The Hero’s Journey
What do Froto Baggin’s from Lord of the Rings, Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz, Marlin from Finding Nemo, and Luke Skywalker from Star Wars all have in common, besides being movie characters? They’ve all experienced the Hero’s journey. I’m in the plotting process of book six of the Leeward Island series (The Marquis’s Pursuit is off to the editor), so my brain is focused on character arcs or what’s also called the Hero’s journey. It got me thinking about how God plots a similar path for us.
The Hero’s journey is a cycle where the Hero starts in the known world, journeys into the unknown, and returns changed into a new known. It’s comprised of three acts: 1. the separation or call to adventure, 2. initiation or death/rebirth, and 3. the return or resolution. For example, in The Wizard of Oz, Dorothy’s separation is physically done by the tornado that drops her house into Oz, where her adventure begins. Her initiation follows as she follows the yellow brick road, and she meets the scarecrow, lion, and tin man. Through trials and triumphs, she discovers a way to defeat The Wicked Witch of the West and return to Kansas. However, Dorothy goes back a changed woman. As part of the resolution or new normal, she holds a new appreciation for her family and friends.
We relate to the Hero’s journey so well because God propels us on our own journey to better walk in His purpose. He coaxes us out of our comfort zone to step into the unknown, where He uses trials and triumphs to mold us more and more into his image. In 2 Corinthians 3:18, Paul says, “We all show the Lord’s glory, and we are being changed to be like him. This change in us brings more and more glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.” To become more like Christ and reflect Him more and more, we must allow ourselves to be refined. Sometimes it’s a quick journey, but other times it takes multiple trips around the mountain, painful backtracking, and even psychological death to old ways of thinking to come home as a new person. Romans 8:18 states, “We have sufferings now, but these are nothing compared to the great glory that will be given to us.”
We aren’t journeying alone. If suffering, trials, and the thought of psychological death, have us crawling back to the couch to hide under a blanket, do not fear. We must remember a vital aspect of the Hero’s journey. A helper comes alongside the Hero to guide him along his path. For Dorothy, it was Glenda the good witch, for Froto – Sam Wise, Nemo – Dora, Luke Skywalker – Obi-Wan, but for us, we get someone even better—the Holy Spirit. We are not alone in our journey. The Great Comforter walks beside us, guiding us towards our purpose, urging us to stay on the path, picking us up when we stumble, and redirecting us when we lose our way.
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