There are a million reasons why I love the animated movie Frozen.
Firstly, Let it Go is the greatest song of all time. YES. Well. Not officially. But its pretty phenom.
Secondly, its the first animated Disney movie directed by a woman (and their highest grossing animated movie to date). What an interesting coincidence.
Thirdly, its about sisterhood. In the process of scripting the movie, Disney Animation convened a “Sister Summit”, at which women from all over Disney Animation who grew up with sisters were asked to discuss their relationships with their sisters, to fully explore the unique dynamics of the kind of relationship that would become the core of the film’s plot. How freaking cool is that?
But mostly, the reason I am in love with this movie is because of what it shows us about love and fear. You kind of need to have seen the movie to get some of what I want to say, so just go quickly watch it right now.
Ok. (spoiler alert)
Elsa is so afraid of hurting people she loves, that her fear makes her distant and cold and ultimately it is her fear that freezes everything. And what causes her to thaw the frozen summer? Her love for her sister. Perfect love casts out fear.
Not only this, but when Anna’s heart is accidentally frozen, she is told that only “an act of true love” can save her life. She, along with all of us, thinks this is going to be a kiss from Hans (who is so NOT her true love) or from Kristoff (obvs the right guy). But it is neither. It is in fact Anna’s own act of true love in giving her life for her sister that causes all the frozenness in her own heart to thaw, and the fear in Elsa’s heart to disappear. Perfect love casts out fear.
I love this plot twist. Finally, a Disney movie where WOMEN DON’T NECESSARILY NEED A MAN TO RESCUE THEM. What a refreshing theme change for all the I’m-a-helpless-princess-who-needs-to-be-rescued movies that our strong young daughters are constantly bombarded with! But that’s a blog for another time.
Back to the love and fear thing.
Last week, I wrote a blog about being brave. I didn’t get a chance to really dig into it because not even my mom wants to read a million word long blog, but mostly because I was in a coffee shop and I really need to pee. So I kind of rushed it to go the loo. Writing a blog is hard, guys.
Last week, I wrote a blog about being brave, and I felt it stopped short of really saying what I wanted to say. So here is what I am learning about being brave…
Every single one of us would like to live a beautiful story (like Frozen. Or at least have a soundtrack like Frozen. Or just Elsa’s awesome plaited hair. Do I sound like an 8 year old? I digress.)
Every single one of us would like to live a beautiful story. And what makes a story great? I once heard someone say that all good stories involve someone who wants something and overcomes conflict to get it. That is what makes a great story. There is no story without the conflict. There is no beautiful without the brave.
When we face the pain of life with bravery, our story starts to sound different. Our lives start to sound different. Instead of life being busy, tired, painful, complicated, difficult or frustrating, life can be courageous, daring, bold, adventurous and valiant.
But here’s the kicker…be brave means facing the pain. And when we face pain or conflict – we feel fear.
Fear makes us freeze. We tense up. We get cold.
And when you are tense, you feel more pain. Knowing there is more pain makes us afraid. So we clench our fists and tighten our jaws and, you guessed it…we feel more pain. Dr William Sears calls it the fear-tension-pain cycle. Apparently it happens a lot when you’re like, having a baby, or something.
So how do we get rid of fear?
We lean into the pain. (Please go visit Sarah Bessey’s blog because its awesome and talks about this so well).
Instead of fighting it and resisting it, we accept it. We embrace it. And we feel the tension released.
It’s kind of like a good massage.
So how do you lean into the pain?
For me, leaning into the pain means stop pretending you’re ok. It means stop longing for it to be easy. It means stop, actually in general, just stop. At our church on Sunday morning, I was thinking about these things during worship. And then we started singing a song that has these lyrics:
I’m wide awake, drawing close, stirred by grace
And all my heart is yours
All fear removed, I breathe you in, I lean into
It’s all there. It’s all true. His perfect love casts out fear. (OMG. LIKE IN FROZEN. Can you see why I like that movie? Even Jesus likes that movie, I’m telling you.)
Fear is removed when we lean into pain, because in that space of pain we find Jesus’ love. I don’t always like the church – even though I worked at one for many years. I definitely don’t like every Christian I’ve met. But I like Jesus. He understands love. He understands fear. He understands pain. Do you know that Jesus said “Follow me” 15 times in the Scriptures, and 14 times straight afterwards he says something about how painful it will be? Its like he knew – life is going to be painful. And there are two options: you can do it on your own. Or you can follow me through the pain. (P.S Spoiler alert – following him helps). So when fear starts to grip me, I read or I pray or I listen to songs that remind me about Jesus. And the cycle breaks. One of the greatest joys of my life of my life is unlearning how to be a good Christian and learning how to be a good follower of Jesus.
You can listen to that song here. It’s beautiful.