A little over a year ago I wrote about how I am not a Super Hero. I discussed my realization that in life, especially in the harder moments, I need to face things with people by my side instead of having them meet me on the other end. I also acknowledged that when I feel overwhelmed or anxious I can simply try to push through it, as it’s a lot easier to share with a friend “How I handled it,” after the fact. So you can imagine my surprise as I found myself in a familiar point reflecting on the last few weeks: feeling anxious and overwhelmed and trying to deal with it all by myself yet again. Yes, I shared with friends about the circumstances I was coping with but didn’t stop long enough to process how I was really feeling. Over the last few months, as I transitioned into a new job, new ministry, new apartment, coping with my grandfather’s death and consequent illness of my grandmother, I found myself attempting to be a super hero all over again.
Rm 5:1-5 (NIV) “1 Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, 2 through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we boast in the hope of the glory of God. 3 Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; 4 perseverance, character; and character, hope. 5 And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.”
Sometimes I can fail to translate the good news of the gospel into my life. When I try to take everything on myself I lose sight of my source of peace: God through Jesus. I forget that through Jesus I have access by faith to grace, which is wiggle room to fall and room to ask for help. I also lose sight of hope. The hope I am called to is not a hope in changed circumstances but a hope in the glory of who God is.
Versus 4 and 5, in The Contemporary English Version read, “4 And endurance builds character, which gives us a hope 5 that will never disappoint us. All of this happens because God has given us the Holy Spirit, who fills our hearts with his love.”
Hope that will never disappoint, that is what I receive when I hope in God and can be, if I allow Him to do so, filled with love. Love gives me the courage to be vulnerable about my fears of failing at my job, letting people down or not being able to help someone really know God. As the months have passed I have found myself feeling disappointed or afraid to disappoint all the more, at work and in new relationships. When I lean onto God by relying on the Spirit he has given me, He gives me insight into my emotions and the courage to be vulnerable enough to allow others in. Sometimes I just need others to share with me the right perspective when mine is clouded. Sometimes it is others that can help me to see the truth more clearly. They remind me that I don’t have to be in control and when things in my life seem more than a little out of control, I can still trust God to pick up the pieces. If I rely on his Sprit, He replaces my anxiety and fear with hope and love.
I may look like I have it all under control, but none of us has it under control all the time. I am also a control freak and try to take charge or have things my way in an attempt to feel less afraid over the lack of control I have over certain things in my life. My real life is not a life of a superhero. I experience pain and fear, such as losing loved ones and feeling like I am losing some of my best single friends as they get marry. This is my reality, but it’s not one I have to face alone. I can let new people in my life see this version of me—not just my superhero cape. This is why I, and we, need God, his grace and each other. At any given moment in life we all need help whether physical, spiritual or emotional. It may feel scary and vulnerable but that feeling passes and is replaced with a deeper bond of friendship and love when I allow people in. It is also replaced with a deeper sense of peace and a biblical sense of hope when I hand these things over to God in prayer.
Ps18:35 “You give me your shield of victory, and your right hand sustains me; you stoop down to make me great.”