheroes, and sexuality. Anything that I learn is translated and filed into some form of those languages. So because of these guys, I can explain almost anything to you in terms of spirituality, superheroes or sex, which many of you have seen me do. And before you jump to conclusions, the sexuality I’m talking about isn’t dirty jokes—there’s another worker for that.
Most of my workers just want to have fun and don’t like to stop and think about what they’re doing. Which is why I have a lot of moments like, “I’m sorry…that’s not what I meant to say…” But there is one worker who’s been interning with us recently who has it all together. The problem is that he’s really soft-spoken. So he’ll push his glasses up on his nose, raise his hand, and say, “Ummm….guys? I don’t think we should do that…” But my workers will shout, “Shut up! We’re trying to have fun here.” And go back to doing whatever dumb thing they were planning.
Thankfully, I’ve made so many stupid conversational mistakes that the workers have started realizing that this intern should be listened to. He’s usually the one who will pipe in when my workers suggest throwing water in a girl’s face to see her reaction and says, “Ummm….according to my research on female psychology, I don’t think that’s a good idea.”
A & P
This is a worker who’s not even supposed to be in my head. His only desire in life is to take any and all comments and make them as inappropriate as possible. I’ve tried firing him several times, but somehow he keeps coming back. Thankfully, the Core 3 have managed to keep his files from ever making it to the fax machine, but he never stops trying. He’s extraordinarily clever, but unforgivingly dirty. As far as his name goes, I was once asked what I thought A & P stood for and he said something I can’t repeat.
The Man in the Hood
Sometimes I’ll get myself into trouble and a conversation will end up going somewhere really dangerous or I’m wasting time doing something I’m not supposed to be doing. At this point, the Holy Spirit will swoop into the command center dressed in a long black, hooded robe, and all the workers will freeze and stare in shock. He’ll glance at the fax machine, give one look, then turn and walk away and that’ll be the end of whatever I was doing wrong. He doesn’t make too many drop-in appearances. More often, He’ll send a fax straight to the command center with someone’s name and a brief message i.e. “Joe Somebody. Romans 8:31. Text them. Now.”
These are ideas that my workers catch throughout the course of the day. They’re very easily distracted by these adorable little creatures and will hold one up to the screen in my mind in the middle of class, a meeting, or a church service and say, “Can we keep him? Please? Please? Please?!?!” I almost always say yes. But if I let them play with the wolves right then and there, no work ever gets done. So I make them put the wolves in cages in the back of the command center until I have time to feed them.
But if I go too long without feeding them, they grow into huge, ravenous werewolves that bang on the bars of their cages and bark so loudly the walls of my skull start shaking. Some people have panic attacks. I have creativity attacks. And this happens if I try to keep doing my work without ever feeding these ideas because they will eventually break out of their cages, smash through the factory, and trash all the files that I’ve been working on then swallow every worker whole in one gulp. The result is that I end up getting consumed by my ideas and before I know it, five hours have passed and I’ve finished a small novel, but my research paper for Pastoral Counseling due tomorrow is still undone.
Some of you know what it’s like to have some group of thoughts demanding your attention every waking moment of the day and you might be wondering how I deal with mine. Instead of ignoring my wolf ideas when they start barking in their cages, I calmly walk up to them, look at them and say, “Listen, boys, Daddy has a lot of work to do today. But once work is done, I’m gonna come home and I’m gonna feed you and we’re gonna play all you want. Okay?” And once that exchange happens, they sit back on their haunches, wag their tails and wait silently for me to come home.
But here’s the catch—I have to keep my promise. Because if I keep working through the night and never feed them or I come home and go straight to sleep, the next day they’ll bust out of their cages and terrorize everyone in the factory. So I discipline myself: 9 to 5 is work. Once work is done, work is done. Any work that’s unfinished after 5 has to wait for the next day. It’s so easy to convince myself that I have to keep working, and maybe that’s the case for you too. But for me, life is a lot easier when I don’t have to deal with a pack of hungry wolves waiting for me at home.