I’ve been thinking a lot lately about heroes. I think we all want to be heroes in our own way, I know I do. I suppose there are times when I have been somewhat heroic. I know there are times when I have not been such. I suspect that both are true for all of us.
We become heroes when we put someone else’s happiness, security, safety, health…. above our own. We become heroes when we set aside our own “best interests” in order to serve someone else’s. We truly become heroes when our best interests become those of others. We all have opportunities to be heroes every day. As a minister to men, I have often heard from men about how they want to be heroes, but struggle with falling short.
More than anything, I want to be a hero to my kids and to my wife. Of course, we can’t set out to be heroes. It’s a by-product of the life we lead, which is a result of the choices we make. I’ve been reading the Principle of The Path (Andy Stanley) and I am beginning to see the ‘hero quest’ as part of the path I am on. I know the kind of man I want to be, that will result in me being that hero to my family and to my students and, maybe, to the other people in my life, and I struggle daily to stay on that path. Little distractions appear along the side of my path like shiny objects to a crow and I start veering off course, sometimes without even realizing it. It’s fairly easy to get back on the path if we notice early that we have started to move away from it, but I can also see how we could find ourselves way off course fairly quickly. Not all distractions are necessarily bad, except that they are distractions.
I often tell others that the key to success is to pick a destination and then stay on the path that leads us there. It’s easier said than done. There are the obvious distractions – things we know we should not waste our time with, but sometimes do anyway, but there are also more subtle distractions. We get led away by filling our time with (even good) activities that keep us from accomplishing our real task.
Truth be told, we become heroes in the eyes of those who love us when we find and pursue our purpose. We find balance and peace in family, ministry, work and play. Being a hero just naturally grows out of that.