I would contend that we all are afflicted by the same disease, suffering from that terrible bug called pride. But some have a worse case of it than others. Take me, for instance. Almost subtly, it invades my thoughts and actions, and has ever since I was young. Back then, and even sometimes now, I used to wonder why I wasn’t rich or athletic or famous because, after all, “I would do so much good with these blessings, God—far better than those who really do have them.” You see, the sneakiness of pride!
Suffering from this “grass is greener” syndrome in addition to pride disease, I seldom think about what it must be like to have plenty (in my definition of that word), in terms of finances or talents. But I think a good measure of this can be seen through Deku, the protagonist of My Hero Academia. Living in a world where most people exhibit quirks (superhuman abilities), Deku was among the few born without one. It’s almost a cruel joke since Deku loves superheroes to the point of complete obsession, and in particular the number one hero, All Might. However, through a twist of fate, he meets his hero, who gifts Deku his quirk, turning the previously quirkless teen into one with great power and enormous potential.
However, Deku rarely seems happy, even with his new ability—not because he doesn’t appreciate it, but because he feels the burden of it. It’s not an option in Deku’s mind to take this power and just glide through life easily. Inheriting All Might’s power means that he must continually challenge himself to grow, to do something great with what he’s received (cue Uncle Ben).
I think I forget that part, the idea of doing something great with your gift. My wish to be rich, famous, and talented is really better defined as “having all I want and using it to be lazy.” To be fair, I don’t actively dream of laziness, but that’s really the outcome I want, because if I felt the weight of such gifts, as Deku does with his, I don’t know if I could take it. In fact, I’m fairly certain I couldn’t. I’ve outlined it many times here before, but I struggle in so many areas. I lack self-control. I have a tendency toward self-destructiveness. I lie. I cheat. I suck up grace and give out little. I’m a hypocrite.
Now, imagine that type of person armed with fame, fortune, and flight! I’d be a one-man wrecking crew, destroying anything that came in my way with intense selfishness and pride.
Or, and this is maybe more likely, I would be like John Crist. For those unaware, Crist is a Christian comedian who has become so popular that Netflix gave him a comedy special. But that’s been delayed, as have almost all his other promotions and jobs. A report came out that alleged Crist had manipulated women, both married and single, in a sexual manner, destroying the faith of several of them and the trust he’s built with his audiences. Reading the article that outlined his behavior was like reading a “how it could be” for my own life—his ability to manipulate mirrors my own, but he had the avenue to use it destructively. And so I say the following only half-facetiously: It’s a good thing I’m not funny.
It’s a good thing, too, I’m not a billionaire. It’s a good thing I can’t dunk a basketball. It’s a good thing I don’t have the face and body of a model. Armed with any of that, I’d be far more like the celebrity that crashes and burns than a superhero who pushes himself to save others.
And that realization is itself convicting. At the end of the day, regardless of how little I think I have (not even considering my first world syndrome), the truth is that I’ve still been given much. I’m blessed in so many ways by God, not least of all through having a relationship with him. I don’t need to strive for the things of this world—I have heavenly gifts, “talents” provided by God, and in the here and now, I have to decide: Will I waste them? Will I be lazy and bury them? Will I be overwhelmed by them? Will I use them to seek my own glory? Or will I be Deku, who is the same now as he always was, quirk or not. Will I challenge myself to do my best?
I may not end up like Deku, who frequently reminds us through voiceover narration that My Hero Academia is the story of how he becomes the greatest superhero. But I can be the best me—and in living a life of faith, that is not only possible: It’s what I was meant to be.