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Life Lessons from Disney’s ‘Brave’
By Sheila Walsh
I had no idea how much I would love Brave. From the opening notes, I was carried back to my homeland of Scotland with the rolling hills and crystal lochs. The heroine, Princess Merida, is a feisty redhead. She’s not the typical Disney princess. She’d rather use a bow and arrow than a wand and is more at home on the back of a horse than seated on a throne. The central theme of the movie is one that’s easy to relate to: she wants to be allowed to be herself. There are so many rules to follow to become a perfect princess. For Merida, it’s a punishing list.
I thought about her story for a long time after that evening and realized that I had more in common with this Disney girl than my accent. I, too, lived with a punishing list of things I thought I needed to get right, not as a princess, but as a child of God.
I was cleaning out drawers the other day and found an old photograph under a roll of Christmas paper. I sat down on the sofa and studied the picture. I’m in a white dress and a graduation gown, 21-years-old, graduating from seminary. My hair is short and dark. It took about three years to recover from my experiment with a perm that looked like a pack of dogs had assumed my hair was lunch. In the photograph, I’m smiling, confident, ready to take on the world for Jesus. If I could go back and talk her, I’d tell her, “It’s okay not to be okay, I promise.” Would she have believed me? I don’t think so. She was determined to get everything right. My heart aches. There’s so much I’d like to tell her. “Moisturize your neck! You’ll thank me later!”
If I had only 10 minutes, I’d cut to the chase. I’d tell her this will not be the life she imagined. I’d tell her that she will disappoint people and they will disappoint her, but she’ll learn from it. I’d let her know that she’ll fall down over and over again, but rather than understanding the love of God less, she’ll get it more. I’d let her know her heart is going to break, but she’ll survive and it will change how she sees people––not as causes to be saved, but as people to be loved. I’d let her know that sometimes the night will get very dark, but she will never be alone, even when she’s absolutely convinced she is. I’d tell her to get rid of her punishing list of things she thinks she needs to get right. I’d tell her that on her good days and bad days she is loved, loved, loved!
I don’t know what kind of list you carry inside. I don’t know what negative messages you believe about yourself or where you feel you’re not okay, but I want you to know this––when God our Father looks down on us, He sees us through the finished work of Christ. You don’t have to hide who you really are. You don’t have to earn God’s love––you have it. That kind of love makes it possible to live the life you were born to live.
As Princess Merida said,
“Our destiny lies within us. You only have to be brave enough to see it.”