My favorite Bible story is David and Goliath, probably because it's about the little guy (I can totally relate) who goes up against the giant and defeats him. I can't imagine how terrifying it must have been for David to face Goliath – an enormous, trained, and skilled soldier. David had none of Goliath's skills or size, and if anyone was betting, I guarantee no one was putting any money on him.
So what made David so heroic? What gave him the courage to go up against the toughest odds and the fiercest opponent? Faith. He knew he was called by God to defeat the great warrior, and he fought boldly in faith. I love this story because it relates so much to real life. We all have "Goliaths" in our lives. They may not be giant warriors. Maybe they're not even people but are, instead, situations or circumstances. Whenever I find myself fighting against the odds, whenever I feel overwhelmed and outmatched, I turn to God to inspire me. Through Him, everything is possible. Didn't He prove that with David?
This story also reminds me that anyone can be a hero. You don't have to be born into it. You don't have to have status or money or fancy education. Everyone has their own definition of what it means to be a hero. I love Marvel Comics superheroes, but the tights and cape aren't necessarily to exhibit heroic qualities. In my mind, heroes are people I admire, look up to, respect, revere. People who, in the moment, do something selfless and noble, generous and genuine. They go out of their way to make a difference in someone's life or the world as a whole, with little fear of what others might think or say.
As I'm writing this, I'm thinking to myself, The description fits my parents to a T. Yet neither of them would ever admit that. That's another heroic quality: humility. My mom will tell you that I blessed her life more than she ever blessed mine. And my dad? He would shrug it off as "no big deal." It was a big deal to me! When I think of how much my parents did to ensure I was happy, healthy, confident, and safe, I wonder, How can I fill those shoes? I don't know, but I'll try. I'll try to live up to their examples when I'm a parent to my own kids.
My family is filled with heroes. When my brother Brian joined the Navy, it certainly made him a hero in my eyes. I was about ten years old when we visited him on his ship when he was stationed in Virginia. For the record, since I was very young, I have always insisted on calling Brian "Bubba" and got flat-out offended when anyone else did the same. It was my nickname for him, no one else's! Bubba would fight for me without me needing to ask – he has in the past. One time our whole family was shopping in a Sam's Club, and some guy came over to us and made a nasty comment about "bringing a cripple out in public." Bubba jumped at him, saying a few choice words, and my parents had to talk Bubba down.
Sometimes you have to be your own hero. What I mean by this is that you have to fight for what you believe in and for what you want to happen. Don't wait for a knight in shining armor to charge in and do it for you.
Maya Angelou, another one of my personal heroes, said, "Success is liking yourself, liking what you do, and liking how you do it." If you don't like something in your life, then change it. If something is holding you back, then conquer it. If you're unhappy, then do something to regain your joy. Trust me on this: Superman and Spidey may be otherwise occupied. Understand that your life is your own. It's God's gift to you. Be responsible for your choices, good and bad. It's truly in your hands. You choose your behavior, and you choose how to handle the consequences. If you're stuck, then get yourself unstuck. And before you use the word can't, remember how I feel about that! You can and you should, and you owe it to yourself to live the happiest, fullest life possible. Is it easier to rely on others, to blame or hold them responsible for what's wrong or missing in your life? Sure. Is it easier to make excuses and complain? Absolutely. But all of those things are cop-outs. You are responsible for what you do with your life. Will you be the person God wants you to be or a lesser version of yourself?
Meet Jen Bricker this Thursday on LIFE TODAY. This is an excerpt from Everything Is Possible by Jen Bricker. Copyright ©2016 by Jen Bricker. Published by Baker Books, a division of Baker Publishing Group. Used by permission.