(Photo by Selma Komisky)
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Lessons Learned from The Little Mermaid
By Selma Komisky
“When’s it my turn?/Wouldn’t I love/Love to explore that shore above?/Out of the sea/Wish I could be/Part of that world.”
– Ariel, “The Little Mermaid”
Every time I watch “The Little Mermaid” I’d always say, “Wow, that was such a good love story between Ariel and Prince Eric.” And, this year in February, Disney’s colorfully animated classic celebrated its 30th anniversary as it was re-released on Blu-ray digital.
So of course, I popped some popcorn and got comfy and returned to this beloved magical film once again and this time besides the happily ever after love that occurs, I couldn’t help but emotionally connect when Ariel sang the iconic song “Part of that World” and gazed upward to the surface of the ocean. At that moment I caught on that Ariel had bigger dreams bursting inside of her that she was wanting to grasp way, way, before she met Prince Eric.
As the youngest daughter of King Triton who lived under the sea kingdom, Ariel is a spirited redheaded mermaid who is also brave, young , rebellious, spunky, determined, adventurous, curious, and most of all a dreamer. She loves life and wants more out of it, fascinated with life beyond where she lives. Ariel desires to be with the people and experience undiscovered places which reminds me how Jesus’ heart was to always to be with people.
Ariel also has a cavern filled with “thingamabobs” as she put it, which she enjoys showing her sidekick Flounder and seagull friend Scuttle all of her new found human treasures that she collects. But Ariel didn’t quite understand what they are used for. The little mermaid longs to be on land. She is dissatisfied with how her life is going and despite the obstacles she faced, she is passionate about achieving her dreams – giving up is not in her vocabulary.
Consequently, have you ever thought what are God’s dreams for you? What are the gifts and dreams He’s put out in front of you? This film made me think of how God has great plans for us. The Bible says in Jeremiah 29:11, “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”
In the Bible there were dreamers, just like Ariel. One young guy in particular was named Joseph and his story is found in Genesis 37:1-44. Joseph had a dream, and when he told it to his brothers, they hated him all the more because they were jealous of his dreams. Therefore, Joseph was thrust from the familiar to the unknown in Egypt when he is sold into slavery by his brothers. How scary must that have been? However, God knew the good plan He had for Joseph and nothing could stop it. As Joseph continued to trust God to fulfill his dreams, God blessed him and brought them to pass in his timing.
In turn, if you are truly seeking God, trusting in Christ, committing your way to Him, and waiting on Him, Scripture tells us He will answer. But God’s timing may not be our timing. When we are disobedient to our King Jesus, we end up in turmoil. Likewise, Ariel disobeys her father King Triton and wanders off up to the ocean’s surface seeing Prince Eric in trouble after a storm and rescues him. Now that wasn’t bad that she innocently helps someone in distress. It is however not good that she falls quickly, romantically and doesn’t think clearly. She goes by her emotions (her heart)like most of us do and makes a terrible choice in order to expedite her living on land to be with him. So, she goes on her own strength to visit Ursula the witch and gives away her voice in exchange for legs to stand on land.
Now Disney is infamous for using good characters that represent good versus evil in their movies. This too exists in the spiritual realm of Jesus Christ and Satan. Satan will do everything he can to confuse us — to suggest smaller dreams. So, he tries to bring distractions or obstacles or even temptations to derail us from the path of our dreams. Ariel also makes an impulsive choice and gives her voice away to the witch. Immediately Ariel gets the quick fix transformation, she loses her voice, and swaps her fins for legs. In the film you see she instantly struggles under the water to swim. Not knowing how to maneuver her new legs, Flounder and her crustacean friend Sebastian have to help swim her to the surface and to land.
Lesson One: Don’t Try to Bargain or Negotiate with The Enemy (Satan)
You will lose and pay the painful consequences when you do this. Ariel bargains with Ursula and signs her agreement on her contract giving Ariel three days for Eric to kiss her or else she’s Ursula’s prisoner forever. Instead of turning to our own devices, we need to pray and wait on God and ask for His direction and timing.
“What you think is the right road may lead to death.”
– Proverbs 14:12 (GNT)
Lesson Two: Expressing Yourself is Powerful
Ariel’s voice is more important than her body and this is what is truly powerful. The devil wants to silence your voice, knowing your passions are going to make a difference in this world. So, don’t let anyone silence you or diminish your dreams. God gives you your talents and you give Him the glory through your voice!
“We are pressed on every side by troubles, but not crushed and broken. We are perplexed because we don’t know why things happen as they do, but we don’t give up and quit. We are hunted down, but God never abandons us. We get knocked down, but we get up again and keep going.”
– 2 Corinthians 4:8-9 (TLB)
“Each time he said, ‘No. But I am with you; that is all you need. My power shows up best in weak people.’ Now I am glad to boast about how weak I am; I am glad to be a living demonstration of Christ’s power, instead of showing off my own power and abilities.”
– 2 Corinthians 12:9 (Living Bible Translation)
Lesson Three: Good overcomes Evil!
Through it all, Ariel regains her voice, Ursula is defeated, and her dreams are fulfilled when she is transformed into a human by her father, King Triton. As an added blessing, Ariel finds love and marries Prince Eric. Likewise, our Heavenly Father fights for us and gives us victory. He transforms our lives for good and knows the desires of our hearts. Be comforted that God desires to give us an abundant life in Him. Don’t give up when your long asked-and-sought-and-knocked-for prayers have not yet been answered yet.
“Delight yourself in the LORD, and He will give you the desires of your heart”
– Psalm 37:4 (ESV)
“Dear young friends, you belong to God and have already won your fight with those who are against Christ because there is someone in your hearts who is stronger than any evil teacher in this wicked world.”
– 1 John 4:4 Living Bible (TLB)
“For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”
– Matthew 6:21 (ESV)
“But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.”
– Matthew 6:33 (ESV)
So keep on singing and dream on!