Unmasking a Superhero Wannabee

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Photo by Porapak Apichodilok on Pexels.com

She said it to me and I could not deny it. It was true. I have superhero mentality. I want to swoop in and save the day and then all is better. Happy endings; hero heart; all is good; but that is not real life. I am not sure where the notion ever gained strength in my mind and heart. Until my friend stated it that way, I never thought of how I go about situations. It was true, I wanted to come in fix the situation, and then all to be good again. I am a first born, fixer from a dysfunctional family. That was my role in my family growing up. My pastor called me the hub that kept it all together. During my premarital counseling he stated that once I was married that my family would fall apart. He said not to feel guilty and just be a bridge builder. Unfortunately, he knew my family well, and his words were brought to reality in less than six months of my wedding. So crazy… and when all fell apart, I tried to fix it. I swooped in, picked up my mom, took her home and sat my family down on the couch to “fix” this problem. Only I was no longer the hub, and the problems were much older and deeper than me. I could not fix this, and was told in so many words by each of them. I remember returning to my dear husband (who had warned me not to attempt this endeavor) so baffled and hurt. I did not understand.

In ministry I came in with this “skill set” or mind frame, but had not identified it as such until that phone conversation, that I dearly needed. I had resources available and could connect people and help people in a new way. It felt good. Unfortunately, it was easy to solve a problem or fix something, only for it to be back sooner than I could ever believe. The problems were not surface problems that could be fixed with a casserole, or some money. They could not be fixed by a talk with someone like me, telling them the ten steps to their “best life now.” Outward issues have much deeper wounds, deeper heart issues, deeper habits. Robyn Afrik states it this way, “you cannot reconcile that which you do not recognize.”  That pertained to the people I was trying to fix and myself. I was not recognizing that I was looking to be the answer, the hero.

journey
photo courtesy of Patricia White

Over the years after my friend helped me identify this pattern in my life, I started asking God for wisdom and discernment as problems and issues would come my way. I am still on this learning curve, but in the last bunch of years God has been really showing me how this is about walking with people on their journey and allowing Him to do the work. There have been people He has lead me to walk with a short time, and others a much longer time. I have to resist the urge to fix or tell them how to fix. I am seeing how powerful it is to just show up and shine a bit of light on the step that our friends are on. Many times people already know what they need to do, they need someone to cheer them on, and loan them some of their courage. I have to step back at times in relationships and ask what my role is and what it is not. Where does He have me on this person’s journey. Sometimes a person might not even know I am on their journey with them because prayer is what God has said is my role. I am tempted at times to jump in and do more, but that is not mine. I am learning to lean in more to the Holy Spirit and allow Him to be the hero and me to play whatever role He has for me. There is peace in that and power in that.

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Sometimes I would feel so helpless and defeated, like that day with my family on the couch, not able to fix what was broken. Trying to fix the broken is not the answer. Leaning into it and allowing God to do a healing work and shining His light through their broken pieces is so much more life giving and strengthening to the person and myself. They do not need a superhero wannabee, they need someone to share the journey and help them keep going, just like I need them and their story and journey to give me courage for mine.

 

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