As much as I’d like to believe the contrary, I’m not a superhero. I mean, I’d like to be. Sometimes I see myself as one, I can see the suit, right down to the tights and stylish cape. I imagine myself moving from one scenario to the next, tirelessly handling all that comes my way.
But in reality, sometimes I find myself drained, physically and emotionally. I feel bogged down with all that needs be done. My perception is distorted and I become overwhelmed by the smallest of things. In those moments, questions begin to form in my mind. Ridiculous notions that, deep down, I realize aren’t true, but in my moment of weakness, I entertain them anyway. My emotions run wild through fields of imagination and if I allow myself to stay in that place, they convince me of inconceivable twists and turns in the plot of my life.
Oh to be superhuman, to never have the moments of melancholy that can overcome us if we let them! Surely there must be some way we can move beyond the overwhelming grip of our emotions without becoming so unfeeling we resemble the latest robotic character from a Star Trek episode. I mean, Superman would never have an emotional breakdown, would he?
In fact, the heroes that intrigue us (the top 3 domestic grossing films from 2012-2013 are The Avengers, The Dark Knight Rises and Iron Man 3) are often plagued by the same doubts, fears and emotional turmoil we encounter in every day life. So how do they handle it? How do they deal with the overwhelming stress that being hunted day in and day out by the newest, most ruthless villains ever conceived without curling up into the fetal position and sucking their super thumbs?
One way is through accountability. Inevitably, some well meaning relative or loved one comes through at just the right moment with a valuable piece of wisdom. When down in the dumps, ready to hang up their tights, the superhero is often reminded by the meekest around them of the unspoken responsibility that comes from the gift of power they’ve been given. We’ve all got a similar responsibility to make a difference, however possible, in the lives of those we meet each day. We need to surround ourselves with people who can nudge us forward or who will reach in to pull us from the murky depths of despair when needed. After all, Batman had his Alfred.
Another necessity is rest and introspection. We need to take a moment to reflect on where we’ve been and to dream about where we’re headed. We need to learn from the past but not let it dictate our future. We need to plan for the wondrous possibilities tomorrow holds and then we need to rest so that we are ready when the moment comes that we need to spring into action. Even Superman had his Fortress of Solitude. He went there to clear his head and to gain perspective through the wisdom of the past. Anyone who thinks they can skip this step is on dangerous ground. Rest and reflection are fundamental building blocks of success. Besides, God rested on the seventh day and in so doing, He reflected on all His creation. If the Creator of all sees fit to take a break from time to time, then we should follow that pattern too!
There is one other thing that I believe is essential when dealing with the stresses of life. It is probably the simplest to do but requires a great deal of motivation. It’s changing the status quo. Change your state of mind. Decide to do something, then do it. We are forever making plans that never come to pass. Great plans that could benefit a world in need but, for lack of motivation or the determination necessary to see it through, they stay ideas unborn. For the fear of what failure could bring, we sit back and wait for the right moment, not realizing that the moment is often upon us. It’s waiting for us to get up and knock on the door or to seek and find the answers that might solve the problems plaguing our society. We need to put into action the faith we claim to hold dear. Only then will we see past our present situation and catch a glimpse of what’s to come. And that scenery change is often the catalyst to greatness.
You can’t do it alone. You will need people around you who challenge you. All of these things together can help us to achieve more than we ever dreamed possible, but it takes a humble spirit, a willingness to sacrifice and love for those around us. Only love can overcome the fear that leads to apathy. Love is the difference maker. Love is our super power. Through the lens of love you can accomplish the inconceivable. You can be a superhero to one in need. Choose to love, there is no greater power in the universe!