[GUEST POST] by Jacob Carlson (@jm_carlson)
“I’m trying this new thing called honesty.”
This is what I told my parents the last time that I was in Kansas City visiting them.
I don’t remember the exact conversation, the dialogue that preceded this declaration of truthfulness, but I do recall the response.
“What all does that entail?”
I don’t know if my parents were caught off guard more by the fact that I would commit such an audacious act as being honest or that this was a new concept for me.
What led me to this epiphany of integrity was my entire life. My entire life has been lived in a way as to project a certain image to those around me. And depending on the crowd I find myself within, the ME that I project can be one of a variety of SELFs that I keep in my personal repertoire of Jakes.
To some, an outgoing and spontaneous character.
To some, a reserved and scholarly individual.
To some, a hard-headed leader.
To some, an innocent blonde boy with harmless blue eyes.
Various scenes call for a variety of actors. But this constant shadow play has its consequences.
A shadow play is a form of storytelling that uses flat articulated figures (“shadow puppets”) and a light source to create shadows that give off the impression of real things and people. While the shadow puppets are intended to create the appearance of real people, what lies between the light and the backdrop is very fake.
Unfortunately, I’ve realized that most of my life has been a giant shadow play. I project a certain me with hopes that those around me find the shadow to be a pleasing and acceptable representation of myself. All the while, the real ME remains hidden, controlling the puppets of myself from below a red-velvet curtain.
I keep my true SELF an arm’s length away, eventually losing sight of the real ME.
What’s the issue? Do I not think my friends will not accept ME? Do I find ME to be not good enough for my family? Is ME not even acceptable to ME because the real ME has been diluted by a whole bunch of little me shadow puppets?
Probably the biggest thing I wrestle with is honesty with God. How could God ever accept ME in light of not just my past, but my present?
I have to wonder: Am I the only one living a giant shadow play? Are others hiding behind a red-velvet curtain because they don’t think the true THEM is good enough? If so, what a ridiculous way for all of us to live. Trying to impress each other by putting ourselves through a rigorous act of playing pseudo-self. There has to be a more logical way to live. An easier way to live. A less tiring way to live. A more authentic way to live. There is and it’s called:
Being the true YOU that you were created to be.
Are you, like me, tired and restless from living a shadow play life? What has your shadow play gotten you except more stress and more worry?
Join me. Put your shadow puppets down. Come out from behind the red-velvet curtain.
Try this new thing called honesty.