What’s Your Kryptonite? What trips you up, gets you off-balance? Is it a relationship? Being around certain people? Your attitude or perspective? Jealousy? Competition?
Whatever it is, you’re not alone. We all have multiple disabling forms of kryptonite that seem to transform us and sap our power to represent God well in that moment.
Let’s look at how kryptonite affects Superman. According to CBR.com, green, the most common, kryptonite saps the power of Superman and all other Kryptonians. Red kryptonite turns Kryptonians evil and makes them look foolish and even insane. Pink kryptonite changed Superman to female. Periwinkle changed Superman’s appearance and made him desire only to disco dance with Lois Lane. Once the periwinkle kryptonite wore off, Superman would be embarrassed, but Lois sought to expose him to this kryptonite often as it was fun for her. This reminds me of so-called friends getting someone drunk to entertain themselves at the drunk person’s expense. All these and other kryptonites made the Superhumans vulnerable. With their superpowers weakened and funky new twists, they weren’t able to avenge evil in their usual high-powered fashion.
The effects of our kryptonites are similar in that we are weakened and vulnerable. That is why it’s valuable to honestly evaluate everything in our lives from interactions to motives and outcomes. We need to see what trips us up, so we can avoid potential damage.
Does your commitment to God and living His standard fly out the window when you are in a certain situation or around a certain person? If so, you’ve just accomplished step 1: identifying your kryptonite.
Step 2 is evaluating what typically happens in this situation or around this person. Do you get angry and let hurtful words spew from your mouth? Are you tempted by sinful pleasures? Understanding why this situation or person is a form of kryptonite for you is equally as important as identifying it.
Step 3 is distinguishing reality from personal perception: whether the problem is truly the situation or person or whether it is your attitudes and actions. If you typically sull up and seek to retaliate after critical quarterly evaluations at work, the problem is your attitude, not the evaluation nor your boss. Maybe your boss seems like a jerk with no heart, but it is still your job to follow through on his recommendations for how you can improve your job performance. It may seem that your kryptonite is the boss or the evaluation, but your most deadly kryptonite is your attitude.
Next, honestly evaluate if you experience similar trouble of confrontational feelings in other relational instances. Often it helps to ask other people if they notice these things. Don’t get mad when they tell you that you have a problem with ego, temper, etc. Take this knowledge and tuck it into your belt. By understanding that your problem isn’t just the other person not caring, you’ll be able to address what is actually making you weak. Equipped with this knowledge, you can avoid the kryptonite of self-preservation. God keeps us safe; we cannot preserve ourselves outside of Him.
Step 4 is to recognize whether this trigger situation or interaction is avoidable. Is this something you sought after but don’t have to maintain? In other words, do you have to be in this situation or interaction? Some situations are not avoidable, such as a boss’s evaluation at work. And no matter how insensitive a boss seems while giving your performance review, we all choose how we respond in that uncomfortable situation.
But let’s say the situation or interaction is something you sought to fit in or gain the attention of someone in particular. What are your motives? What are the potential outcomes? If it doesn’t align with how God directs us to carry ourselves and interact with others, stop it! You may not have a cool exit, but that’s not nearly as important as getting out intact before the kryptonite saps your power and renders you more vulnerable to sin.
What if your kryptonite seems to be the unfair criticism of a close family member? In this case, we benefit by focusing our attention on God in the relationship. If the relationship is with a parent or child, what is your God-given role? What does God’s Word say about that role? How does God say we should behave in our role?
This strategy has been a tremendous help to me personally as one of my kryptonites is criticism from a loved one with a warped frame of mind. I seek to honor God in this relationship but also know that anytime I let my guard down, I am subject to attack. I guess you could say that my real kryptonites in this particular situation are my need for approval and my transparency. Typically these things aren’t viewed negatively, but when they are the open door injury walks through, they are a type of kryptonite.
This doesn’t mean that we ought to live vaguely, falsely, and wall up against human relationships. Certainly we are created for living truthfully and connecting with others. However, it does mean that we are to be wise in recognizing patterns that may damage us, others, and our relationship with God. You cannot change another’s perspective, motives, or bad habits, but you can avoid being the victim by not casting information out there to be used against you by a misguided person.
This leads us to Step 5, guarding your heart to avoid the crippling effects of kryptonite. God’s Word tells us to guard our heart with good reason. If we are seeking acceptance, attention, or feel vulnerable or attacked, we are likely behave in a dishonorable fashion. We know that our battle is not against flesh and blood but against principalities and rulers of darkness and spiritual forces of evil (Ephesians 6:12). The person attacking us is just as much a victim being used by satan as a weapon against God.
We are instructed in Proverbs 4:23-27 to
“Keep thine heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.
Put away from thee a forward mouth, and perverse lips put far from thee.
Let thine eyes look right on, and let thine eyelids look straight before thee.
Ponder the path of thy feet, and let all thy ways be established.
Turn not to the right hand nor to the left: remove thy foot from evil.”
Just by this one portion of scripture, we know to guard our heart and not engage in offensive speech or behavior. If we know our kryptonite, we are better equipped to avoid situations which render us weak. We are to stay on track with an attitude and behavior that honors God, regardless. That can be tough when seeking acceptance or when being verbally attacked, but it remains our duty as representatives of the God who liberates us from such toxicity. We are not to engage in evil. We are to focus on God and not be distracted by anything around us. We all face attacks, and satan usually attacks through other people that offend or lure us. We must remember this and render satan powerless by not engaging in evil and by praying for the person satan tries to use against us.
To recap, identify your kryptonites. Understand how they affect you. As objectively as possible, be honest about what is the root of your kryptonites, and seek feedback from others. Evaluate if and how you may avoid your kryptonites. Guard your heart to render kryptonite powerless instead of the other way around.
In God, you are strong and able to resist the wiles of satan. You don’t have to become weak putty in certain situations or around certain people. God makes us all able to stand, and He expects us to do just that, in His strength, not our own (Ephesians 6:11-13).
For more on this subject, please read last week’s blog, “Perfecting Patience” and that of 6/26, “Always Ready for Battle.” They are just a scroll down the page. ;-)