My three young daughters are still big fans of the Disney movie Frozen. So the music is often floating around our house daily, with little girl voices belting out the lyrics and little feet twirling around the furniture. It’s amazing how quickly the words get stuck in my head and refuse to budge. But that’s not entirely bad.
If you sort of deconstruct some of the songs, there are defined messages buried within the music that are valuable for both the kids and adults who might be listening. Bear with me a little…
“The wind is howling like this swirling storm inside
Couldn’t keep it in, heaven knows I tried!
Don’t let them in, don’t let them see
Be the good girl you always have to be
Conceal, don’t feel, don’t let them know
Well, now they know!
Let it go, let it go
Can’t hold it back anymore.
“It’s funny how some distance
Makes everything seem small
And the fears that once controlled me
Can’t get to me at all!”
Can you identify with the character of Elsa at all here? Most likely not with the part of her that has magical freezing and living-snowman-creating powers, but the part of her that longed to get out of the world that someone else stuck her in? Away from the box that she had lived in for far too long, hiding her uniqueness in secrecy?
The locked doors that prevented her from being known by anyone were closed in fear as a failed attempt to protect her from harming someone else. But the doors did more than that.
If she blocked out everyone else and concealed her real emotions and the challenges that she encountered, Elsa’s powers were repressed but never gone. Her worry over revealing her true self, even the part of her that made her drastically different and uniquely special, only undermined her gifts and her ability to love and be loved. Just as she was.
In reality, these fears did nearly irreparable damage to her relationships with her family and her community, as well as to Elsa herself.
Living in fear and isolation is a breeding ground for anxiety and depression and even anger.
For Elsa, her freezing power intensified with her fear and mistrust of anyone who tried to help her, even her own sister who only continues to get harmed in her attempts to love Elsa unconditionally. What’s interesting in the story is that the only way to end the damage in their relationship and to heal the fear that fuels Elsa’s power is for love to take the place of fear.
How often is this true for you?
I am constantly battling fear and love, trust and mistrust, worry and hope. Constantly. And whether or not my struggle is rooted back in the 180 degree flip-flop of my background of abuse and mental illness, I would imagine that this war of emotions occurs for you too.
How can it not?
We are constantly bombarded by messages that breed fear. The news, social media, the weather forecasts even. It is almost impossible to find an escape from an unending bombardment of information that can push even the most stable of people to the edge of anxiety or despair when we look at a world that seems to be crumbling.
We watch “reality” TV shows for some distorted take on someone else’s scripted lives, perhaps because we hope for any reality that is other than that which we are already living or for a peek into a completely different world that we daydream about entering.
We read rags-to-riches stories on the off chance that maybe we have some long-lost lottery ticket under a mattress or some heirloom trinket in a back closet that will magically solve all of our problems without having to really trace back to the source of the issues.
We follow Instagram and Facebook snapshots into the lives of friends or celebrities, often in hopes of either finding that our realities really aren’t as whacked-out as we think they are or in awe of how someone else’s life just seems to meet society’s standards of perfection.
We listen to ceaseless volatility between politicians and analysts who use loudspeakers and public forums to blare destructive messages that continue to increase already tense racial relations, cultural or international wars, and religious uprisings.
We create petitions, websites, hashtags, and any other social media outlet available to openly flog and publicly fillet other people’s lives for their parenting techniques, food selections, Body Mass Indexes, fashion decisions, and any other bit of minutia that we can possibly pick on, just for the sake of intentionally or unintentionally bullying and causing pain.
We lock doors on the souls and secrets that we try to hide or protect the outside world from knowing us because we fear how we will be viewed or attacked, build blockades around ourselves that often mask our reality, so that we can present a warped but blissful view of our otherwise broken-mirror lives.
TO WHAT END??? What are we doing to ourselves and our world?! How is growing a culture of fear and falsehood and un-reality helping anything or anyone?
I don’t know of too many problems that have ever been solved by stirring in more fear, and thus oftentimes adding more anger and tension.
Go back to Elsa for a minute. The only way to combat the fears that controlled her was for her to love more than to fear. Her sister Anna even sings a song, albeit earlier in the movie, that Love is an open door. Although this particular song is a bubbly one about finding a love she thinks is real, the analogy of love as an open door is certainly appropriate.
Love is the only way to begin to unlock the doors of fear and tear down the barriers we’ve built up to insulate and isolate ourselves.
There is a growing necessity for all of us, collectively and not just individually, to recognize that we have to start seeing each other as flawed, broken people who mostly don’t know what we’re doing, trying to keep one foot in front of the other every day, not knowing where it may lead.
We have to figure out a way to dig deep and find love for those who are probably more broken than we realize, in places more hidden than we know, and who lash out from their broken places because they don’t know how to love or be loved.
Thus we perpetuate the cycle of fearing that which we do not know. Which again, is solving nothing and only making matters worse.
There cannot be fear in love. There just can’t.
1 John 4:7-21 nails this whole fearing and loving situation perfectly.
God is Love. Period.
We are not Love. We are often barely lovable, much less Love incarnate.
Yet we must love. Purely, simply, fearlessly love.
Because we are Loved by God. Because we cannot fear LOVE.
There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love. ~ 1 John 4:18
An example of loving fearlessly – the Preemptive Love Coalition. This organization is quickly becoming a favorite of mine. They do incredibly brave work, acting first in love instead of fear, in some of the most ravaged areas of the world. Providing life-saving heart surgeries for kids born in conflict zones and emergency relief for families victimized by ISIS, offering grants for small business owners and education for at-risk children in war-torn cities, and becoming peacemakers and policy counselors around the world.
Incredible, life-changing stuff. In the name of LOVE.
The Preemptive Love Coalition clearly states that there can be “No Fear in Love” and again that “[e]very day, you make choices that either sustain conflict or transform it.”
This isn’t just a mission statement by a nonprofit organization, this is firmly rooted in Scripture, whether or not PLC explicitly states it.
I’m not saying that we are all called to go to these lengths to give love. I am saying that Love is how we must start to approach each day, rather than with fear.
When we Love first, fear diminishes.
Love tears down walls, destroys misconceptions, abolishes anger.
Sometimes Loving first means taking little steps that become big leaps.
Love can no longer be an afterthought, the remnants left behind after the terror and fear have destroyed our hearts and souls. When there is nothing left to do but surrender.
We must love because we are given an overabundance of Love from God, who loves us unconditionally and immeasurably. If the God who allowed us to crucify His only Son could still love us after that, then what excuse do we have to not love too? And especially if you’re Christian, to not Love first in His name?
Love is an open door. Don’t let it close in fear.