As a university student I’ve spent my fair share of time in a dorm room. The one that I lived in for two years was built like an apartment, with naked halls lined with doorways. Each room was designed for one occupant and had limited square footage. A real estate agent would have called it “cozy.”
Most students took it upon themselves to make their rooms as homey as possible. Whenever I took a stroll down the hallway there were open doors everywhere. Every room took on the character of the person who lived in it. Just by walking past someone’s door, you learned a lot about them.
The one thing I always noticed were the posters. People’s walls were dedicated to their favorite movie stars or superheroes. Actors’ faces were plastered over beds, reaching out to the corners of the room.
My walls were just boring squares of beige. Partly it was because I was lazy. I was only going to be in the room for eight months at a time, I figured, so there wasn’t much point. But my room at home doesn’t have posters or pictures either.
I had never really thought about those blank walls until I lived in a dorm. I wondered, how could a person love Chris Hemsworth so much that they needed to have him staring at them? Every. Single. Day? Yep, still loving the hair. I like Chris Pine just fine, but bro, quit staring at me.
Then the answer started staring me in the face. Actually, Channing Tatum was staring me in the face, but he and his actor buddies gave me the answer.
At first all of this seemingly unexplainable level of dedication to a bunch of actors weirded me out. Then it started to make me feel a little guilty. These people were so loyal and passionate about celebrities that they kept them at eye level for eight months straight. I had foolishly worried about being singled out at my campus for worshiping God. Meanwhile, everyone around me had turned their walls into shrines. Why didn’t I have any posters of the one person every Christian aspires to be like? Not that I’d find a cheesy picture of Jesus to hang on the wall—but I could have surrounded myself with some sort of imagery to remind me of what’s important.
One of my friends is passionate about comic book superheroes. Every once in a while she’d say of a female superhero, “She’s everything I aspire to be.” In that moment the superhero posters on her wall made all the sense in the world. Every time she looked at those posters they motivated her to be like her hero. That’s an attitude I can respect.
I started to “get” all those walls plastered with posters. These people had the gift of passion. They might be funneling it in the wrong direction, but they had a fire burning inside.
God made us with a desire to worship. So it’s exciting to see people who have a big desire to do just that. People who don’t have God to worship use up all that energy and passion on other things instead. If they were pushing it in the right direction it would be glorious. Now when I see people with their posters, I’m inspired to be more passionate about my own hero. And I hope that one day their passion will find the right target.
These days I live in a house. I’ve decided to dedicate my walls to God, to use them to worship him. In the same way that I strive to praise God with my words, I’m going to try to give him praise with my possessions as well.
“But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord” (Josh. 24:15).