Updated: Sep 30, 2019
I have always enjoyed superheroes. I mean, they are “super” and they are “heroes.” When I was in the fifth grade, my friends, Mickey, Kevin, Bill and I would go out at recess and play “Fantastic Four.” I, of course played the part of the “Invisible Woman” and in one or two recesses each day, we saved the world, got captured and rescued each other several times. That was, until I was replaced . . . by Tammy (something I am still bitter about to this day).
Back then, I thought of superheroes wearing their capes and flying, running head first into dangerous situations and always standing on the side of good. They always triumph and they never really get hurt. I mean, even if they die, they find a cosmic loophole and
come back to life. They have special powers that allow them to conquer anything the bad guys throw at them. They also have great “outfits” (I guess men wouldn’t call them outfits), and cool hideouts filled with all the latest toys. All of this plus an unlimited supply of energy and strength.
I have been blessed to know so many incredible women: women of all ages, shapes, sizes, and backgrounds. From those associations comes my belief that women are superheroes. No, we can’t jump buildings in a single bound or fly through the air, but when we list what we know about our popular media superheroes, there are a lot of similarities.
1. An Origin Story Every superhero epic always starts with an origin story. Our superhero inevitably goes through a growth process during which they discover their superpowers. Often, they start out in adversity: a spider bite, a fall off a building, or a village being destroyed. The discovery of who they really are and their mission to “save the world” is a process. Powers are revealed over time. Superman didn’t know he could deflect bullets until he was shot at. The Flash didn’t know he was fast until he started running. Through the voyage of discovery, driven by experience, the full power of who they are becomes clearer. Inevitably, there comes a time when they put aside their worldly desires to serve a higher or better purpose.
One of the advantages we, as women, have over traditional superheroes is that we already know we have a higher purpose and a mission to accomplish. We know we are daughters of God. James E. Faust said, “Being a daughter of God means that if you seek it, you can find your true identity. You will know who you are.” However, that knowledge doesn’t keep us from going through the same sort of discovery process to understand and utilize our own superpowers. Like all super heroes, we can continually learn new things and add to our arsenal as we use our superpowers to fulfill our “destiny” and make the world around us a safer, holier place. Just like our superhero counterparts, this process will also include discovery and improvement through adversity and experiences.
2. Courage and Belief When the world is teetering on disaster, superheroes answer the call. Batman drops whatever he is doing when the bat signal is sent. His belief that what he does matters and makes a difference fuels his courage. Belief and courage work together hand in hand: a partnership dependent on each other.
It is one thing to have the courage to save the world from a super villain, I mean Wonder Woman does have her really cool lasso and can fly and jump like no one else. But it takes real life belief and courage to save the world every day. It is in our daily life that, regardless of our circumstances that would suggest otherwise, we have to keep the belief of what we know about our origins and purpose in our thoughts and actions.
One day, I woke up with the flu. The kids were home from school and children who had been sick previously woke up that day feeling fine and were now stir crazy. I tried to just sit on the couch and make sure that they didn’t set the house on fire. I gave instructions to the older children regarding meals, I turned on the TV and hoped that would keep them quiet. That didn’t work. The toilet overflowed and had to be cleaned up, children got bored and wanted me to solve their problems. I went to the doctor to get medicine and came back to a house in chaos, so I sat on the couch and pretended I was alone in a hotel, sleeping in a bed made from clouds. I will admit that at no time during that day did I think to myself, “I am a super hero.”
Sometimes in our lives, as circumstances and challenges mount against us, our belief can begin to falter. It is easy for us to stop trusting what we have always known. As our belief wanes, so does our courage. When we forget about our divine origins and calling, we allow other things to come in to distract us from our purpose, to keep us from doing the things that only we can do and making the difference only we can make.
The key to sustaining a belief in our divine origin is to remember that our Heavenly Father gives us all of our superpowers. This is not in a one-time-only allotment; He will continue to give them freely throughout our lives to help us meet our challenges, in accordance with our faith and trust in Him. Our belief is fueled by our ability to keep our eyes fixed on the real things of God. “Look unto me in every thought; doubt not, fear not” (D&C 6:36).