Nine years ago, I entered my first Screenwriter’s contest. Like a fish out of a water, I have stumbled my way through the past decade, making rookie mistakes without even realizing it. Yet, 2021 has served as a year of enlightenment, opening up my eyes to crucial techniques that separate a mere novice from a professional screen writer. As I work on my latest project for the 2021 Nicholls Fellowship Screenplay Competition, there is an internal battle brewing within my mind. I find myself caught somewhere in between Man verses self, who I want to become and what I need to change to reach my self-actualization as a writer.
For I do not understand my own actions [I am baffled, bewildered]. I do not practice or accomplish what I wish, but I do the very thing that I loathe [which my moral instinct condemns]. 16 Now if I do [habitually] what is contrary to my desire, [that means that] I acknowledge and agree that the Law is good (morally excellent) and that I take sides with it, Romans 7:15-16.
The origin of Man verses Self comes from a literary form of story. This is brought to life when a character is their own adversary. In these types of parables, an individual possesses a bad habit, flaw, or weakness that prevents this person from reaching their full potential. My current project is based upon my own severe speech impediment as a child. Subsequently, whenever I tried to express feelings in my heart or thoughts within my mind, fits of stammering and stuttering always shut these conversations down. The more frustrated I became, the worse my condition got, causing me to become my own worst enemy.
However, it is no longer I who do the deed, but the sin [principle] which is at home in me and has possession of me. 18 For I know that nothing good dwells within me, that is, in my flesh. I can will what is right, but I cannot perform it. [I have the intention and urge to do what is right, but no power to carry it out.] – Romans 7:17-18.
In a letter to the Church at Corinth, the apostle Paul opens up about a private matter. Paul refers to a thorn in the flesh, either a physical ailment or a metaphor for an ongoing spiritual condition. Apparently, Paul’s struggles was not isolated, extending for years. Paul devotes an entire chapter to highlight mankind’s internal tug of war between the carnal nature and God’s promised Counselor, John 14:26. No matter how disciplined and strong that you may be, Paul was not able to control his sinful nature in Romans 7. Thus, Man verses Self is more than a literary form, it’s a journey of faith that forces Christian’s to confront the dirty laundry of their past. The Bible’s advice to conquer any internal struggle is by crucifying your old self and replacing it with the newness of living in Christ, Colossians 3:1-9.
by Jay Mankus