Monday, September 23, 2013

Waking Up

(Credit to Stan Lee or whoever it was did this movie.  No copyright infringement intended.)

I've been thinking today about the scenes in the first spiderman movie with Tobey Macguire after he is bitten by the radioactive spider and his powers start manifesting.  And it's freaking him out, but he also thinks it's cool.  That's how I have been feeling lately.  I am no superhero, obviously, but lately it's like a switch has been turned on in my brain, and I can't seem to stop the words needing to come out onto "paper", or in this case blogging, or journaling on my computer.  It's like this part of my brain has been mostly dormant for years and years, and now suddenly it's awake in a way it NEVER was, even in high school.  That's not to say the things coming out are that remarkable; it's just I almost forgot this part of me even existed.  Now several times a day I have these thoughts I feel this compulsion to get down somewhere, to excise them from my brain a little. It's like I've been asleep for years, and this part of me is waking up. And I think it's tied in with the things the Lord has been showing me in my quiet times and the times I've spent being mentored by a wonderful, older, godly woman from my church.  I don't even know if I'm making sense.  But that's okay.  

The Tobey Macguire Spiderman movies were some of my favorites.  I love some of the themes running through them--the idea that "With great power comes great responsibility", and the way that the character of Peter Parker develops from an inexperienced, somewhat selfish individual to someone who develops a great ability to sacrifice and give of himself for the greater good and for those he loves.   I also love how he learns through the movies that walking this journey of life is not something we truly do well all alone, that while ultimately we may have to face our biggest challenges dependent on no one but God,  there are times that we need others to encourage us and walk with us, and it's not a weakness to admit that.   I think the thing about most great superheroes in the comics, as well as most fictional characters we grow to love,  is that we identify with them in their flaws and their struggles, and something about their journey calls to us to become more than we are at this moment.   

Alot of the Christian journey seems to me to parallel the journey of true heroism that calls to us in these movies.   In the beginning, we are all bumbling and inept.  We recognize our own inadequacy, and we long for a hero to rescue us, because we deeply recognize our need to be rescued.  The difference in Jesus and the heroes of our making is that Jesus was sinless and perfect.  No flaw was found in him.  It's hard for us to fathom that.  It's even harder to identify with sometimes.  So most movie heroes don't truly parallel Christ, but often are more about our own journeys as flawed individuals attempting to understand truth and justice in a world where the culture often scoffs at moral absolutes.  Somehow, though, our hearts recognize there must be some sort of moral absolutes, something solid to grasp and hold onto.  Otherwise, how could we even identify if someone was acting heroically or not?  The beautiful thing is that while we could never be good or truly heroes within our own strength,  when we come to Christ he puts a new spirit in us and transforms us to reflect the glory of God and to represent Him, heroically to the world.

I will confess right now that sometimes I am an emotional coward.  I struggle with caring more about people's opinions of me than I do loving them well regardless of what they think of me.  Sometimes, I feel God is counting down my life to this ultimate moment when I will (hopefully) be truly prepared to be rejected by people as I am truly loving God and them the most that I ever have.  I am never sure if it will be the religious crowd rejecting me, those outside the church, or both, or if that moment will never come at all.  It is my deepest longing to please God in this way, and my deepest fear that when the time comes, I may fail the test.  I take hope that God is the one who will finish what he started, so as long as I keep submitting to his authority, learning and growing, he has the rest covered.  My part is such a little piece of the puzzle. 

Waking Up in any area of life can be a difficult thing.  When you've been stumbling around in the dark in some area, and God flips the switch and reveals to you the depths of your sin or insecurities, or just that reality isn't quite what you thought it was, we should rejoice that God is doing something in our lives and that he wants more for us than a dull, lifeless, insipid reality that is more delusion than truth.  I think the dangerous thing, when God begins to work in your life in a new area is to become prideful and to assume that you have this corner market on truth that no one else could possibly have.  When we have that idea, it's serious RED FLAG to stop and humble ourselves and pray.   Sometimes I think that's why newly converted Christians can be dangerous in alienating people--they have all this zeal without the added benefit of any deeper wisdom and knowledge.  

So here's to waking up.  Here's to God opening our eyes to our sin and removing the scales from our eyes that keep us from seeing Him, or ourselves, accurately.  Here's to being awake in a sleeping world, to finally appreciating that the light we have on is not to cause us to judge others who are stumbling in the darkness, but to be like the one TRUE hero, Christ, who calls people to come out of the darkness and embrace His light.  To watch the story unfold as he takes selfish, broken creatures, and forms and shapes them into something new and beautiful.  To hopefully live in such a way that we are not the only ones who are waking up.

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