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June 9, 2010

My Dangerous Wonder-Woman Ego

I couldn’t have been more than 3 or 4 years old when I first watched Wonder Woman on TV, but I remember specifically thinking,

She is awesome.
I want to be her.
She’s so strong.
She’s so pretty.

She quickly became my super hero. I even sported Wonder Woman Underoos until I could no longer fit in them. (Don’t judge; I know you had your favorite super-hero Underoos too!) Known for her super human strength, speed, reflexes, stamina and durability, Wonder Woman became an icon in my fragile little 3-year-old psyche. Little did I realize how much that subtle influence would frame the expectations I’ve put on myself now as an adult.

I can’t really blame Wonder Woman entirely. I’ve spent most of my life admiring strong, confident, accomplished woman and somewhere in all of that I’ve created a mountain of expectations for myself that I doubt even a super hero could tackle.

As a leader I’m learning that I cannot be Wonder Woman.

I cannot be strong enough, smart enough, tough enough, gentle enough, kind enough, eloquent enough, educated enough, patient enough, or fill-in-the-blank enough.

But too many times I’ve pridefully tried to be all of those things, leaning into my own strength, and attempting to do the impossible just to prove that I’m that good.

Ouch, what a dangerous place.

So, I’m attempting to put my cape down, to find confidence in the gifts, talents, strengths and limitations that make me who God made me, to rest in His strength, speed and stamina, and to turn my super-hero worship toward a great Wonder(ful) God!

How about you? Do you have any “capes” to put down?


I put down a huge cape yesterday. My "flair moment" came at the gym. God is teaching me the beauty of stripping away all my coping mechanisms so I can receive from Him.

Oh. Yes. I can definitely relate to this one. Just yesterday, I tweeted that that verse -- you know that verse -- "I can do all things through Christ"? That verse? Sometimes I put more emphasis on the "I" and the "me" part, and try to be a superhero all on my own.

Then I pretty much get exhausted. (ha!)
(And it's never 'enough' when I'm in that mode.)

So I'm with ya! Putting down the cape. And really, it's amazing how much better things work out that way. ;-)

Thanks for sharing your stories too. So glad we are all on this journey together!

Never thought about how she might have influenced expectations we have now. I'm struggling w/resolving some expectations of self, and others I've carried with me for a long time... this post was right on time - thanks Jenni!

Very timely post! I've been doing some of my fighting and struggling myself. Only I don't feel so wonderful! It leaves me feeling more empty than strong!

Ah, yes...Wonder Woman. I was older than you when she came into vogue (long out of Underoos) but was fascinated by her to say the least. Who wouldn't want that figure, the beautiful hair that never mused, and what about the invisible plane? Remember the golden belt of truth? No one could resist its powers when she captured them within it. And it seemed she could do anything...multitasking was no stretch for her. She was never out of breath or tired or frazzled. She always had a clean "uniform."

Thanks for this timely reminder that God does not call his daughters to be "Wonder Woman." Rather He calls us to Himself...our refuge, our strength, our Savior. I often need to remind myself that Philippians 4:13 does not mean that I can do anything in the strength of Christ, but that I can do everything that God calls me to do in the strength of Christ. In other words, I can do all things that are within God's will for me.

Often when I am teaching or mentoring other women I remind them of this. It seems to be the classic self-destruct symptom most experienced by Christian women today, at least in my observations of women around me.

One of the most difficult situations I have experienced (and observed for others) is when everyone is telling me "you can do it" when that is not the issue. The ultimate issue is whether God has asked me to join Him in that particular endeavor. If He has not, then my answer must be "no" or I will be struggling in my own strength. Many will not understand and will believe that I am being selfish, when in reality that answer is God's will for that time and place in my life.

It is not always easy to lay down the present blessing for the new blessing God wants to bring into our lives, but it is always the right and obedient thing to do. I am reminded often of what Samuel told Saul in 1 Samuel 15:22-23. "Then Samuel said: 'Has the LORD as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, As in obeying the voice of the LORD? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed than the fat of rams. For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry. Because you have rejected the word of the LORD, He has rejected you from being king.'"

There is application to my life in this O.T. passage. I will never be in position to be a king, obviously, but I sometimes wonder if I have missed some of God's plans for me because I did not heed His word for me.

This cape removal, for me, is a process because I find I often pick it up again without even realizing what I have done.
Thanks again, Jenni, for reminding me that I must be ever vigilant about my spiritual wardrobe.

Susan, I relate to what you wrote, but I wonder about the necessity of time spent worrying over missing God's plan. I often hear this phrase, but I fear it pre-supposes that we have more power than even Wonder Woman herself. That is the phrase "I wonder if I have missed some of God's plans for me..."
Do you think that you have the power to miss a sovereign God's plan? I think of Jonah. He tried to miss an all powerful all knowing sovereign God's plan, but God nudged him right back into doing His will.
In our humanity, it is possible for us to make a mistake, to say yes when we should say no or the other way around. But,either way, as His child He is going to nudge me, prod me or even kick me to the right or to the left and say this is the way walk in it. Love, Mary

As church support staff we have been set up to be Super Women/Men/Secretaries/Receptionists/etc.
People have a unrealistic expectation of what it is like to work in the church. That is why I wrote a book about the "Incidents of the Church Office" for those who know about churches. I'm looking for stories (parables) for Incidents II which will be released in November.
Still Blessed to Serve God,

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