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No Such Thing As Super Heroes

by Allison Martin

There’s no such thing as super heroes.

That seems a little obvious, doesn’t it? We know the characters that plastered our elementary school lunchboxes aren’t real. They never were.

Their super powers and ability to fly in and save the day were really cool and exciting, but they were simply the product of an artist’s imagination. As kids, we were in awe of these characters because they always had the answer, and could single handedly fight off the enemy and leave the battle just as strong as they were before. There was a time when we believed everything that we saw, and these larger than life super heroes raised the bar of what we expected out of life. But a little at a time, reality sunk in. And now, we know that super heroes just aren’t real.

Don’t we?

Or have the objects of our weighty expectations merely changed costumes as we grew up? Have they just exchanged the cape for a microphone, and super powers for the ability to always speak into our lives at just the right moment? These are our heroes.

Even better than saving an entire city, they have been God’s hand to pick us up and dust us off. They have stepped into our mess with a text or a card or an arm around our shoulder, just before it all came crashing down. An unwavering voice of reason in the chaos, they are quick to point us back to Christ and the truth of His Word. A profound wisdom fragrances every part of their life - a wisdom that only comes from deep wounds that have found real healing.

These are the people we look up to and wish we could be like. Our very average words and abilities seem to pale in comparison to their incredible ones.

I believe in giving honor where it’s due, and I’m so thankful God gives us men and women of God to look up to. Mine have shaped me, strengthened me, and I am better because of them. They are my heroes. In light of all of that, I just want to offer us all a simple reminder.

There’s no such thing as super heroes.

Every one of our heroes are still very much human. So at the end of a long day helping save the world, heroes get tired. They cry real tears from feelings of inadequacy. They toss and turn through long nights, wondering if they’ve done enough or said too much. Depending on whose story you’re reading, they may get labeled the hero, villain, and hero again all within the same week.

They bring calm and clarity to our storm while the rage of their own storm is deafening in their ears. The volume on their phone is almost always loud enough that they’ll hear if you call- even if they’d rather turn it off altogether. Even if they aren’t certain anyone would do the same for them.

They show up on our battlefield to help us fight to victory, only to face their own war once ours is won. And even if they hide it really well, they get wounded just like anyone else.

We may not see all that goes on behind closed doors in the hero’s house, but no one is invincible. The longer I live, the more I am convinced that people are never as strong as we think they are.

Friendly people can get lonely.

Faithful people can get tired.

Generous people can get burnt out.

Encouraging people can battle despair.

Heroes can get hurt.

I know it seems an amazing feat when these heroes seem to know exactly what we needed to hear. But it is God’s design that we gain wisdom through the trials we experience. So maybe, they know exactly what we need to hear because it’s what they need to hear, too. And the words they are saying to us are what they wish someone was saying to them.

If they have met you in a place of hopelessness with understanding, they’ve probably been there too. Maybe they still are.

If they have walked with you through anxiety without pulling away, that’s familiar territory for them.

If they have prayed you through your family problems, they’ve probably faced things you know nothing about.

Maybe the reason they always show up for you is that they know what it feels like to fight battles all alone.

Let’s be real: the words that always seem to come at the right time and the strength that whispers courage to us, cost them dearly. The wisdom they pour into us was not cheap. All the encouragement, the support, the understanding… it is the result of fiery trials, lonely roads and dark valleys. Make no mistake: they may give it freely, but it was not cheap.

This post is on behalf of the pastor’s wives and the teachers who live to make a difference, the rock solid friends and the personality that always lights up the room to bring joy to everyone else. It’s on behalf of the mamas who seem like they always have it together and the Sunday school teacher who always has the answer. And a lot of other titles and job descriptions who are out there saving people’s worlds, a little bit every day. This post is a reminder to their people, that sometimes the strong ones, aren’t. And the ones that are strong, get weary.

Here’s the challenge I’m presenting to myself:

Encourage the encourager.

Pray for the prayer warrior.

Give to the giver.

Invite the inviter.

Lift up the hands that are always reaching out to you.

Appreciate the person who always makes you feel noticed.

Show up for the one that’s always there for everyone else.

There’s no such thing as super heroes. There’s just regular, ordinary people whose heart’s cry is to make a difference. These ordinary people give their best efforts, ordinary as they are. And somewhere in the middle, God gets involved. And ordinary people saying ordinary words and doing ordinary things, changes someone’s world forever.

We know how much we need our heroes. Please don’t underestimate how much they need you too. We’re in this together. And sometimes the heroes, need a hero.

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