A few weeks ago I had a nightmare that deeply shook me … cold sweat … the whole works. It was not a dream about a masked killer, a natural disaster, or a furry monster. The nightmare was about me (Go ahead, insert a snide comment here .). It was like watching a video record of myself at a low point.

In the dream I was behaving like a complete jerk. I was not doing anything illegal. Many people would have thought that my behavior was acceptable. In fact, within my dream I thought that my actions were completely justified. However, as I watched myself in the nightmare – I knew that I was wrong. My actions were coming out of a dark place within me. I was not acting like the person that I want to be.

The most frightening part of the dream was the damage that I caused to others. The second most disturbing element was my conviction that I was acting justly.  My character genuinely  believed that he was fine. But as I watched the myself in the dream, as I objectively saw my actions, it was clear that I was not fine. I was horribly wrong.

That dream holds a deep truth of life: Our actions reveal our true self more than our thoughts, feelings or words.

It is easy to construct a false self in our imaginations. It is easy to paint a picture of  life that does not fit reality. However, the rest of the universe interacts with our actual actions. It only hears our actual words. Our true self is displayed not in what we think, but in what we do.

That nightmare caused me to be more aware of and reflective upon my actions each day.  I spend some time playing the “video record” of the day in my head.  At times the self revealed in my actions is not nearly as glamorous as the self inside of my head, but it is reality. And reality is where we are called to live.