Impatient Hero

Anakin Skywalker can be considered a hero right? I mean in the end he was able to do something pretty amazing, defeat evil. Wow! Pretty awesome huh?! But, he struggled with many things, he had faults and he made a TON of mistakes. One of the things that he struggled with was patience. Most of us have heard a sermon based on the Bible passage that discusses the fruits of the spirit. Galatians 5:22-23 states, “But the fruit of the spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self control.”

Anakin didn’t feel like the Jedi council was giving him the opportunities he thought he deserved on the time line he thought they needed to be on. Because of this he began listening to someone who kept Anakin thinking that the council was indeed passing him up for a reason. Of course we know what happens there. Obi Wan told Anakin -the last time they talked before he turned into Darth Vader- that he needed to be patient and that one day he will become a Jedi Master. He just needed to be patient. Being patient can be tough and it takes the other fruits of spirit to make it work.

This week my patience was tested in handling my daughter’s nervousness about her ballet class, something she had been looking forward to for over a month. While there she was too nervous and overwhelmed to dance with the other kids and she would tell us that she thought it was too hard, so she didn’t even try. She has this attitude with other things when they get too hard like, reading, Mario Kart, and board games. We keep encouraging her in all those situations because we don’t want her give up on herself. I knew that if she just tried she would like it and probably be pretty good.

So everyday we drove the 15 minutes to a near by town, so she could sit there and do nothing. And everyday we would tell her that she could do it if she tried. Boy howdy, let me tell you it took a LOT of patience! Mommy wasn’t really enjoying getting up early, getting two kids out the door, and driving 15 minutes everyday so she could sit there. When Friday came I wasn’t even sure if I wanted to go, but I had a sitter lined up for my son and I didn’t want to give on my daughter. On the way there I kept telling her she could do it and she did! She danced and she was pretty good, on top of that she had fun. Guess who was there to see patience pay off? Darth Vader himself (that is her stuffed Darth Vader) and he was so proud of his favorite girl.

Patience isn’t easy but so worth it when it pays off. Anakin struggled with patience in the same way that we all do. Don’t give in to impatience and take the short cut. Anakin did that and lost any opportunity to be a Jedi Master. If I had taken that short cut I wouldn’t have seen my daughter dance and seen her so proud of herself. Little did we know then that, less than a year later she would be performing a solo on stage for the dress rehearsal for her second recital.

Let your actions be fruitful and as Galatians 5:25 says “Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the spirit.”

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Who is your Darth Vader?

Oh Anakin, think of all the wonderful things he could have accomplished had he not been led astray. Sure he had anger, fear and doubt but don’t we all. In 1 Corinthians 15:33 it says, “Do not be misled, bad company corrupts good character.” Anakin had some bad company, very bad. All of Anakin’s foolish thoughts were encouraged by Palpatine, he even egged him on to get him to be what he needed him to be. What Anakin really needed and had in Obi Wan and also Padame, were people who cared enough about him to tell him the truth, even if it was hard for him to hear. He -could have- benefited more from the things he needed to hear, rather than the things he wanted to hear.

I believe we all have our own Darth Vader, everything in us that is not good, everything that goes against God’s best for our lives. Remember Galatians 5:22-23? Darth Vader isn’t exactly the “poster child” for the fruits of spirit. Anakin’s Darth Vader was after power, blind to the costs. My Darth Vader wanted control, specifically control of my family’s love and attention. Just as Palatine focused on Obi Wan as the main threat, the enemy focused on my mother-in-law. I was led to believe that she was standing in way of receiving my husband’s and daughter’s love and attention. In the same way that Anakin was led to believe that Obi Wan (and the Jedi) were standing in the way of his quest for power (and respect).

Without realizing it I was putting a wall between me and my family just as Anakin was putting a wall between himself and the Jedi. I was blessed to have good company (that I listened to) to help lift the wall, restore my relationship with my mother-in-law and save my relationship with my husband and daughter. In the end Anakin didn’t let his Darth Vader win, Palpatine said it himself that the Jedi are relentless, and thankfully so. I didn’t let my Darth Vader win and you don’t have to let yours win. We are precious sons and daughters of the one true King, take hold of that relentless spirit that will keep your Darth Vader at bay.

Anakin was better than his Darth Vader, I am better than mine and you are better than yours. Slipping down the path of darkness is something that doesn’t take a whole lot of advanced planning, its pretty easy to just start doing it. There nothing awesome about being Darth Vader, I’m reminded of a quote from Friends something Rachel says, “Yesterday I really felt like I hit rock bottom, but today its rock bottom 50 feet of crap and then me.”  That is were Anakin sits when he is Darth Vader, buried under the weight of his choices. He lost everything that was important to him, his position with the Jedi, his friendship with Obi Wan, his wife, and the chance to parent his children. Whatever it seem that could be gained or fixed by listening to the enemy, its not worth it.

Who is your Darth Vader? What could he be after? Be mindful and alert for bad company truly does corrupt good character.