In case you thought I was done making Superhero references after my various posts have included Tony Stark (Iron Man), Superman, Spiderman and the Incredible Hulk… you are wrong. Today, I will again be referencing an action hero. Basically, in other news: Asparagus is still disgusting. Today’s Super Hero is none other than Bruce Wayne… also known as Batman.
(Here’s a quick setup for those unfamiliar with his story)
When Bruce was young and long before he turned into the super awesome crime fighting tech spectacle known as Batman he had fallen down a well into a bat cave. His fall stirred up a nest of Bats who swarmed around him and scared the living snot out of him giving him a massive bat phobia. Shortly after being rescued from the well by his Father Thomas Wayne and Alfred (the family butler) the following dialog takes place:
Alfred: Took quite a fall didn’t we Master Bruce?
Thomas Wayne: And why do we fall Bruce?… so we can learn to pick ourselves up.
Go ahead and read that simple dialog one more time. Thomas Wayne flat out nails it like “sky” nails Chicken Little. We all fall, it’s inevitable. We all at one point (or even now) come up short. We are all in one way or another a day late or a buck short. The question is not what will we do “if” we fall, but “when” we fall. “Falling” and “failing” are NOT the same thing. When we “fall” does it mean we’ve “failed?” Absolutely not! We don’t fail unless we choose to! It is our conscious choice whether or not we fail. We are all going to fall, but we don’t fail until we CHOOSE to STOP getting up. It’s our response to WHEN we fall, that determines whether or not we fail. The second we stop trying, the second we relent and give up hope THAT is when we fail!
Sometimes life hits us right between the eyes. Sometimes it hits you so hard it knocks you flat on your butt. Life may even sneak a cheap kidney shot in while your down. Maybe it’s the daily grind, work or family stress, school, an unexpected event, death, illness or disease, a difficult calling, financial struggles, past mistakes or whatever it is that seems to be insurmountable. You don’t see any light in the end of the tunnel. There may be times when you’ve been there so long you almost start to accept it, or start to believe that the endless tunnel with no light at the end is where you belong. We might even feel like we are powerless to change our fate or wonder if we even deserve any better. This is where not Thomas Wayne, but Bruce Wayne teaches a straight up clinic.
(Back to the Batman Story)
Years after Bruce Wayne was found terrified, alone, and scared in the well/batcave (as mentioned above) he confronts his biggest fear: bats. The same fear that has given him nightmares and plagued him since his fall. He doesn’t run from it, pretend it doesn’t exist, deny it, or ignore it. He simply refuses to accept his current mindset and situation and proactively makes a change. Instead of letting his fear and situation control him he runs straight at it full force and meets its head on. In this process he overcomes his crippling bat phobia by converting what used to be his biggest fear into pure confidence. He turns his greatest weakness into his greatest strength to the point that it becomes part of his very identity. He dons a bat colored disguise with a bat symbol on his chest, names his car the bat mobile, responds to the bat signal, and builds his headquarters in the very same bat cave that once terrified him. Through this process he changes his mindset, identity, and conquers his fear. Through this process he becomes, wait for it… Batman. He essentially took his fear, body slammed it, gave it a wet willy, dropped a “yo mama” joke on it, and then wiped the floor with it. In overcoming his fear he uncovered his potential and abilities, gifts, and talents which he found to be virtually limitless after he eliminated what was holding him back.
First off, any guy that can beat up bad guys all day despite sounding like he’s got the worst case of emphysema in history AND turn their weakness into strength earns my respect. This theory of turning a weakness sounds oh so familiar no? How about Ether 12:27:
And if men come unto me I will show unto them their weakness. I give unto men weakness that they may be humble; and my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them.
In summary: We are all weak, in fact, we are made that way for a purpose and reason. We likely won’t understand the full extent of our situations and weaknesses. However, working on our weaknesses will allow for lessons to be learned. This helps us build faith in Christ, our weaknesses becoming strong and maybe even shedding light on our future direction, talents or gifts. Its sounds funny but sometimes we can even be afraid of our gifts, abilities, and talents, and even be afraid of our own potential! This is exactly what the adversary wants. He wants us to believe that we should fear the unknown. He wants us to lack the faith to reach our potential. He wants us to think we are weak and can’t change. He wants us to believe that we can’t win or that we don’t deserve to. Relying on and following Christ at all times means that even when we fall, even when we make mistakes, and even when we have no idea what we’re doing, or why we’re doing it, if we are truly following him, we are not failing.
After all, if Bruce Wayne never addressed his fears and weaknesses or decided to get back up after falling… we’d never have Batman.