When someone thinks of what has influenced or impacted them, they will often think of a person in their life. Perhaps it’s a parent, grandparent, or a child. It could even be a celebrity, someone they have never met, but has influenced them all the same. Throughout social media, there are tons of celebrities known as “influencers.” They usually endorse a certain product or location in exchange for free products and payment, simply because of the number of followers they have. It’s just like seeing Jennifer Aniston in the Aveeno television ads, or Sam. L. Jackson in the Capital One television ads. We look at these advertisements, whether on social media or TV, and think “I want that because they use it. I can be as beautiful as Jen, if only I use that Aveeno lotion.” This is evidence that the power of influence is stronger and more proliferating than ever. Are we allowing the right things to influence and shape us?
A Super Influence
Over the last 7 years, I have discovered that one can experience that same power of influence from a fictional character. That character for me is Superman. His essence and character, among the other things around me, pulled me from heading in the wrong direction in middle school. I got my first pair of glasses in eighth grade, and that’s when people around me started calling me “Clark Kent.” At the time, I did not care about Superman, and even thought he was “stupid and outdated.” It wasn’t until after 2013’s Man of Steel film that my opinion of Superman shifted. I saw what he truly stood for; I saw who he was. Honestly, knowing he was adopted like I am sealed the deal.
Ironically, most Superman fans at the time were not very appreciative of Man of Steel, as it took a gritty and more realistic approach to the character. However, I believe without this rendition, I would be in a much worse place today. This movie sparked a fire that turned into a true obsession. I went back and watched the old movies and shows and read the comics. I saw the Biblical parallels, like being sent down by his father to save Earth, and this resulted in bringing me closer to God. As if the circumstances were a Rube-Goldberg machine, or a complex row of dominoes, my inability to see clearly in the physical realm led to more clarity in the spiritual. This could only have been through God Himself. As my Superman obsession and relationship with God grew, my personal values became more defined. I wished to reflect these Christ-like qualities that Superman/Clark Kent portrayed. This desire has not changed over the years, and I don’t believe it ever will.
In Jeremiah 29:11-13, it is stated “ For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.” Through these verses, I believe that it was always God’s plan for me to become the Superman obsessed person I am today. Superman is not portrayed as perfect, but I believe he embodies the Fruit of the Spirit well. The influence he carried changed my life, and it was changed for the better. Perhaps you have also been changed by a fictional character. There is nothing wrong with that; embrace it! I pray you may be open to God’s influence, even if it is found in the most unlikely of places.
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Cameron Jordan is a third-year mechanical engineering student at The Citadel in Charleston, SC. Cameron can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.