When I was a child, I rode my bicycle over the flat neighborhoods of Savannah, Georgia. I was Annie Oakley on my faithful horse. My girlfriend and I cycled together to ballet classes that ended at dusk. On the way home, we sped past a house shrouded with hanging moss. We were sure it was haunted. We’d both spotted a ghostlike flicker in the window!
Overcoming childhood imaginary villains was exciting, but facing real ones as an adult is a bother. This week I thought about the characters I like to pull for in books. They show strength in adversity. Ones that crumble over small things get on my nerves. That made me wonder: Would I pull for myself if I were in a book?
Every great story has obstacles the hero or heroine must overcome. The protagonist grows stronger, wiser, and better through the process of facing her giants and overcoming her weaknesses. We readers cheer our champion on. We know things she doesn’t. We want her to make the right choice, not shrink back, and to make us proud.
My recent enemies have shown up as unwanted expenses, concerns, and inconveniences. The leak under our kitchen sink has prompted a home renovation. Renovations bring decisions. It seems every decision has brought another obstacle. In the last couple of months, we’ve also come up against ridiculous government regulations, leaks in our septic field, malfunctioning toilets, our dog’s diagnosis of a rare, debilitating disease, and last, but not least, a maternal colony of bats in our attic!
It only takes a few sentences to list what has taken numerous phone calls and hours of research. So how would my favorite character handle the bogeymen that unsettle me as much as a child’s fertile imagination?
I thought about the kind of character I root for: a can-do type of person who doesn’t complain about the scenes he is thrown into; who digs deep and exhibits the wisdom, patience, and skill necessary for the challenge. That’s the type of person I want to be in life.
So who do I want to be when estimates are double what I’d imagined? When the countertop I like is impractical? When the money I want to put toward improvements must go to repairs or vet bills? I want to be strong, someone who overcomes adversity and gives others courage. I don’t want to be the wimp whining in the corner.
Thinking about this, reminded me to be “strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might” (Ephesians 6:10 NASB). Not surprisingly, I enjoyed my day in spite of discovering the bats. I even found someone to safely remove them before they give birth.
In my favorite stories the protagonist learns to overcome his/her weaknesses. That’s the role I want to play in God’s story. How about you? What role are you playing in your story?
Question: How does courage affect your outlook? Click here to share your thoughts.
Deborah W. Wilson
Mark your calendars. Ladies, my daughter Ginny will be leading a ten week summer Bible study that will begin on Tuesday, June 3rd. They meet from 7 – 9 in the evenings and will use my study, Little Women—Big God.
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Photo by: rjones0856