The more time I spend in the acting studio the clearer it becomes how far from reality we are living.
This might sound completely ridiculous given the context of an acting studio—the production house for the make-believe world, but I dare you to hear me out.
The moment of truth
As an actor your goal is to develop an awareness of the truth in each moment; the truth of what you actually feel when you don't have a particular set of social expectations to conform to; the truth of what you actually think when you are given the freedom to think what you want; the truth of what is actually happening between two people when the rules of engagement no longer apply.
Then you bring this truth into a script in order to tell truthful stories to really connect with people.
Interestingly, when freedom is given in the space of an acting studio to explore this 'truth' a depth of emotions is revealed—struggles you don't see in the real world:
Real people carrying deep sadness.
Real people processing profound grief.
Real people with burdens that have been hindering them for years, just lurking below the surface of the every day.
You have the privilege of seeing what these emotions look like, what they sound like, and what they feel like as you witness them in real people's lives.
Behind the mask
I don't think we should all become these creepy people who walk around over-sharing deep emotions with the world, but I think the experience of an acting studio raises the question: why don't we see the depth of these expressions in real life?
If this is what lies behind the surface of a smile and social expectations, why is it hidden?
More importantly, why don't we see this depth and freedom to be ourselves within the Church?
They say that you can only see 20% of an iceberg if you are sailing past. But the depth and beauty of an iceberg is found in the 80% below the surface.
I don't think we are too dissimilar from icebergs. We all have an 80%.
Acting magnifies the 80% below the surface of the small talk and fake smiles of the day to day. It unveils the depth of humanity in a socially acceptable manner.
We lose ourselves and find ourselves in stories because we see ourselves in them. We identify with the pain, with the hilarity, with the grief, and with the excitement that beautifully sensitive performers bring into the light as they live the truth of their character. And we love them because they are real.
I wonder what the world would be like if we all had a space to be real instead of living vicariously through the make-believe characters in our lounge rooms every night. Not just a space to share our deep emotions and needs, but a space to process them and find support and acceptance.
There is certainly a time and a place for having it all together but there is equally a time and a place to get real.
A place to get real
I wonder what people's experience of church would be like if it were more like an acting studio.
In Matthew chapter 11, verse 28 Jesus says, 'Come to me, all who labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest'. This sounds to me like an invitation to get real. But not just that, it is also an invitation to the restorative and life transforming work of Jesus Christ that happens when we do get real with him.
So I ask: what are we doing as the Church to provide freedom and safety for people to be real? Then, what are we doing to embrace people when they get real?
Some food for thought—the world is desperate for Jesus and longs for more places to get real than an acting studio.
Charlotte works as an actress and model. She is a current Miss World Australia contestant. 'Like' her page on Facebook: Charlotte Goiris to receive regular updates.
Charley Goiris' previous articles may be viewed at http://www.pressserviceinternational.org/charley-goiris.html