Be a hero or Follow The Hero?

Today’s post is from my friend Patty Maier who was one of four writers who wrote the Hearts at Home Pantagraph newspaper column for many years. She and her family live in Forrest, Illinois where many different organizations benefit from her time and talents.

By the way….it’s not too late to get in on the Hearts at Home Illinois Conference! You can get your tickets–or pick up a Conference To Go–here!

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Do you ever feel like you hear the same message over and over? 

A couple weeks ago, my husband gave a talk to a group of parents during halftime at an Upwards basketball game.  He spoke about Jesus being our ultimate hero and how we should strive to be heroes for our children.

The word hero came up again in a movie I saw with my daughter.  I had given her the choice in what movie we would see together, and she chose “After I Fall.”  She told me the movie was like the movie “Groundhog Day.”  She was right,nalthough Groundhog Day’s comedy was replaced by worldly teen-girl drama.  Thankfully, the movie had some redeeming qualities.

In both movies, the lead actor re-lived a day over and over.  When the lead character thought that what they did didn’t matter, they made poor choices and treated people (including themselves) poorly.  When they realized that their actions made a difference, their choices totally changed.  How they treated people improved drastically.  Both movies showed the characters growing into less selfish, sensitive, caring people.

One line in this recent movie was, “What you do matters in the moment and maybe into infinity.”  I’m sure that wasn’t the first time my daughter heard that message (not the second either!) but I’m hoping she heard it more clearly through the movie.

How we see ourselves in this world matters.  When we realize the impact we can make even on a daily basis, it affects our attitudes.  Our perspective and choices and little things we do along the way do make a difference.  As the characters in these movies learned, we need to be intentional and deliberate each and every day.  We may not get the same kind of do-over in real life as in these movies nor do we get everything all figured out as the movie characters seem to, but we do get a new beginning every day and have access to endless grace.

Sometimes we all need to hear the same message over and over.

The past few weeks, I’ve been feeling less than.  Like I’m not enough.  Things in my life are changing, and I’m struggling.  Decisions made concerning the organizations I volunteer with are changing the opportunities I have to serve.  There goes some of my purpose.  My teens who are days away from turning 17 are both struggling to mature which makes me question my parenting.  And my worth.  I’m definitely not feeling like anyone’s hero.

Sometimes the reason we hear a message over and over again is because we’re not getting it.

I think I got hung up on thinking I had to be some sort of hero.  I certainly don’t fit the dictionary’s definition of hero–a person who is admired or idealized for courage, outstanding achievements, or noble qualities.  I surely haven’t done anything grand.  But if I go back to the Bible verse my husband shared, his definition of hero is much more obtainable.  John 15:13 says, “Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.”  When I think of laying down one’s life, I think about sacrifices and about putting myself (my feelings, my wants, my time, my to do list, …) aside and putting the needs of others first.  I can do that!

I finally got the message.  I’m done beating myself up for not being a hero.  Instead, I’m going to keep making a difference by loving those around me and following my ultimate Hero.  If I can do that, I’m giving my kids someone they can look up to. 

What about you? What message are you hearing over and over that you need to get? Where are you chasing an impossible goal that needs a change in perspective?

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