I learned of the Fat Man when reading Henry Cloud:
If you have ever heard the term "self-talk," you know what this means. We actually have "voices" in our heads, designed to be there by God. And they guide us. They help us grow, learn and mature. when children are small, their parents fill their heads with messages like, "You can do it, just stick to it." "You are loved, even when you fail." "You have gifts and abilities - go use them." "Don't go out in the street before you look to your right and left." On and on, these messages are implanted into our heads and become part of our thinking, behaving and being. It is so automatic that after a point, we do not even know we are thinking them. We just live them out.
But sometimes we get messages from parents and others that are not helpful, but they still dictate our behavior. It's like we have a bad boss in our heads saying, "You're not able to do it. You won't amount to anything." "Who do you think you are, thinking you can do that?" "You're stupid." Etc. etc. Then, because of the way the brain is designed, those messages are internalized as well, and they become part of us, so much so that they can drive...automatic patterns. We think certain things and do not even know we are thinking them. But we obey them nevertheless.
Never Go Back by Henry Cloud pg. 242I have a bad boss named The Fat Man. Fat is a bad boss because I worry if he's talking about me. Does he like me? How can I keep his jaws moving about something other than me? Who or what can I feed the Fat Man to keep him happy? Congregational leadership revealed the depth of Fat's influence on me.
The Fat Man kept my attention on congregational bosses. My eyes were taken off of obedience in next steps with Jesus for fear of disappointing. Fat came to see a show, enjoy popcorn and critique the performance. I was supposed to obey the Word, meet the Spirit and cast vision. Disconnections between my ideals and performance changed my self perception.
"...psychologists emphasize the importance of healthy self-talk. What research shows is that your internal self-talk is, for the most part, on "automatic" -- you are not even aware of the message that guide you. But when you do become aware of them and change the way you talk to and guide yourself, you change as a person. The Bible says over and over that we are as we think in our hearts (Proverbs 23:7) and that we need to "renew our minds" (Romans 12:2). It tells us to "take every thought captive" (2 Corinthians 10:5), as if our thoughts are invaders into the land of our hearts and minds. "Capture the trespasser in your head! Kick them out!" God says.
Never Go Back by Henry Cloud pg. 243
I am firing the Fat Man. His satisfactory intake is not my responsibility. As a Christian, my highest aim is to please Christ. All others, including the Fat Man, have to wait their turn. The more I serve the Lord, the more I see how unhelpful giving anyone else a turn can be. Every waking hour should be spent in obedient response to call.
I've already spent enough time in observation of the Fat Man's jaws. Turning my gaze from the Fat Man reminds:
On the contrary, we speak as those approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel. We are not trying to please people but God, who tests our hearts. (1 Thessalonians 2:4 NIV)