Sunday, March 26, 2017

The Worthiness in Success

Alright, I mentioned Hermione Granger twice in my last blog post, so I feel like I have to expand
upon why I relate to her character so much.

The Harry Potter series came out when I was in 7rh grade, so I joined my friends in reading along.

I could relate to Hermione Granger because she began the series finding her worth in her scholastic abilities. Her first interaction with Harry and Ron involves her demonstration of magic (in the movie verse, she fixes Harry's glasses.)

However, she realizes that her eagerness to demonstrate her knowledge in class becomes a liability because she's teased for it. Of course, that leads to the infamous scene where she's hiding in the bathroom crying for being teased during a troll attack.

We see more of her character develop as her friendship with the boys develops. She isn't just a student aiming to be the top of the class. She is now part of a friend group (The Golden Trio in the Harry Potter fandom) and values what they value especially when it comes to their role in vanquishing Lord Voldemort.

How does Hermione's character arc mimic mine, and why is it relevant to my spiritual growth?

For most of my childhood and teenage years, I had several major things working against my self-esteem: I felt like my health problems, vision limitations, and early setbacks around my adoption were weighing on my mom and because I couldn't solve them, I felt responsible for her sadness around these issues. I was also bad in gym and the less than chivalrous boys would tease me for that. The only tangible evidence that I could achieve what normal kids achieved was scholastic performance. If I got straight A's (or close to it), maybe that would make up for the limitations due to my severe nearsightedness and nystagmus. If I made the honor roll and brought home a ribbon, trophy, or certificate that said "Top of the class," I would maybe make my mom proud enough to make her forget the sadness that the rest of my development caused her.

Like Hermione's character, my narrative turned around when I met some friends in high school that were by my side no matter what. I started to develop more self-esteem. In college, this trend continued when I met some girls in my dorm that were part of a college group at a local church. They didn't care that I couldn't drive or that I needed help if they wanted to explore the campus at night. They helped me get around and they didn't care that I was a premed nerd and would geek out about class even on the weekends.

They introduced me to Jesus in a more personal way. I always believed I had to be a better person and try harder to get closer to God, but God extends His grace and love freely to us because Jesus sacrificed His life on the cross for us.

This was a love I didn't have to work for.

Now that I didn't have to work to earn God's love, anything I did for others in His name was out of sincere love and wanting to do good and not just to earn His favor. I did stuff like service projects and mission trips in college not for myself, but to truly help others.

Do I sometimes feel like I need to earn God's love still? Sometimes. More, I feel like I need to earn God's blessing if I want something, but just like Ron and Harry stood by Hermione's side no matter what, I'm learning that God is with me no matter what and what I do for Him or not doesn't make Him bless me any more or less because He loves His children equally. Christ's sacrifice was enough for all of us.

If I want go grow as a Christian in character or work on memorizing a verse of the Bible or something like that, worth in my success in this area should not  be my motivator. Because God loved me and sent His son for me to bridge the gap between man and God, I no longer have to have to succeed in any task to attain love.