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Man Behind the Curtain Syndrome

Ben Arment has an amazing post about following your dreams. You must go read it and check out his accompanying picture. The picture alone will smack you in the face while making you laugh at the same time.

Go read that and come back... I'll wait.

Okay, So Ben's thought lead me back to something I've wrestled with for most of my life. I guess I call it the "Man Behind the Curtain Syndrome".

I've always been fairly confident in who I am and who God has created me to be. I'm an extrovert and a thinker. For the most part I've succeeded much more than I've failed. I've been very blessed to overcome many snares that have trapped my peers. With all of those things going for me however I've always wrestled with the "Man Behind the Curtain Syndrome".

I get the name from the movie the Wizard of Oz. You remember the scene I'm sure. (SIDE NOTE: I have met Americans who haven't seen this movie! I figured it's such a classic that it was on the DMV tests by now.) Just in case you haven't seen the movie or want a refresher... check it out below:

See, I believe we all battle to some degree with the "Man Behind the Curtain Syndrome". We go through lives unaware of how that "next level" looks. (By the way I usually want to puke when I read about a book teaching me how to get to the "next level" of anything. Most of the time the product doesn't match the promotion.) So because we can't "see" that next level advancement always seems pretty illusive. Let me give you a few examples:

- One day in your life you were a 4-5 year old looking at an imposing building and mom was going to drop you off for the first time. Most of us cried. (I did).

- A little later you transitioned from grade to grade and each teacher tried to discipline you by saying "next year Mrs. ____ will not tolerate that behavior."

- You moved from Elementary to Middle School and you had fears of being trampled in the halls or getting lost or not having all of your classes with the same 25 kids.

- You met a girl/guy and for the first time hormones got involved. There was an awkwardness about checking boxes on slips of paper and holding hands in the halls.

- On and on it goes to high school, college, a new job, etc.

In each advancement or change of stage in life you were faced with having to finally step "behind the curtain" of the unknown to see how "it really operates".
You know the truth? I don't think I've ever walked into a room where (once I surveyed the environment) I felt out of place or insufficient. The greatest fear comes BEFORE you get to see the man behind the curtain.

Scripture is FULL of this illustration. In fact we serve a God who literally ripped the curtain to show His people that he is a God who invites us to be in relationship with Him.

As you sit there today what "curtain" holds you back? What dream, vision, project scares the life out of you because all you can see is the imposing figure but not behind the curtain?

What I've found is that the people we most admire are not much different from me but as Ben mentions, they usually have busted their tail and risked their neck to do something great. I remember Dr. Falwell telling the students at LU many times that for every success a man has in life he has 7 failures you usually don't hear about. He also said that most men don't write about those stories.

As a consequence so many people are disillusioned about greatness. We think that person must have some special 'sauce' that I don't have or they must have billions of dollars in the bank. Most of the time you will find they are just like you in many ways.

No matter where you are in life I encourage you to take time and remind yourself that you are a child of the Creator King. He alone can place you in the room, the meeting, the town, the circumstance that will allow you to hit your sweet spot. If you work to know Him and know how he's wired you you are most of the way to achieving great things.

So go ahead, chase that dream and try not to laugh out loud when you finally see what's behind the curtain. :)

posted by Tally Wilgis @ Thursday, July 17, 2008


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