We all have one. But most of us struggle to understand what it is or how to deploy it. In the age of options, we dabble. In a FOMO-afflicted generation, we lack the commitment that a superpower needs if it is to be developed.
I remember loving comic books as a kid. Something in me resonated with the idea that people could have super powers. Clark Kent looked ordinary, but hiding in plain view was Superman, the defender of the weak, the hero of Metropolis.
I especially liked the Fantastic Four – the idea of a team of superheroes who complimented one another. I felt small and alone growing up, but in my imagination, I wanted to address problems of injustice.
The fact is, I was small and alone – but when I read comic books, I was transported to a place where ordinary people could change their identities.
And maybe I wasn’t alone in at least that one way. The yearning for a better, idealized version of ourselves seems to exist in the popular imagination. Most of us seem to harbor this hope that, as David Bowie sang, “We could be heroes, just for one day.”
In many of our films today, you see that same fascination with people of extraordinary ability, whether they be mutants, visitors from other planets, or scientists transformed by an experiment gone wrong.
Why we don’t believe it
But Batman has to retreat to the Bat Cave and Superman has to find his desk back at the Daily Planet. Even in the comics, we find it hard to believe that we could have a super power that wasn’t somehow compromised or frequently hidden.
Why is it that most people never seem to understand the capacity they have to be somebody’s hero and to possibly even change the world? A few ideas:
- Nobody believed in them, so they don’t believe in themselves.
- They were traumatized in the past and live in fear.
- Life is hard – just surviving from day-to-day takes all their energy.
- They aren’t aware of those who are so much needier than themselves who need their super power.
So here’s a radical thought: What if God created everyone with a latent superpower that just needed to be developed? What if there are seeds of greatness hidden inside all of us?
How do we discover it?
It may only exist in seed form, but Scripture tells us we all have amazing potential locked away inside us. We’re told, “We are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.” (Eph. 2:10)
Gal. 4:6-11 tells us that God loves us, created us, and wants to share his inheritance with us. It’s a fantastic proposition – the God of the universe actually wants to partner with us in establishing his kingdom on earth! He calls us sons and daughters. He’s a father who lost his family and wants it back.
Once we begin to believe that might be the case, and understand that he wants to equip us for the task, we are on our way. All we have to do is understand how he wants to equip us and what we can do to join him in that process. I suggest the following three ways to do so:
1. Look Inward: Focus on your strengths and passions. God designed you to focus on a few areas where your interests and abilities intersect. What do you love to do? Becoming excellent at it takes time – you’re going to feel inadequate at first. Malcolm Gladwell suggests that it takes 10,000 hours of practice to develop your gifts. Getting there takes passion and commitment, but that is how superpowers are developed.
2. Look to Others: Get feedback. We need the perspective of others, so listen to those who know you. Take some assessment tests. Ask people, “Where do you see me thrive? Where do I seem to best connect with my purpose?” And ask God the same thing.
3. Look to God: Spiritual gifts are superpowers – pray for them. Check out these 4 lists in the Bible and ask God, “How do you want to equip me, Lord?” We are told to earnestly seek the gifts that God wants to give us. (1 Cor. 14:1) God has plans for us that we need to access (for more on this, listen to Kris Valloton’s talk).
A lot of us, unaware that we have a superpower, end up distracted or uncertain. We find ourselves with our cape on backwards, flapping in our face. We just need perspective to understand how to use it.
What is your superpower? You’ve got one and the world needs it. Those who know and love you are cheering for you to rise up and begin developing it. Why not start today?