A few weeks ago, I had the unusual privilege of spending some time with my niece and nephew, who are ten and fifteen. Their parents were attending a conference in our city, so for two days in a row, the kids came over and hung out with us. They did a little school with us, learned how to make maple syrup, and occupied their littlest cousins while I helped the older ones with their schoolwork. While they were here, I never once had to stop a lesson to praise a Duplo masterpiece, wipe a nose, or remove a toddler from the table. It was a good couple of days.
We've been studying penguins, so on the second day, we brought them with us to observe the penguins at the zoo. Because of my no-electronic-devices-in-the-car policy, I had the chance for some good conversation with my nephew, too, which was wonderful, although it made me miss my own teenage son more than ever.
Anyway, after the zoo, I found myself in a circular McDonald's booth, in a sea of chicken nuggets and burgers and fries, surrounded by seven chattering children.
"Hey, Aunt Lisa," my nephew asked, "if you could have any three super powers, what would they be?"
Good question, I thought, but a bit of a no-brainer for me.
"I would want to be able to be Christ-like in every situation."
The kids pondered my answer, agreed that it could be considered a super power, and then quickly moved on to choosing their own. As the talking frenzy turned to invisibility and elasticity and the ability to shoot fire from fingertips or turn objects into gold, I sat quietly for a few minutes, thinking about what it would actually be like to be sinless. To flawlessly live out "Jesus" in every situation.
The true desire of my heart is to be like Jesus, and yet I fall incredibly short of His compassion, grace, mercy, patience, self-control, love and kindness. I wish it were as easy as rubbing a lamp and choosing my three wishes. I wish I could have my super-powers. But I've learned that the path to Christ-likeness is long and winding, full of trials and mistakes and heartache and pain. And then...a bit of ground gained. A bit of progress along the way, and indescribable beauty because of the sacrifices that progress required of me.
I will never be Christ-like in every situation, but I'm more Christ-like than I used to be. And each year, little by little and only by the grace of God, perhaps I'll gain a bit more ground. Perhaps I'll become just a bit more like Him.
"Aunt Lisa, what's your second super power?"
This one was tougher. "I think I'd like to be able to fly."
"Then maybe we could be on time for church!" one of my kids piped in.
"Ha, ha...very funny."
In all honesty, I doubt anything will ever make us on time for church, although I'm sure Jesus would be able to do it...and the ability to fly couldn't hurt.
In writing this, I'm realizing I got gypped out of my third super power! Without a doubt, I want the power to be able to convert calories eaten into exercise. Like eating a bowl of ice cream would count as running a mile, or something along those lines. Yes. That would be heavenly. What would your super powers be?