In the 1998 movie The Truman Show Jim Carrey thought he had a great life and that we was in control. What he gradually discovers is that his entire life had been part of a giant reality show, and all the things he took for granted as being true were really just part of someone else’s story. When he finds out that he really does have a choice, he launches into a new life.
The movie was a funny but pointed metaphor for our own lives. From the time that we are children, we naturally try to fit in, and we do that by playing a part, the part that’s expected of us or the part that we think will get us ahead. Whether we become the good child to get the love of a parent or the rebellious child to get their attention, the brainy kid to get the respect of teachers or the jock or the jokester, what we are doing is seeking out ways of being part of someone else’s story.
Sometimes we can live our whole lives without thinking what it would be like to write our own script, to launch out into our own story. And just like Jim Carrey in the movie, if we start to push back against the story that we’re in, our lives can actually get more confused and chaotic and scary.
For years I thought my story was living out my life doing the best I could in a dysfunctional marriage. And just like in the movie, challenging that story and deciding that it wasn’t the one I wanted to live in plunged my life into a very dark time. But after braving the storm, I discovered a new story that was truly beyond my dreams.
Now I doubt that you’re secretly in a giant reality show like Jim Carrey, but is there a part of your life that really isn’t your own— where you haven’t made your own choices and wrote your own story, but have just conformed your life to someone else’s expectations? Have the courage to make your story YOUR story. It won’t be easy, but you will come out of the storm into a beautiful new day.