(warning, movie spoilers!!)
In Racer X like Jesus (Part 1), I shared how you can hear from God in unexpected places: timely counsel from a neighbor, that special song in the store, the wisdom of your kids, the breeze on your skin.. I got unexpected lessons from Frozen (5 Lessons I didn’t See Coming), so an encounter in Speed Racer should’ve been no surprise.
But once your spiritual antennae are up, movie dialogue touches deeper than simple script. Here were 6 gems I pulled:
- “Stop steering and start driving”
Little Speed is racing the Mach 5 from his brother Rex’s lap. He feels the car shimmy while whirling of the track and gets nervous– “what do I do?!” he cries. Rex responds coolly, “stop steering and start driving.”
How many times do we steer our lives instead of driving?
We can be so careful to avoid wrong turns or (much needed) pitstops and can quadruple guess every move we make. Anxiety, depression and burnout can creep in, so how freeing would it be to Let Go and drive a bit?
It might seem impossible and we may not even know how to do it anymore, but a good start is knowing God doesn’t want us to worry about a thing. We’re encouraged, warned almost, to take a chill.
“Don’t worry about tomorrow.. tomorrow will worry about itself” – Jesus
2. No Sacrifice, no matter how small, is missed by God…
Speed is about to break a record held by his now “deceased” brother, Rex. As he chases his hero’s shadow, the viewer knows Speed will win, but just before the finish line he releases the gas. The record stands and Speed beams with pride.
Speed set aside his own glory to maintain that of his brother. Anything we do for others, be it a diaper change, a held tongue, or even giving someone a cup of water, is seen by God* (see eg Mark 9:41). What’s more–it matters. And we don’t do it to be seen or for some future reward, but simply because Love compels us (2 Corinthians 5:14).
Beautiful segment. Watch from 1:55 when Speed realizes he’s racing against the record of his brother, Rex. *Note, there are flashbacks to Speed as a child watching Rex (driving the red Mach 4) make that record.
3. You Are Destined to be The Best
After Speed wins the race, a woman from the VIP Box notes, “he’s going to be very good.” A man, whom we later find out is Racer X, or Rex, responds: “No. He’s going to be the best….. if they don’t destroy him first.”
I believe the same is true for us–Greatness. I’m not talking about being better than anyone else–Never!–but our own, unique, never-before and never-to-be-repeated selves. We may focus on our spin outs and failures but God sees Victory Lane. Do you ever feel defeated or crushed in spirit? You have greater strength and power in your God-given DNA than you could dare dream. We are God’s beloved Sons and Daughters, One-and Only’s, Divine, even, in the end, Equals (1 John 3:2)
(*if this last concept challenges you, consider the cited verse, and consider also your own children if you have. Ask yourself: Do I have more value than they? Am I a better human than they are? Heck No. God calls us Co-Heirs and Friends… )
4. Destroy the Darkness
Racer X fights a network of greed that has corrupted the heart of the race industry. It’s not unlike the world today where people can be consumed with possessions over the plight of fellow man, woman, child, even creation.
But Love (and God is Love) doesn’t sit on the side lines of suffering. She gets in the mess and activates. What breaks your heart? That may be the thing you were born to destroy…
5. What is your passion? Fight for it!
At the start of the film we see little Speed sitting in class, bored out of his mind, struggling to complete a test. He can only think of racing and his hero brother Rex, and between daydreaming and doodling, he bubbles a shout out:
What’s on your heart? Where is your passion? Is it cooking, crafting, helping others, or hanging with grandkids? Maybe you’ve been so oppressed by the 9-5 grind you don’t even know it or feel it anymore. Maybe your “thing” seems weird to others. Imagine if Red didn’t show up in the rainbow because she wasn’t Yellow…
Take time to find and nurture your thing, and, assuming it’s not hurting you or anyone else, Rock It! Lack of time or resources may stifle you, but don’t give up. Your dream, your heart, your passion is needed in this world!
6. Keep Going, Don’t Stop
In one dark scene, Speed is distraught after being gamed by the system he was fighting and he’s ready to quit driving all together when Racer X shows up.
How many times have you questioned your role in the “race,” or if you should keep racing at all?
God, like Racer X, doesn’t give all the answers we long for, but maybe that’s because we only believe what we discover for ourselves…
Speed asks why he should keep driving, and Racer X, not unlike Jesus, replies:
“that’s for you to figure out— and when you do, I hope I’m there to see it…!”
When it comes to our Identity and reason for living, these things can’t be told to us. They must awaken in our hearts. Sure we can read about our divine heritage and flawless, shame-less, guit-less, unconditionally-loved selves, but at some point we have to start believing it in our hearts, not just our heads.
Little Rodney didn’t want to sing because his song was so different from other birds…turns out he had hip-hop in him. Enjoy this little story!
We were all made to drive in this crazy race at this crazy time on earth, and we are destined to Win. Don’t give up. You matter. Show Up. BElieve in YOUrself.
*I use He/His as a simple pronoun for God but recognize God with male and female “identity” (for lack of a better word). This is evidenced in the bible and through humanity itself. See my 2-part post, Transgender God, for more.
More encouragement to be who You are?Check:
–Stay the Same or Show Up?–a quick free write from a one-word prompt: “Same.”
–Are you the Black Sheep? God Gets you.
–You are God’s One and Only (from the reference of my kid picking random stones from the floor and describing them to me–I just see stones, but he sees each individual one…
Video Credit: The Songs Birds Sing, from Brad Montague, creator of the super wonderful and inspiring Kid President.