Pretending to be a superhero as a child is akin to the sun providing light to the Earth, it’s the nature of the role that each entity plays. It seemed like a part time job trying to find the right hero to be while portraying them perfectly and impressing my little buddies.
Most days I wanted to be Spider-Man. I loved the thought of climbing up walls, swinging through the streets, and “catching crime right on time”. I wanted everyone to see me and say, “Look out! Here comes the Spider-Man!” Try as I might, something was missing from the equation.
Other times I chose to be the Hulk. I mean, who doesn’t want to be a giant, green, rage monster who becomes incredibly ripped by just being angry? Being the Hulk would have saved me the last six or so years of working out.
I remember living in the central part of Florida in a neighborhood full of little tikes like myself. We all aspired to be huge, amazing things and this played out in our day to day interactions. Despite the incessant heat, we would play big games of tackle football, cops and robbers, or massive superhero brawls. Our play times brought out the innate desire within us that aspired to be something greater than “just average”.
Day in and day out our six to seven year old energy levels sent us flying through the neighborhoods on our bikes, sprawling across the playground with our imaginations, and climbing the biggest trees to gain the best vantage point. I remember one day specifically…
It was hot, as was everyday in Florida. I had traversed the short distance to my friends house where we typically gathered. They were all out back on the playground when I finally arrived. What I stumbled upon was a massive cosplay superhero battle. Each of us would choose a character and then run around fighting all of the bad guys with our super cool super powers. Our imaginations took over and we ran wild. I would jump off the top rung of the ladder all the while shooting my webs at the particular foe I was chasing (Evidently I wasn’t very good at this because the other kid would never want to fall down). When I got tired of that character I would then call out who I wanted to be next. Once that happened I would then assume the role wherewith that hero/villain had. These epic brawls never really served any purpose but to get us out of our parent’s hair and let us have some fun. I knew I was never going to be a superhero but that never stopped me from wishing.
At the end of the day though, I was still…me. I wasn’t able to save all of the pretty girls with my rock hard abs, swing through the streets with my cool web shooters, or stop the bad guy from taking over the world. I couldn’t put on a mask and hide my identity, hide my pain, or my struggles.
I say all of this because I’ve been faced with this mentality even at the fresh age of 23. I want to be a superhero to those I love. I don’t want to disappoint anyone, I don’t want to do something that would “hurt” them. These are all great wishes and ones that everyone should aspire to never do but here’s the deal: I can’t be everything for all people.
The truth of the matter is that you and I can’t please everyone. A people pleasing mentality is common in our culture but it’s just not reality. No matter how hard you and I try to be a “superhero” for all people everywhere, there will always be that one person (we all know one) that’s not completely satisfied. The only thing you and I can be best is ourself.
I’m not advocating for a “I only care about myself” mentality because I think that is wrong. The Bible calls us to “Love our neighbors as ourself” after all. I think we’re at fault when we take this mentality and allow our pride to say that we can accomplish anything and everything for all people. We weren’t made to do that!
I can love the people that are around me, seek their best, but know my limit. I’m no superhero and that’s ok. You’re no superhero and that’s ok. Do your best to love selflessly but know that you can’t do or be everything (and that’s ok).
I don’t have to be everything because Jesus already took care of that.
But being Spiderman is still one of my #goalz