In Episode 078 of the Pathway to Promise Podcast Dr. Brad Miller has a conversation with Tony Colson. Author of “Unlock your Divine DNA”
Tony is an author, success coach, and speaker who serves high performing leaders who are dissatisfied with average. He helps them unlock their Divine DNA, create strategies that empower them to function at their highest level, and ultimately live a life of greatness.
In this in-depth discussion, Tony talks to Brad about his struggles with Obsessive Compulsion Disorder as the pastor of a large growing church. He chronicles for Brad the journey he took from incessantly washing his hands’ dozens of times a day and finding himself balled up in a fetal position prior to the breakthroughs he had to come to his present life of peace and personal empowerment.
For Tony, the breakthroughs revolved around the spiritual revelation that he had to obey what he knew to be true over following what he was feeling at the time.
Tony now teaches leaders to become great though his book, coaching and through “The Pursuit 180” process which teaches people how God can take the mess of your life to add some age and create a great message.
There are many valuable lessons to learn on Episode 078 of The Pathway to Promise Podcast with Dr. Brad Miller.
The Pathway to Promise Podcast is all about affirming that every person has a God-given promised life of peace, prosperity, and purpose which is achieved by following a planned pathway with the proper people to quickly overcome life’s challenges to achieve that promised life.
The Pathway to Promise Podcast is published constantly by Dr. Brad Miller and features his teaching on a life transformation by taking bold action, being motivated by loving relationships, drawing on a higher power and applying self-discipline.
Dr. Brad Miller
Brad Miller 0:35
Dr. Brad Miller back with you on the pathway to promise podcast where it is our mission to help folks overcome adversity to achieve their life of peace, prosperity, and passion and purpose. And part of what we do is we talked to great people who are great leaders who have had transformation in their life and help guide others, and transformation. We've had a number of great authors on our honor podcast. And that is no exception. Today as we have Tony Colson, who is a pastor and a leader, and he is the success coach, author, speaker, he is a works with high performing leaders who are dissatisfied with average, and helps them to unlock their divine DNA, which is the title of his book. And he was, he helps these folks create strategies to empower them, to go to greatness to live a life of greatness, Tony, welcome to pathway to profit.
Tony Colson 1:34
Thank you so much. It's such an honor to be here with you, Brad, and just excited about the conversation today.
Brad Miller 1:39
Awesome, awesome, I man. Well, we've got to know each other a little bit through some of the things we're involved with here. And, and the theme of your book is really an awesome i love the analogy of the DNA, divine of the whole DNA of how our bodies and our, our personalities, and everything else about us is made up. And then that's a great analogy, we'll get into some of that deep dive in here in just a minute. But I have a, I know that you're a person who was motivated to do some writing to do some other things in your life and your work because of some challenges that you've had in your life. And so it is if you Okay, just take a minute Tony to unpack your story of life and mission and ministry and where you arrived where you're at now.
Tony Colson 2:25
Thank you so much. It is a part of my story. This whole concept of unlocking your divine DNA is as it relates to God unlocking my own DNA. And I was radically saved when I was 16 years old and started, just fell in love with Jesus just started telling everybody about him and, and the person who mentored me was this great, man, but he also was very disciplinary and kind of discipleship making. And so I had as a pretty legal mystic view of being all in or all out, you're either 100% right, or 100%. Wrong. And it created for me, this, this bad combination that began to fall apart after a few years of being a Christian. And then also after a few years of being a pastor. And so this, this passion and desire of love for Jesus that wanted to tell everybody grew into this expression of ministry and getting to preach, and then that grew into an opportunity to pastor for as an assistant pastor, and that grew into planting a church. And anyone and I know that you have Brad as well, anyone that's planted a church, anyone that's lead people at any high level, knows that there are many difficulties as it relates to managing conflict and creating systems and trying to develop an organization that's exciting and effective, and you carry with you and you're the sole entrepreneur, if you will, when you're the sole leader, the highest leader, if you will, you carry all that responsibility, it, it really wraps and mingles in together with your identity. And as a young man, I didn't know how to separate that I didn't know how to separate my identity from calling in from work expression. And, and whenever my ministry wasn't successful as I thought it should be, then it completely impacted the way I viewed myself my self identity. And through a process of several years, I married this beautiful woman, lyst Shay, and we're still married now actually going to be celebrating 25 years this year.
Brad Miller 4:49
That's awesome. In and of itself, right there.
Tony Colson 4:52
That's a testimony all and of itself. And so more for her that is for me, but but we we had some very difficult times. And through this through this time of being a pastor of a being a church planter, not performing as a thought I should be able to, I began to unravel on the inside. And I began to, interestingly, I was able to keep most of this is conflict on the inside of me from being noticed on the outside, is it related to the platform that I had, I would be able to go to the stage and perform, if you will, yeah. But off the stage in my home. And with those who are the closest with me, they wouldn't see the struggle that was going on in my life. It's
Brad Miller 5:41
entirely truly deep down and behind the scenes and family life, the things, there was a great turmoil going on
Tony Colson 5:48
very much a great term will remember one occasion, actually, I was balled up in a fetal position in my office, and my wife came in and helped me get myself together so I can go up and go on stage and preach. struggled a felon fear was the proponent that led me into this unraveling. And that fear led to a tormenting life of OCD, Compulsive Disorder. I don't even remember the severity of it as much as my wife does. Because she watched from a, from a posture of a sound mind, my mind was pretty messed up. And so I'm just trying to survive it. She's watching it. She said that one day I took 29 showers.
Brad Miller 6:38
Tony Colson 6:39
okay, not good for the water bill, for sure. And my hands would literally be so dry from all the cleansing, that my hands would crack and bleed. And mine was also a spiritual OCD. So not only did I feel dirty, outwardly felt dirty all the time inwardly. And so I was constantly confessing and constantly trying to make myself pure, and my wife was actually terrified that I was going to confess something because most of this was going on in my mind, it wasn't reality. So were you absolved? Or were you just dissolved into killed that was just making you crazy here is that was going guilt is very much a guilt driven life. And, and so my wife was always terrified that I was going to confess something to somebody that I thought I did. And I and I did do that at times. But thankfully, it was never bad enough. That it would that it ruined me. Yeah. But she was always afraid. Because if it came to my mind, to me, it was real. And so if I had the thought that it was real. And so that's, that's the challenge with obsessive compulsive disorder is it's, it's, there's a hard, there's a hard, it's very difficult to divide the reality of what you're feeling and the reality of what it is. And thankfully, God brought me to a place of freeing me from fear and freeing me from OCD. I was I was on medicine meant for, for my mind. Sure. And God, I don't take any medicines. Now. This these, I can't say that I'm completely 100% never have an issue. But it never it doesn't control my life. It doesn't impact the expression of my life any longer. And so I may feel it, but it doesn't. It doesn't overwhelm it doesn't control me. That's awesome.
Brad Miller 8:40
Yeah. So as this process here, you've been able to overcome this OCD. And you've been able to live a productive life as a as a pastor and as a church planter. And even though you've had some challenges there as Pastor, I'm a pastor as well. And certainly that my share of challenges, you have arrived at a pretty good place now. But tell me a little bit about, you've mentioned a couple things, but you mentioned, you know, being in fetal position, and OCD and so on. And you, you mentioned your wife here, but I'm interested in some of the bold actions that you took kind of consciously, what are some things that you did, I had to break some patterns of what you did before, in order to get you through because a lot of people stay stuck, where you are at my friend, as you know, from your ministry, so tell me what some of the things you did.
Tony Colson 9:29
I think the perplexing thing, as I told you, I was very disciplined.
I'm known to be a disciplined person. So I did what you're supposed to do. I mean, what you learn you're supposed to do, as a Christian, I prayed, I fasted, I confessed my sins, I, I got counseling, I mean, I did everything that I knew to do, and I was still entangled. And, and so there, there were different breaking, breaking through points throughout this journey. And so I, if I was to say anything to anyone, especially people of faith, do what you know, you're supposed to do, okay? You got to you have to invest yourself as it relates to prayer and fasting, don't be afraid. Now, thankfully, God had given me some accountability partners, God given me some people to speak into my life through counseling, and pastors that were safe people. And so they were able to walk with me through this journey. and protect me if you will, through this process. And so, so that's, that's the important thing is, is being trusting of God, number one, God's gonna take care of you. God's gonna, if you if your heart is for freedom, he's going to take care of you. And so he connected me with the right people. And then there was these moments of breakthrough. And each moment of breakthrough would bring me a little bit closer to my freedom. And ultimately, it came down to a point of, first of all, this idea, this revelation of my DNA, because mine is and I believe that happens to so many people, it's wrapped up in your identity, it's the way you view yourself. That says, as a man thinks, so he is. And so as you as you view yourself, it has a direct impact on the way you express behavior and the way you go about life. And mine was intertwined with the way I viewed my my identity who I am. And the enemy actually had used a scripture to trick me on that.
Brad Miller 11:39
Tony Colson 11:40
Yes, it was in flipping and chapter two, I was actually reading the New International Version at that time in my life. And, and so I was, again, I'm a study or a discipline, I'm praying, I'm seeking the Lord. And, and so part of it was reading and flipping out like the New International Version, there's some areas there that I feel like now that I've grown and I have a better understanding, I realized there's some things that are not as great as it should be translation wise, but in that, in this case, flipping is chapter two is a bad translation. And it's the scripture that, that it talks about having the same attitude, the same mind is Christ. And in this in this passage, it says that Jesus made himself now a better translation. Brad would have been he made himself of no reputation. Okay. Okay. The NIV translation says he made himself nothing. Okay. Well, the enemy took that word nothing, and said, in order for you to be like Jesus, you got to become nothing. Hmm. Well, it eat away at the core of much as
Brad Miller 12:47
a blow to your self esteem, then right?
Unknown Speaker 12:52
Say that again.
Brad Miller 12:54
He was upload your self esteem,
Tony Colson 12:56
oh, everything. I mean, basically, I lost complete trust in who I am, I lost I, I believe that if I committed one sin, well, why would not commit and worsen? And if I couldn't accomplish this, how can I accomplish it totally assaulted my identity, all on a scripture
Brad Miller 13:18
now? Because then, of course, it says it was scripture and brought authority with it for you.
Tony Colson 13:22
Correct? Right. And so and, and again, it goes all the way back, this is all this is the revelation that God brought me. In the book, unlocking your divine DNA, it talks about this strategy that that Satan had with Eve, the serpent had with Eve in the garden, he questioned God's word that was, and he does the same thing today. So yeah.
Brad Miller 13:47
Because what was a bit as you say, what was in IV was a bad translation for you to as a spoken your life, but for someone else, it might speak differently, you know, it'd be helpful to them. And so, but this is it, how you and out various ways are connecting with some of the processes that you need to do. You mentioned accountability partners, you mentioned your wife, you mentioned other things that you did, I don't achieve. Go now for your wife and loving relationships, that emotional part, you know, what you're describing basically, is, you know, kind of a, a mental, emotional, spiritual challenge that you had. And a piece of it had to be the emotional part. Love your relationships, how how, what parts of that play.
Tony Colson 14:36
I think the most profound moment in my struggle was I had came to this place where I was, I had thought I had committed a terrible sin. And I went and confess that to my wife. Now, again, this is all this mental struggle is going on, in my mind if it was a thought it was real. So I confess this horrible thing to my wife, which I didn't do. And she looked at me and what I was expecting from her was Get out of my life. We're done. It's over. She said, Let's go get the kids. And let's go to the well, we have a music card. Dollywood, Dollywood, enjoy our family today. That was her response. And so it was like, at my worst at my lowest place. She loved me because of who I was not because of anything that I did or didn't do.
Brad Miller 15:36
That's an amazing story of grace on your wife's part right there, my friend.
Tony Colson 15:39
She is she demonstrated great, great, great grace, great love, God sighs love. And, and that was I'll never forget that moment. Because it created for me a foundation to fall upon, that wouldn't let me fall apart.
Brad Miller 15:58
That's awesome. That is awesome. And then and now that process here now you'd seems like in kind of a roundabout way, you were able to draw on this on your, on your faith in your spiritual life. Even though there were some convoluted parts of it. That certainly spoke into your life at a at a different in a different way, I think, to help you heal and come to wholeness. say more about your, how your spiritual journey evolved and went in a little different direction. And maybe you thought when you were wrapped up your identity and your kind of your professional spirituality.
Tony Colson 16:34
What they the revelation that set me free was, was just this concept of obeying the truth. It's interesting how God took the enemy took and mess me up theologically. And God took the same he took word, he took his word, and set me free with it. So the enemy took God's word and mess me up. God took his word. And, and so you were asking about bold statements. And this one are bold steps that I had to take to get free. Sure. And this is all a part of this process. And maybe I'll do some work on on OCD, particularly. But it's this concept of not responding to what you feel, but under but obeying what is true. And, uh, somehow with God's grace, I pulled myself to a place and I remember not washing my hands when I wanted to wash my hands.
Brad Miller 17:38
Okay. So that was that that was a breakthrough for us as a breakthrough.
Tony Colson 17:42
So as I began to make the steps of obeying what I knew to be true, not what I felt, it began to empower me to move forward in life and it began to cause me to step into a new place, my mind is sharper now, maybe than it's ever been. But way back to when I was in high school and college, there's no doubt my mind, the clarity of it. My ability remember, it's it's an amazing thing. I used to forget names all the time now almost rarely, rarely ever, do I forget a name. Just my ability to process me It's an exciting time in my life. It's it's, it's as if I've been reborn again. I know, you're not supposed to get reborn again. But I somehow I felt like I got reborn again. And so it's, it's an amazing
Brad Miller 18:33
transformation. Any the process of transformation isn't just an arrival point, you know, we like I like to talk in my process that I use, arriving at your promise life. But that's just the beginning. That's not a, an endpoint, promise, life, peace, prosperity and purpose. And it means that some for some of us, we think, you know, we become a Christian or we get that job or the, you know, whatever it is that we think is the end all be all, then work either way. It's the transformation is be ongoing. And so like some of these new new disciplines, you had to learn some new disciplines, some new ways of doing things that were actually helpful to you. And, and then part of what you're doing now, is you're teaching others the process. So tell me what are some of the principles of your transformation? habits otherwise, what are you doing now that is transferable, that you can teach others that you could speak into their life?
Tony Colson 19:32
One of the things I'm doing right now, Brad is developing a coaching program called my pursuit one at and it's a systemic, a systematic change process to help people walk through their their journey. And it's built on the acronym pursuit. And so first of all, the P in pursuit is to know what you're pursuing. So that's the concept of identifying your vision, identifying the calling that