Brad Pitt’s Ad Astra and Finding Peace

We must learn to view our lives correctly. How we view ourselves and our lives plays a significant role in the battle for the peace and happiness that we desire. Viewing our lives incorrectly can actually be a cause of anxiety. If that is the case, then we can be sure that having the correct understanding of your life and how to measure its worth and progress is paramount to being satisfied and happy.

What I mean by this is that we need to stop misjudging ourselves and our stage in life. We do this when we compare ourselves to others, hold ourselves to impossible standards, and misvalue our true worth as a human being. Doing these things causes us misery as we think less of ourselves, mourn our own progress in life, and we fall prey to self-hatred, depression, and anxiety.

At 19, I struggled with all of these things. I was doing a year long stint in rehab for my addiction to drugs and alcohol and I was not happy with myself. I compared myself to others, I thought that I was not good enough because I was not on par with the standards of the world, and I thought I was a complete loser who had no future.

I did not view my life correctly. This took away my hope, which caused me to despair all the more. What is amazing, and I share this to give hope to others, is that just two short years later my life would completely flip around for the better.

I converted back to the Faith after many wasted years away and my life instantly began getting better. Jesus helped me to better understand my own worth, He gave me more worthwhile and attainable standards to live according to, and by living according to these standards I was able to see how I progressed in life in Jesus’ eyes. Jesus gave me a purpose that transcends what the world thinks, which allowed for me to overcome the worldly shame of not fitting into the superficial pattern that our materialistic society imposes on us.

It was beautiful. Another great example of how misjudging our lives can lead us to misery is found in a Space movie starring Brad Pitt and Tommy Lee Jones. It is called Ad Astra and it came out in the Fall of 2019.

Unfortunately, it was panned by critics and didn’t do much in the box office. And this might have been well deserved, but I did find some interesting themes and powerful insight throughout the movie.

Particularly in the mission of Roy, played by Brad Pitt.

And you definitely need to be impressed that I know the character’s name in the movie, because usually if a big name actor is playing the role then I never bother learning the character’s name. It is simply always “ok, Brad Pitt is in a rocket right now, Or Tom Cruise is chasing that guy”.

But anyway, Roy is being sent from Earth to the farthest reaches of the galaxy to find his dad who went out to discover if there was intelligent life out there. So the mission of Roy’s Dad is to find intelligent life in space and Roy’s mission is to then find his Dad who never came back from the mission.

(Sorry if the following spoils the movie for anyone, I think it would still be an entertaining movie even with this knowledge, however, I must warn you, it is a slow burn movie. It’s super slow but, once again there are some clever thoughts sprinkled throughout.)

Ok, so Brad Pitt finds his dad, Tommy Lee Jones and Tommy Lee and him are talking. Brad wants to take his father, who has been missing for decades, home to earth. His dad responds, “but I can’t return a failure, I have not found any intelligent life yet”.

Brad responds with something along the lines of, “You didn’t fail. We wanted to know if there was any intelligent life out there, and now we know.”

So basically Tommy had gone out to see if there was intelligent life in our solar system, and thought he failed because he did not find any. Because of his perceived failure, he never came back to earth. He lived for decades alone in space, probably miserable, at the detriment of himself and his family.

Brad corrects his dad’s view of reality. Tommy Lee was so focused on his perceived failure, his misunderstanding of the mission, that he lived his life in isolation, away from his wife and son and other loved ones.

How many of our relationships are hampered because we fail to see reality as it truly is. Sometimes when we are anxious, we misjudge reality and think that the worst case scenario is the only reality that our future will be. Or we misjudge our past, see it as a failure, because we measure success incorrectly.

If we feel like a failure because we are not married by a certain time, or don’t have a lot of money, or our lives do not seem as glamorous and fun as all our friends on instagram, then we are looking at our lives incorrectly and will feel pain because of this.

It’s kind of like this:

In a race, you measure how fast you can complete the set course pre-established before the race began. So the measurement for success is time. Who has the quickest time. Now is that the measurement for success with life? No. We do not celebrate those who get through life fast. But life is still like a race. It’s a marathon for sure.

Sometimes you want to sprint through certain events that you are experiencing and are uncomfortable, sometimes you want to go slow, walk even, and enjoy life.

And then what if you are running a race, like the Boston Marathon, and you get to the finish line of the race, and you beat everyone else, and the judge at the end looks at you confused. He asks, “didn’t you find anyone else to help get to the finish line?” You are in bewilderment when you find out that you are in last place because you misunderstood the rules of the race and the winner of this race was whoever helped the most people finish.

Ok, so I know how races actually work, but please bear with me for this analogy.

What is the measurement of success as the earth races its laps around the Sun? Is it to travel and see as many places you can see? Is it to make lots of money? Or is it to love and accept the love of others?

When I found Jesus, He brought real authentic love into my life. He taught me how to love and be loved. I was able to see my own true value, I found my purpose in life, which is more than simply what I do for the world, and I was finally able to find peace.

If you are wondering how you too can begin to see and judge your life correctly, here are some steps you can take that will lead you to same peace that I found:

  1. Fight deadly comparison with others by shifting your focus. It’s so easy look at the good in lives of others and the bad in our own lives. Do your best to shift your focus to the good in your own life and the good in others’ lives. This will remind you that while other people may have things that you don’t have, you have a lot going well for you too! And if you are struggling to see the good in your life, I am sorry to hear that. There is so much more to say on this that it will take a whole other blog post. To be released soon!
  2. Don’t play by the world’s materialistic rules. Materialism restricts humans to superficial qualities like grades, accomplishments, physical looks, and easily distinguished talents. Im not saying that these things are bad. We should definitely celebrate these things as well. Applaud all good things, congratulate your friend’s accomplishments, reward your kids for good grades, tell you friend she’s pretty or your boyfriend he is cute, be super happy if you’re great at sports, that’s fine…but, we miss out on a lot more in life if we only focus on the physical/easy to notice characteristics of a person. Do not think you suck at life if you don’t measure up to certain physical standards or talents. Some qualities take longer to surface or are not as easy to recognize. Some people have no noticeable talents or good qualities, but everyone likes them, they’re good with people, and they know how to love others. Or they simply have not discovered their talents yet. Do not try to fit yourself into what the world says you need to be or do, because you are meant to be something else that’s far greater.
  3. Jesus knows who you are better than anyone, go to Him to discover Who You Are. So this is kind of a continuation of #2. You have a purpose, God made you with all of the qualities, talents, skills that you have for a reason. But this is not meant to be like your taxes where you have to guess how much you owe the government and have to go to jail if you’re wrong. Jesus wants you to discover through Him who you are and who you are meant to be.
  4. Don’t take things personally. People will offend and hurt you, and sometimes even on purpose. However, we have to understand that it is not really you that is the problem in these scenarios. Usually someone will act out against another person or accidentally slight another due to his or her own problems. There is something going on within them that is truly the cause of this. Therefore, we really can’t take their slights and offenses personally. Take pity on this person and pray for them and move on. This will allow you to escape bitterness and avoid negative thinking about yourself as well.

These are ways that have helped me value myself and my life much more than when I was younger and full of anxiety. Have you been able to discover the same peace? What are steps that you take to bring this about? We would love to hear from you! Comment below or email us at email zenithministries@gmail.com.

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