Anyone that knows me knows that I am a huge fan of the Guardians of the Galaxy franchise, and above this, a fan of any work of Chris Pratt. He is a great actor and seems to always speak from virtue in interviews and media portrayals (which can always be misleading). But recently, I have found that I finish his movies feeling emptier than when I started them. This wasn't a realization that led to years of searching for an answer, it was very apparent: I did not simply admire Christ Pratt, I wished to be Him. I wished to go on adventures like Peter Quill, or make others laugh like Andy Dwyer, or to be the revered hero like Owen in Jurassic World. More importantly, I wished to be talked about like Chris Pratt. This led to a deeper analysis of the media I enjoy. Whenever I listened to Lynyrd Skynyrd I would imagine it was me hitting the guitar solos that shocked crowds or whenever I saw a breathtaking act on America's Got Talent I would imagine it was me bringing the judges to their tears. It was tough to realize that my desire to be successful, or recognized had slowly found its way deep within me and had removed my ability to feel happy for another, or even more, it had removed my capability to feel that I was enough. I speak about this issue in the past tense, but must admit that it is a current battle. I could blame the issue on the mass amounts of media in our country, but it is not so much the presence of Chris Pratt that is the issue, but the dissatisfaction with the presence of Austin Lanning. In the New Testament, John speaks of our joy as humans being complete only in Christ. I believe there are two things to address here. Well, there are more, but there are two I would like to expand on right now. The first is that as joy is completed by Christ, joy is taken away by comparison. The minute that comparison is initiated we are claiming that our joy is held together by a first place medal in the event that we choose our worth. Whenever, the medal is placed on another we crumble, or worse, try to build our own medal through criticism of another or false justification and leave ourselves as a building that is one tap from falling apart. The second thing I would like to address is the earlier mention of dissatisfaction. This is because if we follow the trail of joy a bit further we find the core which is our purpose. One of my friends tried to start a bible study this past year with some friends, but after a few weeks some people stopped coming and my friend got discouraged. The study ended up falling apart because he based his purpose on the outward success of the endeavor. Therefore, when the reality failed to meet his expectation, his joy crumbled. On the other hand, one of my good friends and mentors is the youth pastor of a rebuilding church. He went from leading a church of hundreds of kids to a church with about ten to twenty kids. I would ask him about this change and he would always claim that the kids may be scarce in number, but the calling was plentiful. For him, the call to minister was enough and was independent of any number. Population, responses, and money would fluctuate, but his joy rested on something deeper; it rested on an eternal purpose. Because in the end, that is the cure to the Christ Pratt effect. It is not to place or create a medal to hold the structure together. It is not to adjust, build, or destroy pieces based off of world success. It is to build our structure of joy on the foundation of Christ's callings in our life, independent of any outward occurrence. Then, when we look to other's building their structures, we do not build ours higher, as we know now that we are building for a specific role in the Kingdom and we wish that others may build their structure to such a full potential that they may fulfill their role in the Kingdom as well. I, personally, am still trying to heed this advice myself, and I often find myself slipping up, but it will be a daily process. It may require me to play a little less music, and spend a little more time being reminded of my completion with God. It may require me to watch a little less cinema, and spend more time watching the world around me and praying that others may find their joy complete in God as well. Because, as with most of what I write (for those that are familiar), I do not wish to write out of arrogance, but in the hopes that others will read this and walk with me towards being more like Christ.
With Love in Him,