I am participating in a compilation devotional project. Each author has chosen a fantasy author or popular book series and will write devotionals based on those. I chose “The Maze Runner” series. Below is one of the devotionals included in my selection:
Everybody Needs a Chuck
What’s the difference between humility and self-deprecation? Can an audacious someone also be humble? And in the Maze Runner, why did Thomas care so much about Chuck?
Think of the famous warriors we study from the stories of old – the legends, the rulers, the patriots, the freedom fighters – and what picture do you draw? What adjectives would you provide to describe them? Bold. Fierce. Strong. Valiant. Brave. Would you ever say, “humble”? Would that be a first-word choice?
Humility has four definitions:
- Not proud or arrogant; modest
- Having a feeling of insignificance or inferiority
- Low in rank, importance, status, quality; lowly
- Courteously respectful
Humility shows up all over the place in the Bible. Deuteronomy 8:2-3 reminds, “Remember that the Lord your God led you on the entire journey these forty years in the wilderness, so that He might humble you and test you to know what was in your heart, whether or not you would keep His commands. He humbled you by letting you go hungry; then He gave you manna to eat, which you and your fathers had not known, so that you might learn that man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord.”
We find our true selves in times of trouble. God provides these opportunities to let us see who we are and who we can be. He also allows us to see his provision as our Shepherd. He allows us to see what we can be and whose we are. He loves us enough to allow us to become stronger; and remember he’s there with us the entire time. This builds our reliance on him, teaching us those hard-learned, hard-earned lessons of trust, faith, and humility.
The Jews for Jesus website offered a unique take on the idea of humility. “In the Bible, the most common word group displaying the meaning of humble uses the related words ‘ani’ and ‘anav’. ‘Ani’ usually denotes a condition of circumstance. Those who are ‘ani’ are suffering or afflicted and as a result find themselves in a lowly condition, whether physically, materially or socially. This affliction is often imposed by someone else: usually, the wicked…There is a related verb, ‘anah’ (to “humble”) that not only refers to what one might do to one’s enemies but also to what one does to oneself as a spiritual practice or what God uses to bring about repentance (Deuteronomy 8:2-3)… Often, being an ‘ani’ in circumstance leads to being an ‘anav’ in character…The difference between the two is that the ‘ani’ is needy and must depend on God to meet his or her needs; the ‘anav’ is humble because he or she has chosen to depend on God. The first is circumstantial; the second is a mark of character.” (Rich Robinson)
Part of the plot of Maze Runner was that the boys in the Glade were gifted, and placed intentionally within the program to see which of their attributes would be the perfect, precise mix of abilities to survive despite the worst odds. The boys’ memories were wiped, and they were planted with specific drops of memories to attend the Glade with them, along with new names. The names were given based on historical people of influence.
“So…Thomas,” [Chuck] said through a huge bite of mashed potatoes. “Who am I nicknamed after?”
Thomas couldn’t help shaking his head–here they were, about to embark on probably the most dangerous task of their lives, and Chuck was curious where he’d gotten his nickname. “I don’t know, Darwin, maybe? The dude who figured out evolution.”
“I bet no one’s ever called him a dude before.” Chuck took another big bite, and seemed to think that was the best time to talk, full mouth and all. “You know, I’m really not all that scared…I mean, last few nights, sitting in the Homestead, just waiting for a Griever to come in and steal one of us was the worst thing I’ve ever done. At least now we’re taking it to them, trying something” (324).
Chuck was not well-liked among the Gladers. He was not on the council, he was not a leader, he did not draw the crowds in with his star personality and ruggedly handsome good looks. Chuck did not seem to belong in The Glade. Newt adapted well, ready to try ideas, a friend to the willing, and courageous in his tasks. Minho followed orders, used his strength and perseverance to run his course, and obviously had a memory of stone, capable of learning and memorizing in a snap. Thomas had his audacity, his willingness to run farther and faster, and his loyalty. And Chuck? Chuck was a bit clumsy, a bit annoying, and scared. He wasn’t quick. He wasn’t quick-witted. He waited for instructions. He lacked leadership capability. He lacked skill; he picked up the trash.
But Chuck was Thomas’ friend when everyone else looked away.
Chuck believed in Thomas from the start.
Chuck believed life could and would be better.
Chuck gave Thomas a reason to want to survive. Chuck inspired Thomas to take the hard steps, because Chuck was worth helping.
Perhaps Chuck’s greatest gift was his humility. His meekness. His simplicity. He didn’t require perfect people and circumstances; he didn’t demand more from others; he didn’t seize attention and commodities. He did his job. He stayed the course. He took courage when necessary.
“Chuck’s pudgy face was there, staring with frightened eyes. But then they lit up and a smile spread across his face. Despite it all, despite the terrible crappiness of it all, Chuck smiled” (298).
So you see, we all need a Chuck. We need a friend who can smile even during the grievances. When the grief comes, where’s your Chuck? Are you Chuck?
Let’s go back to those four definitions of humility:
- Awareness of smallness
- Awareness of rank
- Courteously respectful
Humility is not simply lacking in pride; humility is not simply thinking less of self. Humility has many layers. Humility has a lot of intention. Modesty protects; smallness realizes bigness of others; rank recognizes there are those above and those below; and courteous respect treats all with dignity. Humility serves the leader in his power so that he sees the significance of each member of his tribe. Humility serves the follower in that he knows his worth.
Charles Darwin was known as a leader in the scientific community of his day; he was the man who made popular the idea of, “survival of the fittest.” The Creators of the Maze must have seen in Chuck the necessary characteristics to inspire warfare and survival. They understood what made humans motivated the most: life and love. They saw in Chuck this ability to befriend and build up, a scarce commodity in times of trouble.
In these days where almost everyone has a platform and the opportunity to make a staunch position, sometimes the best is the calm, quiet one. Being willing to accept that every leader follows another reminds even the smallest of us that the quiet smile serves as inspiration for even the most courageous of hearts. We all need a Chuck at our side in the halls of the maze. We all need a Chuck to follow along. We all need a Chuck to inspire us to lead.
Even if you’re the Thomas, or the Newt, the Minho, Teresa, or even the Gally…everybody can be a Chuck. He’s a gift. A rather scarce commodity. And one of the most valuable of them all.
*** Follow @kadeecarderink on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter, to see updates on when this devotional book releases. Each devotional of my selection has application questions for you to dive in to your own maze running abilities
Hey, Kadee! Thank you so much for those thoughts. And thank you for being back on my blog today. First, I want to ask about the inspiration behind your book series.
The particular book I am offering for a giveaway today is called, “Kingdom Come,” which is a non-fiction inspirational book I wrote almost simultaneously with my fifth science fiction adventure, “Earthshine.”
Through the multi-year process of writing my five-book series, I experienced every emotion a human can endure, and most of them were the dramatic ones – rejection, frustration, depression, the cliché blood, sweat and tears, betrayal, loneliness, and fatigue.
The book industry is a challenging one. As Moriah Peters wrote it, “No one ever told me / This would be easy / But I never knew / That it could be this hard.” So as I found myself stumbling, questioning what I had spent about ten years working toward, I did some seeking. I took several mindset course, spent many hours praying, walking in the sunshine, and “Kingdom Come” is the result of the questions I asked in the darkness.
“Earthshine” tells the story of Saylor getting back up again, while “Kingdom Come” is the guidebook to the mindset we need when we are required to rise from the ashes.
I don’t have all the answers—we each have a unique journey—but I think “Kingdom Come” will serve as a field guide for anyone going through trials of their own. It digs into the lies we tell ourselves, embracing the truth, and deciding to be an overcomer despite all odds.
I love this idea…of a parallel journey almost, between you and your Saylor character. You’re right, this whole writing/publishing/marketing journey is not for the faint of heart.
When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?
I worked as an office manager at a church after college. I enjoyed the job but also felt like something was missing as I folded bulletins, placed offering envelopes in chairs, and checking off role sheets.
I started a blog and complained on it A LOT and one of my friends noticed my struggle. She simply told me to read the book, “Walking On Water,” by Madeleine L’Engle. I did, and the book changed how I viewed my life.
I decided to get my Master’s Degree, and when I saw that Creative Writing was an option, it’s like I came awake for the first time. Poetry began to flow out of me, stories began to take shape, and I realized I could do the things my heart ached to do, starting one step at a time.
Now I teach English at Liberty University online, I am a fitness instructor at my local gym, I have written five amazing adventure books, and I write articles for the local school district.
I get to tell stories of underdogs, I get to help others become stronger, and I get to help others communicate better. Words and writing make life sparkle for me; I just had to find the outlets for it that suited me and that required some heartbreak in the process.
I love this story about your journey to where you are now! Can you tell us something about your newest release that is NOT in the blurb.
I took the photo on the cover of Kingdom Come. My husband and I like to take the week of the Fourth of July to go hiking in the mountains. One year we went and explored Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming.
This staircase showed up along a trail, so visitors could view the waterfall from a clear spot, and as the sun meandered through the sky, dwindling over the mountaintops, the peacefulness of it all registered in me. I wanted to remember that moment of adventure, peace, and hope forever. This earth, this life, truly is our kingdom come.
As I worked with editors on the cover choices, looking at stock photos and trying different elements, this photo continually won the choice. It’s a little gritty, it’s authentic, it’s taken from a place of exploration, which captures the heart of “Kingdom Come.”
Thank you again, Kadee, for being on the blog…for your sharing your devotional post and for answering a few of my questions. Now, I’ll let my readers get a look at Kingdom Come and Earthshine!
Opt in for an adventure to discover purpose, tenacity, and to build your empire. Are you stuck? Questioning your purpose? Are you tired, broken, and hurting in the stale crumbs of the daily grind? Even the most ordinary of humans can do impossible things. The elements of storytelling are tools to help us understand our purpose and to build a life greater. Here we discover the three protocols every hero satisfies in order to fulfill the mission. You’re the hero in your own story. Transforming into the hero may be the most difficult thing you’ve ever done, but it will be the best thing you’ve ever done. Within these pages, discover the ultimate objective in understanding and experiencing the combined unity of these three tools in your hero story. Get ready to travel the vast horizon of the hero plot line and forge new paths toward your legacy.
Enjoy an Excerpt
Crucible: a situation of severe trial, or in which different elements interact, leading to the creation of something new (Merriam-Webster.com). What’s your crucible? Are you there?
My kids and I dove into a Bible story the other day, where God rescued his people from Pharaoh’s impending doom. He’d rescued them from slavery in Egypt, and Pharaoh allowed them to leave captivity. The people left, headed home, facing days and nights in the hot desert, following a pillar of fire toward the unknown. They ended up on the sands of the Red Sea, a body of water flowing for miles in both directions. And then Pharaoh and his 600 men and their raging chariots raced to recapture them. The Israelites freaked out then, as I think most of us would. They projected their fear, they cried, they whined. And God replied, “Why are you crying out to me? Tell the Israelites to move on. Raise your staff and stretch out your hand over the sea to divide the water so that the Israelites can go through the sea on dry ground” (Exodus 14:15-16).
Essentially, God told Moses to tell the Israelites they couldn’t go over it. They couldn’t go under it. They couldn’t go around it. They had to go through it. And to stop whining.
Just like the classic picture book of “We’re Going On A Bear Hunt,” the adventurers had to face a challenge bigger than they understood.
You, oh incredible wayfarer, will face challenges bigger than yourself and bigger than you understand. It’s the plight of mankind. It’s your job. Don’t ask, “Why isn’t this easier?” Ask instead, “How can this make me better?”
The good thing about these challenges is that they make us into our best selves. Challenges aren’t just part of the story; they’re the story.
Fear may be a liar, but hope can be a monster.
Saylor single-handedly saved the world from a devastating solar flare…and it nearly killed her. Now her father’s Alliance Military Guard must track down pirated tech, missing ships, and a rogue billionaire, and they’ve requested a reluctant Saylor’s help.
Tucker spent a year training the rookie Guardsmen. They call themselves Dragons. He calls them defiant. Dispatched across the ocean on a mission to retrieve AMG’s bootlegged tech, he rallies Saylor to overcome her fears and return to the field by his side.
Working together wielding unprecedented tech and determined to defy their destinies, the two wrangle missing ghosts, brunt force betrayal, and the swagger of power. What lies beneath the earth just might save it.
Standing on top of the world changes a person. So does dying.
Earthshine will be $0.99 from May 31st – June 7th!!!!
More About the Author
Fierce yet sparkly, Kadee rallies seekers to thrive in their stories. The goal is magic, the medium is ink, and the fuel is coffee. And sometimes pizza. Kadee teaches English on the university level when she’s not dancing around the living room with her family, lifting heavy at the gym, traveling the planet, or binging superhero shows.
INSURRECTION, INCOMPLETE, INDELIBLE, HERE BE DRAGONS, EARTHSHINE and non-fiction inspirational KINGDOM COME roll out perilous motives, twisty plots, and daring protagonists. Grab some real estate and your copy of my latest adventure and follow along on KadeeCarder.com.
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I’m giving away a free, empowering e-book to those who subscribe to my email list at kadeecarder.com/subscribe. Titled IGNITE, the 60-page book offers a serving of inspiration, a dash of hope, and a cup of grace to help you get kickin’ on those challenging tasks you’ve got to do!
Kadee is offering a print copy of Kingdom Come to one winner (in the continental United States). Please follow the directions on the Rafflecopter below.a Rafflecopter giveaway