For all the Quentin Jacobsens and Margo Roth Spieglemans of the World

“What a treacherous thing to believe that a person is more than a person.” - Paper Towns, by John Green. 

Within the first two weeks after John Green’s, Paper Towns hit the big screen, I had seen the new hit flick three times. To say I was obsessed with the mystery of a person that is Margo Roth Spielgeman would be an understatement. If we’re being honest, I was probably more dumbfounded and intrigued by Margo than Quentin Jacobsen is in the film. 

There is something about Margo’s mystery, something about her evasiveness, something about the way people talk about her in the novel and film, something about the way she captures attentions, something about the way she leaves. Margo Roth Spiegleman is not, by any means, your typical “popular” girl. No, but she is all the things my seventeen year old self wanted to be. 

Being loved for leaving? Being loved for the assumptions people throw on you? There was something about that sort of life the made me jump through hoops, trying to be Margo Roth Spiegleman before I even picked up the book.

Once I had my hands on Green’s novel, and about half way through my second time  watching the film, though, I realized something: I am not Margo Roth Spiegleman, the girl who people know nothing about but gawk at because they can’t put her in a box. No, I am just the opposite in this story: I am Quentin Jacobsen. 

I am an expert at clinging to the good parts of the people who hurt me, of making them sound more beautiful than they actually are. I mean, for heaven’s sake, I created an entire aura around a person I called “The Boy With Blue Eyes,” trying to make our story of friendship sound desperately breathless and hopelessly beautiful, like a tragic lesson I had to learn. When, in reality, he was just a boy I had grown up with and had to learn to walk away from. 

We’ve all heard of the “Savior Complex,” I’m sure. Women are usually called this when we go through our phase of wanting to date the “bad boy.” Well, I believe that some of us suffer from something that is the polar opposite of the “Savior Complex”: the opposite of the savior complex; the “Save-ee Complex”; or, better yet, the “Quentin Jacobsen” complex. 

We start looking for people to save us. 

I am the girl who is constantly looking for proof in her reality that she and everyone else she meets is worth it. Constantly searching for this truth, and yet, never not believing it even when people let me down. 

But there’s an ever-crippling flaw in this mindset that people will be able to look at our stories and our scars and say, “I love them anyways. I can sit with them and not fidget or want to run, but understand instead.” 

Yes, there’s an ever crippling flaw when we start looking for people to save us, and it’s that we are stripping God of His title. 

Why is it that the kids of the twenty-first century are running from person to person, asking the question, “Do you see me? Am I really known? Can you handle my weight and sew up my scars?” And yet we still find a way to thank Jesus for His sacrifice. 

Thus says the Lord: “Cursed is the man who trusts in man and makes flesh his strength, whose heart turns away from the Lord. He is like a shrub in the desert, and shall not see any good come. He shall dwell in the parched places of the wilderness, in an uninhabited salt land (Jeremiah 17:5-6).

When it comes down to it, we can say till we are blue in the face that we know people will let us down in this life, yet in our constant craving to be seen, known, heard, understood----all aspects of life that branch off of the idea of being saved--- we are subconsciously looking at the cross and saying, “This was not enough. You are not enough, Jesus.”

I love the fact that it was a thief who hung on the cross next to Jesus. Because here I am, daily trying to rob Him of His glory, of His “Savior” title, of His control and will over my life. Still, He says, “You will be with me in Paradise.”

It is better to take refuge in the Lord than to trust in man (Psalm 118:8).

It’s crazy to see how healthy our relationships with people can be when we stop looking at someone like they are going to save us. Even crazier to see that peace that comes with giving Jesus that title back. 

What a treacherous thing to believe that a person is more than a person. 

What a treacherous thing to believe that Jesus was just another person. 

- Jenna // @jenbed

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