When I was 6, I fully believed the world revolved around me. I lived my life in front of an imaginary audience, talking them through everything I did…
At the playground: “the monkey bars are hard, but let’s give it a try!”
At school: “Peanut butter and jelly for lunch today – againnnn – time to find a trading partner!
At home: (mostly a lot of singing and dancing and explaining Jesus to my dogs – I was super concerned about their souls spending eternity in hell)
And all this before The Truman Show was a thing. You’d think when that movie came out, it would show me the ridiculous nature of my exploits. In fact, it only solidified my belief that I might actually BE Truman…
It was a weird tick and probably explains why I had only a handful of friends at any given time.
But maybe also not that hard to understand, considering I was an only child with lotssss of time on my hands.
The weirder part, honestly, is that this… we’ll call it a “complex”… never really went away.
Although I don’t talk to myself (as much) anymore and I certainly don’t believe people are watching me 24/7, I still feel like I’m more special than anyone else.
I have a bigger purpose. I deserve more happiness. I expect everything to work out in my favor.
This is partly because, well… things always sorta have worked out in my favor.
It’s not like my parents never told me “no.” It’s more that, for the better part of my life, nobody challenged my crazy. With no siblings around to make fun of me and push back against my idea that I was The Best Thing On The Planet, I believed I actually was.
Even as I got older and experienced more of life’s dramatic ups and downs, I never completely shook the thought that my destiny HAD to be legendary.
I always pictured it as a meteoric rise to fame, followed by book deals, talk show interviews, maybe some invitations to guest star in films – the possibilities were endless.
I just needed to be discovered. Surely if I put myself “out there” enough, folks would start to recognize my genius and the money would soon follow.
Except it never did. I’d craft these personal blog posts, filled with wit and humor and endings that made me cry and every time I’d hit “publish,” I absolutely knew: THIS is it. This is the one that’s going to launch me.
And then the crushing disappointment of 3 meager Facebook “likes” would ruin me for the next several days.
It’s a cycle that’s gone on since this blog began over 5 years ago. It’s sick and sad. It drains me of all joy and happiness and makes me a much worse mom, partner and friend.
But it was also addicting, this constant rollercoaster of space-level highs and bottom-of-the-ocean lows. I suppose it felt worthwhile, putting myself through all that. Because one day, it would pay off.
This is the heartbreaking journey of a rising star.
But lately, I’ve begun to consider all that I’m losing in this process of giving myself over to rampant dreams of fame and fortune; all the richness and goodness of life that I’m missing when I’m busy wallowing in the pit of “whyyyyy meeeee?”
Nothing is worth trading in our joy so completely. Nothing.
Notice, I didn’t say “happiness.” Plenty of things in life might leave us unhappy – things we can’t control or change. And that isn’t really the point of being here.
This is still something with which I’m grappling daily, if not hourly. I believe I deserve happiness, and when the world doesn’t match up to my expectations, I demand answers.
This week, I got one. Sitting at a red light on the way to meet a friend at the Y for a barre class, I was overcome with frustration that I’m not a rich and famous writer. With tears rolling down my cheeks, I cried out to God (because who else was around?): what the literal FUCK?
Rather than actually engage my nonsense, God answered in true Yoda form: what you pursue controls you. Or, I guess Yoda would be more like “control you, they will – the things you pursue.”
In any case, this thought resounded so clearly in my head, bouncing back and forth all through barre class squats and side planks.
What you pursue controls you.
Well, I suppose I’ve been pursuing recognition through the blog. And validation. I spend money on things that will make me look important and therefore feel important.
And I pursue meaningful relationships with my husband, kids and friends.
But even then, it’s astounding how much of those interactions are about ME – my schedule, my comfort, the love and acceptance I reap.
I pursue THINGS, which can never bring me the validation for which I seek.
I pursue MONEY, which only leads to desire for more money or deep despair at not having “enough.”
And I pursue PEOPLE, as long as my boundaries aren’t pushed beyond my comfort.
It’s time to pursue something else – someone else.
A God who actually CAN give me everything I’m searching for anyways – love, validation, recognition, acceptance, hope, joy and peace.
More than anything, I want to believe that there is an exciting journey ahead and that every day isn’t going to be filled with more boring routines and numb repetition.
You know, all the things that cage you in when you have kids.
I’m not saying I’m 100% done running after things that won’t fulfill me. I’m only human – that sorta seems to be our plight.
But I see SO clearly now that nothing I’m chasing after is chasing me back…
Maybe this whole time, you and I have been limiting ourselves to ONE destiny that we thought could bring us all the fulfillment we desired… when there are far more exciting possibilities in store.
This God, He’s a master storyteller with all of the resources in the world at His disposal.
And to Him, you ARE The Truman Show. He’s watched you from Day One (like a doting grandmother, not like a guy in a creepy van with candy). He knows you better than you know yourself and He promises to give you the desires of your heart.
Do YOU even know what you truly desire? Because it would really suck to spend your whole life running after it, only to find that it leaves you just as empty as everything else.
It’s time to pursue someone who isn’t looking to control you, but instead offer you life and peace and a personalized adventure that is real and lasting. This is like some honest-to-God choose-your-own-adventure shit.
Here’s your first task: Ask God to show up.
Then, as Yoda would say, “Ready for some surprises you should be.”
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