What do you do when you feel like a failure? Believe it or not, one solution might be to watch Napoleon Dynamite.
The characters of Napoleon Dynamite might even be the personification of your failure. Napoleon is awkward and dull. His brother Kip is weak, shy, and spends his days chatting with his beloved (whom he has only met online). Deb, who has a crush on Napoleon, is also reserved and unconfident. If we took all of our insecurities and quirks and made them into actual people, the result might be this movie.
To be someone like Napoleon is many people’s worst fear. Be socially awkward? Be bullied and on the lowest class of the school hierarchy? No thanks. Yet, at the end of the movie, Napoleon is the victor. He dances in front of the school and gets the student body to vote his friend Pedro into the office of class president (defeating one of the most popular girls at school). And in the final scene, Deb walks up and begins playing tetherball with Napoleon. Previously, he has always played alone.
As much as we laugh at Napoleon and pity him, we feel this warm connection to him. There’s a part of us that almost wishes we were him. Because he, in all of his hilarious brokenness, has a life that we admire. He has true friendships and a loving family.
In the end, we come to believe that if someone like Napoleon can achieve an admirable life, so can we. The beauty of the movie is that it puts loving friendships within our grasp. So often, we can become afraid of how we talk, look, and act, because we fear that those things might keep people from loving us. But these quirks don’t keep Napoleon from being loved, and they won’t keep us from being loved in this world either. In other words, if Napoleon can do it, we can too.
I am convinced that this is a godly message. Other humans can love us no matter what we are like. And I thank God that they do; this is the beauty of family and friends. But higher than this is the realization that God continually offers to us his love, his affirmation that we have an immense value that is proved by Christ’s death and resurrection.
The Bible says that we come into a relationship with God through Christ alone. Napoleon Dynamite reminds us of how beautiful relationships are. How beautiful it is to have people who are invested in your life and care deeply about you. And God goes above and beyond this, caring for us with a depth that no human can.
What do you do when you feel like a failure? You fall on the fact that God loves you, that you are endlessly and infinitely valuable, and you are not a failure. Through Christ you can be ushered into a relationship with God, which is the greatest gift this life offers you.
And if you need some help, Napoleon Dynamite might remind you how amazing it is that God still loves you, quirks and mistakes and all.