Benj is impressive. He asks the questions you know you should have asked, just after he asks them. Those deeply thought-provoking questions. The ones that get to the real problem you are trying to solve. The questions which challenge the assumptions you didn’t know you were making.
“What is my superpower?” I asked.
He said, “I don’t know you well enough to tell you that.” Then he said, “Wait.” He bowed his head and closed his eyes and went silent. It looked like he was thinking deeply. But then I realized he was praying. He was asking the Holy Spirit of God to reveal to him my superpower.
When I realized what he was doing, I closed my eyes and started praying. I was asking God to reveal His answer so Benj could tell me. He was silent for over a minute, which seemed like an eternity.
He looked me in the eyes and said, “You use your assets, experience, and wisdom to encourage others. Does that sound right to you?”
The World of Two Charlies
“It does sound right to me, but it also sounds wrong,” I said. “Your experience with me is as an encourager. Others would agree.
“But there are some I’ve worked with who would disagree. And not like disagree a little, but disagree with emotion. Sort of a ‘Hell, no. No way is that guy an encourager. He is a discourager. When I meet with him, he brings me down, way down.’” My vehemence surprised myself.
“That’s interesting because I’ve never experienced anything but encouragement from you,” he said.
Who Controls Your Power?
After leaving the Syrup offices, I kept thinking about this superpower idea. I knew he was right, but why doesn’t everyone see me this way. Why do some people see me the opposite way? Why?
There is biblical truth in Benj’s superpower concept. God made us unique and imbued us with these superpowers. They are like reflexes for us. But my experience is that they can be used for good or evil depending on who is in control.
The superpower is either controlled by God or me. When God has it, I am an encourager. When I control it, I am a discourager. God gave me the superpower to use for His glory. And God is good. He, therefore, wants me to use it for good.
But sometimes I take control. Why? Because it is difficult for me to encourage someone if I believe they are headed in the wrong direction.
When Attack Charlie Takes Over
Instead of encouraging them into what I think is the right direction, I attack. I begin asking questions. Questions which become more and more personal. If I don’t get the answers which will move the person back on the right path, I go deeper, and the questions get harder and more specific. They become downright caustic. The result of this behavior is distance, separation which leads to broken relationships.
To use the superpower I was given by God, I must be submitted to God. I don’t know what He is doing in the other person’s life. The choices they are making might be right for them even though I disagree. But who am I disagreeing with, the person I am talking to or God?
- What superpower has God given me?
- How do I use it for good?
- When do I use it for evil?