I am not a superhero—but I used to play one in real life.
That was before I tripped over my cape, so to speak, which was an experience that God used as a warning flag to open my eyes to my self-willed ways.
The times when what I thought was my service to others actually created barriers that hindered them from receiving the help they needed most.
And the times when I slammed into a spiritual brick wall of impossible circumstances, becoming my own nemesis by gritting my teeth and ramming ahead in my own strength.
But I came to learn that even with barriers and brick walls, God reveals His power to those in need as evidence of who He is and how they need Him.
There is a boundary line between self-will and God’s will. Acting with good—even spiritually grounded—intentions but without seeking God or pointing others to Him can lead to trouble.
Here are a few indicators that let me know I am attempting to circumvent God’s will:
› Exhaustion. When I try to be all things to all people, I suffer under the weight of overwhelming burdens strapped to my less-than-superhuman shoulders.
› Hopelessness. While I am out trying to save the world, my priorities run amuck and my family, work, and ministry suffer. God’s clear call for my actual life does not progress as it should because I am not able to focus on completing anything!
› Confusion. When I wear myself down-and-out, I become of no effect to those in need, which is counterproductive to the reason I serve, and I find myself struggling to comprehend why being of good service feels so…bad.
› Perfectionism. When I refuse to cease my striving to fix the world, I need to recognize that my motivation stems from the fears that will feel like a failure, that others will realize I am not capable of fixing everything, and that the people important to me may not need me in the ways I would like.
Perhaps those most vulnerable to my superhero tendencies are my unsuspecting family members. When I get in the way of their learning to seek God for help, I am providing a disservice to them.
But when we serve our families with the love and compassion of Christ, our lives will abound with opportunities to point them to Christ. When our children come to us to seek answers to life’s questions, we have a powerful weapon in the reply, “I don’t know all the answers, but I know the One who does.”
In so doing, we are demonstrating our need of—and trust in—God, pointing them to God as the source of all knowledge, teaching them to pray in Jesus’ Name no matter the time or place, and showing them the truth and necessity of God’s Word.
After all, our children should recognize where our help comes from:
“I will lift up my eyes to the mountains; from where shall my help come?
My help comes from the LORD, who made heaven and earth.
He will not allow your foot to slip; He who keeps you will not slumber.
Behold, He who keeps Israel will neither slumber nor sleep.
The LORD is your keeper; the LORD is your shade on your right hand.
The sun will not smite you by day, nor the moon by night.
The LORD will protect you from all evil; He will keep your soul.
The LORD will guard your going out and your coming in
from this time forth and forever.”
• Psalm 121 •
I am grateful God intervened with His merciful warning that acting as the one and only source of rescue for those in my life sets me up for catastrophic failure.
Because as it turns out, I much prefer kneeling in prayer to the One Who never sleeps, Who is always able and Whose knowledge is exponentially higher than my own, rather than tripping over a cape of my own making.
in the Quiver