Have you or your children ever longed to live an epic life? You know, being able to see your larger life's story, to know that your life mattered to more than just your family and friends, to live a life of adventure and battle the forces of evil? To do great deeds, to have great victories?
Too bad that's just in fantasy novels.
Or is it?
My family enjoys fantasy novels and movies. Sometime my kids wish they could do the amazing things that wizards, elves and hobbits do.
But here's the thing: I deeply believe that we are all here for a higher purpose than just going through the motions of life: getting homework done, paying bills and making dinner. I believe that in our own way, we do change the world and make it a better place. I also believe that if we look for opportunities to really make a difference, with all pride put aside, we will find ways to do more good than we ever thought possible.
Here are 3 ways I believe that we CAN be the hero of our own story. (But first, you have to see yourself in a story.)
1. We ARE daily battling forces of evil. We just don't carry sweet swords or have elf friends. Our weapons of choice are kindness, education, unselfishness, holding our anger in check and other great tasks of mundane discipline. They are able to disarm those who don't know any better and rally those who will fight against what is evil. When you look at the tide of good and evil in the world, it is made up of our individual actions. Your choices DO make a difference.
2. We also have epic lives when we live deliberately for others. All of the heroes in the Hero Spotlight and elsewhere, are normal people who made deliberate choices- choices that affected others for the better. My personal heroes ARE epic, when I think of what my life would be like without them. They have helped me slay my personal demons.
3. See yourself for what you are. We are epic when we BELIEVE we are epic, or at least that our journey is. This is one that is particularly tricky, I think. It is the ability see the big picture, to be determined in achieving a goal and never stopping, come what may. I know a man who does this to perfection, and I'd like to introduce him to you.
Before I really knew him, I only knew of his credentials. One day, I saw him at a community event, introduced myself and asked him if he would come speak to our homeschool group. You know, the standard author-speaking-to-the-kids-thing. He very graciously agreed to come.
And when he did, he blew us all away.
He didn't pitch his books. He didn't tell us how cool he was. He told us his life's story. He spoke about how he almost died when he was 11 and how that shaped his perspective, how he confidently approached banks for a loan for his publishing company when he was in high school, and how he crushed his drawing hand (Dr. Strange style) in a car accident. He spoke of the audacious goals he attempted while his house was going into foreclosure, and many other things.
It is a remarkable story about a man who sees himself as the hero in his own story arc. And he helps you see yourself that way as well. As James finished his 90 minute speech, the kids were still entranced. (Kids! After 90 minutes!) So were their parents- it was remarkable. Then, he gave us all a copy of his book, Drawing Out The Dragons, which is a written version of the story he had just told. (See? Heart of gold.)
If you want to learn how to be the hero of your own life, you NEED to read Drawing Out The Dragons. Read it to your kids-it's a quick and easy read, but very profound. See what he has to say about hard things, confronting your fears, following your dreams, and about being true to yourself. Make sure you read the epilogue--and what "drawing out the dragons" REALLY means. As James says,
"If you think of your life as a story, then you can think of any grief or stress you might be experiencing as just a few pages- and anyone can get through a few pages. You are the author of your own story..."
Please don't mistake what I mean. When I talk about being the hero of your own story, or living an epic life, I don't mean that you prance around all day saying how great you are. Because heroes are humble- they don't do that. It also doesn't mean that you will be in the paper, or you will have a lot of money.
But this is what it DOES mean:
If we can do these things, then we are heroic indeed.
Question: What do YOU do to remind yourself or your children to see the big picture of life?
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