Saturday, November 28, 2009

Growing up in a superhero family

The IncrediblesHave you ever wondered what it would be like to discover you’re a superhero? What if your whole family were superheroes?

On Thursday I watched The Incredibles with friends to finish off a great Thanksgiving. I was intrigued by the way Helen and her kids (Violet and Dash) reacted to danger as a family.

(Helen, Violet  and Dash safely land in the ocean after escaping from their plane.)

Violet: What are we gonna do?

Dash: We're dead! We're dead!

Violet: It blew up!

Dash: We survived but we're dead!

Helen: Stop it! We are not gonna die! Now both of you will get a grip. Or so help me I will ground you for a month! Understand?

Dash: You want to go toward the people that tried to kill us?

Helen: If it means land, yes.

Violet: You expect us to swim there?

Helen: I expect you to trust me.

Helen knows who she is. She is Elastigirl and she confronts danger with confidence. Violet and Dash, on the other hand, panic.

Why do they freak out? I think it’s because they don’t know their true identities. They’re aware they have superpowers, but they’ve grown up hearing they should never use them and they should act “normal”.

Helen later tells the kids, “Your identity is your most valuable possession. Protect it.”

I think many who’ve been adopted as God’s children face a similar identity crisis to Violet and Dash. We’ve heard we can do all things through Christ. But we constantly feel pressure to fit in and rely on what we see. And when our faith is tested we tend to get anxious and allow doubt to creep in.

Violet is particularly doubtful and insecure. She’s been told all her life to forget about her powers. Then all of a sudden she is asked to use them in an emergency, but she fails. She must feel frustrated and confused.

Ever feel like that? I have.

But even after her failure her mom doesn’t doubt Violet’s identity. She lovingly forgives her and tells her to be true to herself (finally):

Helen: If anything goes wrong, use your powers… Vi, I’m counting on you. Be strong.

Violet: Mom! Mom, what happened on the plane. I'm… I'm sorry. I wanted to help. I mean, when you asked me to… sorry.

Helen: Shhh. It isn't your fault… But things are different now. And doubt is a luxury we can’t afford anymore, sweetie. You have more power than you realize. Don’t think. And don’t worry. If the time comes, you’ll know what to do. It’s in your blood.

I think God believes in us more than we do. And when we fail, He doesn’t love us any less. He lovingly encourages us to get back up and try again. We need to hear and believe what He says about us so we can have the confidence to walk in His will.

Superheroes are a bit like royalty, who… “already know who they are inside, which enables them to become selfless and give out more than they receive” (p. 77, The Supernatural Ways of Royalty by Kris Vallotton and Bill Johnson).

After Violet and Dash understand and experience their true identities as superheroes, they gain confidence, defeat bad guys and help save a city.

Who does God say you are? What can happen once you believe it?

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