Real-Life Superheroes?

What is the attraction of superheroes? Comic book based TV shows and movies are killing it right now. Non-comic geeks can tell you the origins of Batman, Superman, and Spiderman. What’s the allure?

Most of them have secret identities, a double life, one average but when duty calls they suit up. They look like anyone else, but are something greater. We live vicariously through them, aspiring to be something more.

Even up to my twenties, I would draw myself as a superhero. Usually a small twist on a current character. I wanted to be something more. These thoughts returned as I watched Man of Steel.

I wanted to be Superman, nothing could hurt him, really. He was a good guy that you could count on. Wolverine was a favorite for a long time, rough and tough, no one messed with him. Despite his demons, he had a heart of gold underneath.

Spiderman, witty and smart; he’s just fun and dealt with real life as well as supervillains. A relatable character, with a lot of bad luck, yet he persevered.

Batman?

If you know me, then you know I love Batman. Why? Because he’s good at EVERYTHING! A genius, top fighter, has a plan for everything, doesn’t stop, and just plain, frickin’ cool! He’s complex, and honestly, very scarred. Still he does good. It’s his mission.

I’m growing almost as fond of Captain America as I am of Batman. Chris Evans’ portrayal is so endearing; he’s just so unbelievably good and honest. A good-hearted runt that became more. Like Superman is to DC, Cap is the moral center of the Marvel Universe.

What do these teach us?

Despite tragedy, they do good, they persevere, whether their world exploded, family died, or like Wolverine, everyone they love dies while he lives. They help stop it from happening to others. Where you could easily crawl into a hole deep inside yourself, they refused to.

The world is a harsh place. It’s also good and beautiful. They preserve the beautiful. A cause is good. However, the center of the cause should be people. It’s more than a concept; it’s a reality. I watch broken people who have emerged from their trials, helping other broken people every week. They bring a double-edged sword that is experience and empathy. They’ve been there.

Jesus gave the disciples and Christians today the Great Commission.

Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” Matthew 28:19-20 NIV

That’s the cause. The center is people, though. Look at the second greatest commandment.

And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.” Matthew 22:39 NIV

So who is the neighbor? Jesus was asked that.

“But he wanted to justify himself, so he asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?” Luke 10:29 NIV

The answer was the parable of the good Samaritan. To sum it up, he made the questioner answer his own question.

““Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?
The expert in the law replied, “The one who had mercy on him.”
Jesus told him, “Go and do likewise.” Luke 10: 36-37 NIV

SuperheroThe past is the springboard to the future. First, climb out of yourself. Then start helping people up. We may not have superpowers, but we can make a difference. It’s about people, help one and their world is changed. Now suit up and go.

Has Anyone Ever Invested In You?

Do you invest in others? Are you actively involved in their lives? How about this, is someone involved in your life now, putting the time, their experience, etc. in seeing you grow? It’s a more strategic form of mentoring others.

It’s important to keep someone from straying onto a dangerous path, pull them off a destructive path, or to help them grow in a positive manner. The former is the type I’ve generally been. In turn, I try to be a positive, good influence in people’s lives around me. Encouraging them mostly, though occasionally giving advice.

The second path at its extreme is easily envisioned. Think about an AA sponsor, someone who’s been in the trenches and is now helping others on the same path. It could be as simple as counseling someone before they get that far.

It’s a process that takes patience. Especially when you’re dealing with someone who’s stubborn, like *cough* me. I was on a path and had a mentor that who persistently kept encouraging, advising, and praying for me. She did this for years, encouraging me to come to class on Sundays, get involved in a ministry, make friends here, and read more positive books. She still does it even to this day.

Years later, I attend Deaf Den on Saturdays, the deaf connections class on Sundays, am in six ministries, and will let my Goodreads page testify to my reading.  

During a sermon series on the enemies of the heart, we got to the issue of anger. I remarked it would probably be a good one for me. Her reply was, ‘new creature, right?’ I admitted it still rises sometimes. She told me the key was to not let it drive me. Those were very true words; anger had been a driving force for years.

During the service, I listened and marveled at how close mine and the pastor’s trains of thought were. I had just written a post on forgiveness two days before on one of the passages he used. Same lines of thought, similar analogies, I thought it was pretty cool. I told her about it afterward, saying, “At least my theology is right.”

Her eyes glistened a little. She knew the background of the issue, because she had helped me through it. “Wow, you really are a new person. I’m so proud of you. So proud of you.”

I could tell she meant it. That encouragement made my night and the rest of my week. It meant a lot to hear those words. To make someone who had walked with me proud.

No matter where you are, someone is on the path ahead of you. Are they going the right direction? Towards growth, or towards self-destruction? It’s good to have someone on the path ahead of you. Who’s willing to walk with you.

Have a mentor.

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Mustang Mentoring 2011

 

Be a mentor.

 

Your Life Can Make A Difference

I would like you to take a moment and reflect on where you’re at in life’s journey. Got it? Now look back at the time you started, the ups and the downs. Pretty good, huh? Now my question is what are you doing with that wealth of information.

It was a slow night at work for me. Slow for me means no one is calling me to the floor and every time I make my rounds there wasn’t anything needing inspected. Sitting in the office, I brought up the WordPress reader and started exploring the blogs.

I came across one by a new Christian who was just a ‘few weeks old’. In other words, he had just been saved. He was struggling and I commented on his post dealing with what he thought was God angry with him and a divide between them. He was going through some spiritual warfare so I began to keep up with his posts with advice and encouragement where needed.

At a restaurant, a week later, a surprisingly deep conversation came up between me and one of the teenagers. They also felt like the busyness of life was getting in the way between them and God. It’s a problem that occasionally springs up for me as well. I listened, offered advice, and shifted the conversation when they were getting uncomfortable. Opening up is not easy.

I didn’t help because I think I am an expert. It’s not a scholarly background that the information comes from. It comes from going through similar situations, taking the hits, and coming out of it.

You are a wealth of information. The low times of your life just prepare you to help someone later. Think of it as training and testing you for it.

Use the experience and lessons to be a positive voice in others’ lives.

 

Who Is Watching You: The Impact We Make In People’s Lives

CNyyCLVUsAASVvHSomeone is probably watching you. It’s not just the NSA either. It is probably someone you know. They consider you a source of inspiration or wisdom. At the very least, the way you lead your life is an example to them.

The other day, an adopted family member deleted all his Facebook friends but four. I was one of the four because he thinks I am ‘one of the smartest guys’ he knows. He thinks more highly of me than I do myself. The thing is I didn’t know he was watching me that closely.

I know I’m considered a mentor to my adopted sister. I think I am to a young friend with big dreams who occasionally approaches me with questions. I was recently in a simultaneous text conversation with a couple of them. Because they look up to me enough to value what I have to say.

That is a heavy thought that brings a lump to my throat quite honestly. It is why I am so hard on not sending out mixed messages. When someone famous for a particular value is caught in a scandal, the outcry is immense. There is a reason for that. They were looked up to. It feels like betrayal.

I have my mentors. People that I learn from who are ahead of me in different areas. I’m sure you have one or two mentors yourself. It doesn’t necessarily have to be someone you know. The internet and books bring their lives in touch with ours.

If you knew you were being watched, that someone looked up to you; would you change the way you live for the better? Why or why not? I look forward to hearing from you.