For such a time as this, I offer some advice from “Elastigirl,” the “super” from one of my favorite animated movies, “The Incredibles.” Bob and Helen Par are retired superheroes trying to have a normal life, raising a family in the suburbs, when they get sucked back into their superhero stint of saving the world. The children have untested powers they have inherited from their parents DNA that they will need to draw upon in the current crisis. In a moment of truth, Helen (“Elastigirl”) has to leave two of her children to fend for themselves while she goes off to rescue her husband, Bob (“Mr. Incredible”). It’s her speech to the children that always gets my attention whenever I see this fun, fast-paced movie.
Up until this moment, Helen has been discouraging her kids to play around with their latent powers so that they wouldn’t stick out among the other kids in the neighborhood. In their physical competitions at school, they have to constantly hold back — even lose on purpose now and then, in order to live a normal life. This time, she has to reverse that rule.
“But things are different now,” she says to her daughter as she prepares to leave her and their son, Dash, in enemy territory, “and doubt is a luxury we can’t afford any more, 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.”
Actually this sounds strikingly similar to the way Jesus prepared his disciples to go out without him. As followers of Christ, we have more power than we realize. Don’t think too much, or in other words, don’t psyche yourself out with rules and requirements. Step into the situation because you have what it takes; it will come to you when you need it. And remember… “It’s in your blood,” because the Holy Spirit is within you giving you what you need, when you need it.
It’s timely advice as we face a New Year. There are many demands that normal life places on a person today, and then add to that the expectations of a person who wants to represent the Gospel of Welcome in the marketplace. There will be conflicts from without, and wars from within, but have no fear, because the power of Christ that is in you is greater than the power of darkness that is in the world. Because of the power of Christ in us, we are all supers. Get used to thinking of yourself as a super, and remember, “Doubt is simply a luxury we can’t afford any more.”
“On my account you will be brought before governors and kings as witnesses to them and to the Gentiles. But when they arrest you, do not worry about what to say or how to say it. At that time you will be given what to say, for it will not be you speaking, but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you.” (Matthew 10:18-20)