Main Character Syndrome (part ii).

(how to praise God in the midst of a self-love era) 

Part I

2 | The Dilemma 

We did a cheesy kindness activity at my second youth group—the type where you write sweet things on the back of each person’s nametag, except they’re huge and more like cow tags. 

And one member wrote that I was, ‘wise beyond my years’.  

80% of me was positively puffing with pride and satisfaction. ‘Yes! Even this grumpy, cranky 20-year-old sees it in me. God you are real…  

So, yeah. I was occupied praising myself and gloating to my inner audience. (I warned you, in my human/flesh heart, I’m really not humble) 

The other 20%, buried under the yellow sunglow feeling, was actively doubting the credibility of the sayer and statement, all in joke.  

Does this 20-year-old really have the experience to judge my amount of wisdom?  

I mean, I found myself laughing at my doubt even then because I knew this particular 20-year old had accepted Jesus and been blessed with His favor. Still, I won’t deny there wasn’t a slick layer of underlying doubt, existing beneath the bliss. 

All I could do was be joyful in response when I was looking at it two hours later. There is little point in debating over a comment written in probable sincerity, especially in this circumstance. No need to cause myself mental agony. 

Where I do end up, after reflecting on moments of pride, discovering whether they’re appropriate or not, is with more questions. We—okay, I—end up questioning the purpose of my talent. 

Why would God give our souls so much star power if we’re not meant to be our own stars? But, as we previously agreed, you’re a joy to be with, and a joy to be (although it may not feel like it, in current circumstances), facts that cannot afford to be forgotten. What’s the purpose of all the shine and beauty in our personalities if we can’t even show them off without sinning? 

The dilemma: I like me, and I like God. I like me more because I know myself better, and I’ve changed to fit my preferences. How can I get to know Him better than I know myself? Is that even possible? 

In Bible class, we read a Bible verse that baffled me.  

“If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple. 

– Luke 14:26 ESV

How can I be expected to do that God? 

If I’m being honest, as a teenage girl, I’m incredibly blessed to have strong support (Christians in the Word) who have taught me about esteem and identity issues. Not many people have mastered self-confidence, healthy self-esteem and self love that isn’t self-absorbing. 

Now this Bible verse is telling us to throw it all away, and do what? Love God so much, it metaphorically looks like I hate my mother and father.  

I’m not loving this verse, to be honest. It comes across as impossible for anyone who struggles to communicate emotions to the best of friends within family, let alone outside of family. Think about it. Jesus is saying that your love for who/what/whatever you love most on this earth should resemble hate in comparison for your love for Christ. 

That’s beyond astronomical love. I’m not sure I know what out-of-this-earth levels of love for God look like! 

So, you may be wondering, how do we address that amazingness in the core of you? Because, let’s be honest, you are more than amazing. You’re cool, you’re funny, you’re smart and talented, you have intuition and wisdom, all gifted from God. 

The sunshine in you that makes you such a suitable center of your POV, that’s God’s spark, his handiwork. If you don’t feel it—the spark, the gladness, that’s okay—it doesn’t mean it’s not there. It is there. You are special.  

There is literally—physically, mentally, soul-wise—no one exactly like you. 

Think about your favorite books, movies, animes or manga. For me I’m thinking Avatar the Last Airbender, the Spider-man Spiderverse movies and too many books to name. Now think about the authors, writers, artists, or creator of that character who is so perfectly realistic and lovely and relatable. 

God is all of them put together, but better, because he’s perfect. He formed every human on this earth.  

So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them;  male and female he created them.

– Genesis 1:27 (italics mine) 

We were created in His image, as His children. This means, without trying to, we can model His behavior. This is interrupted by corruption in our world, but when we focus on the Creator’s purpose, things become clear again. 

For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. 

– Ephesians 2:10

The Answer: We point to the Creator, we give him credit for every good thing we do. 

What’s your favorite part of you, formed by God? 

One response to “Main Character Syndrome (part ii).”

  1. Wow! I am blown away by your honesty because I know in all my years, few people can honestly admit pride in our hearts when we are recognized. What I love the most about this write up though is that we don’t have to deny the light that is in us, we point to the One who is even more awesome in creating such light and choosing us to be His vessels. Lately, my favorite part of me is learning to be fully myself in spite of what others think because His love for me is more than enough!
    Thanks for your vulnerability!

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