Monthly Archives: September 2015

The Truth about Fairy-tales

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thought about Disney's FrozenA friend shared this picture on Facebook right about the time Frozen came out.  I have now watched the movie, and it tweaked my brain into thinking about some very interesting concepts.  For instance: being independent and without responsibility doesn’t constitute freedom; true freedom comes with relationship and loving.  But back to the point of what this image says.  The whole idea that women don’t need men actually started with Brave.  Deviating from their well-known fairy-tales, Disney’s message in Brave was, essentially, girl power – women are powerful, men are fools, and we don’t need each other.  (Yes, I was really disappointed, to say the least.)  There also seems to be this idea floating around that fairy-tales are “out” because they just aren’t applicable to “real life.”  But let me tell you that those are lies, and when I say that, I am completely serious.  Let me tell you why:

Fairy-tales are straight from the heart of God.

Now, before you think, “That is ridiculous,” allow me to explain.  There is nothing more “fairy-tale” than the Bible, the story of God’s passionate love for His people.  The idea of this fairy-tale love, this perfect, selfless, eternal love, is woven throughout the Scripture.  That is in fact the very foundation of God’s Word.  You think I am kidding?  There are whole books of Scripture devoted to portraying that love – Hosea and Song of Solomon, for starters – and God Himself is love (1 John 4:16).  By definition “fairy-tales” are something intended to deceive people, albeit in a pleasant way.  Why would fairy-tales be deceiving?  Because surely life can’t actually be like that….Or can it?  Fairy-tales are based on ideals, not on what is but on what should be and could be.  That is how God sees the world He made.  He sees what is but He longs for what should be, for His best plan to be manifest in the earth.  As Christians, we are enabled to see not only the one-dimensionality of life as it is but the fullness of life as it should be.  This is our view into eternity through the flawless lens of God’s goodness.  That is why recognizing the Fairy-tale Heart of God is so important.

Still, that is not the only facet of God’s Fairy-tale Heart.  Our so-called “fairy-tales” survive because, like any other lasting story, they have at their core a thread of truth.  Fairy-tales picture ideals for the roles of men and women, but I want to tell you that those are not just make-believe; they are part of God’s plan for every man and woman He has created.  Understand that we are not looking at the damsel in distress and the cocky hero as models; we are looking at the beautiful princess and the mighty warrior, because they display God’s heart for the roles of men and women.  This is not just about “falling in love” or some romantic fluff.  This is true for every man and every woman.  The gift of nurture and loveliness is ingrained in every daughter, the gift to empower the men in their lives to be strong and the women to walk in the gifts that bring the life and love of God into everyday situations.  The gift of strength and adventure is ingrained in every son, the gift to fight with boldness the battles that need to be fought, guarding the women in their lives with their strength and reminding the men to be strong and courageous.

I do not write this to promote fairy-tales, nor do I write blithely, pretending that every aspect of man-made fairy-tales is good for us to emulate.  Rather, I write for this reason: Every daughter is a lovely princess and every son is a mighty warrior.  To deny that is to deny the deepest God-breathed questions and longings of our hearts.  Do women have strength?  Of course.  Can men be nurturing? Most certainly.  But this is the deep attraction, the reason men and women need each other, not simply romantically but as friends, as brothers and sisters in Christ.  God created men and women to each bear a unique part of His image, and that is nothing to be ashamed of.  Instead, we should delight in it and use that knowledge to build one another up.  (Not sure about this?  Check out the books Wild At Heart and Captivating by John and Stasi Eldredge – they are eye-opening and will change the way you look at the sons and daughters around you and the way you see yourself.)

Why, then, I asked, is the fatal lie being spread that men and women don’t need each other?  This is what God whispered to my heart:

“People are rejecting My Fairy-tale as a deception.”

Can you feel the heart of God breaking in those words?  My own heart broke when He said it.  We are giving in to the lies and the brokenness; we are giving in to the pain of ruined relationships by putting up shields around our hearts and declaring that the masculine and the feminine have no place together, that we stay strong by staying separate (though we prefer the word “independent”).   But this is the fear talking; all we are doing is attempting to avoid experiencing further pain.  As Wesley told Buttercup in The Princess Bride, “Life is pain.”  Fairy-tales are not meant to deny that life can be painful but rather to show us what should be and can be.  Pain allows us to see new depths of love.  If we deflect the pain, we deflect the love as well.  Let us embrace with abandon the Fairy-tale Heart of God, who has lavished His matchless love upon us, His Beloved Bride.  He is alluring you; can you not hear?

“The Lord your God in your midst, the Mighty One, will save;  He will rejoice over you with gladness, He will quiet you with His love, He will rejoice over you with singing.”  (Zephaniah 3:17)

heart“There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love.”  (1 John 4:18)

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Live Wild

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Leopard's Leap at Oribi Gorge, South Africa - 2010

Leopard’s Leap at Oribi Gorge, South Africa – 2010

Fear is a peculiar thing.  It compels us to avoid “risk” and idolize so-called safety.  I had never thought of myself as a fearful person until I realized that I was allowing my life to be completely ruled by fear.  It was not a fear of heights or darkness or strangers; rather, it was a fear of not being in control.  Until my family moved to Africa in 2009, I had no idea that, in the quiet steadiness of my young life, I had never really had to give God complete control.  I was so un-free in my carefully controlled life that it pains me to think of it.  Yet, at the same time, I look at where God has brought me now, and I smile for all He has done in me.

Despite being someone who has moved twenty or so times, lived in multiple countries, and done all sorts of fascinating things, I never really liked adventure.  To my mind, “adventure” was synonymous with “uncertainty” – and that was something I couldn’t bear.  Adventure meant risking trust because I can’t be in control.  Adventure meant that things might be different than I’d hoped or planned.  Adventure meant adaptability.  And if I was one thing, I was unadaptable.  Was.

Now I can confidently and joyfully say that I love adventure.  It is still scary sometimes in that it holds the possibility for so many unknowns, but I am safe in the hands of the One who knows all.  Adaptability and flexibility are things I have been learning relentlessly over the past few years, and many of these moments have been exhausting and difficult for this list-loving, plan-making girl.

Lion kisses at the Lion and Rhino Park in South Africa

Lion kisses at the Lion and Rhino Park in South Africa

I still have those moments where I think I just can’t cope with not knowing precisely where this adventure will lead me – I even had some moments earlier this week!  But now that I have had a taste of this freedom, there is no going back.  I will live out this adventure with passion, my eyes fixed on my Lord, or I will not do it at all.  I can’t do it alone; I need the joy of the Lord to be my strength, and I need Him to be strong where I am weak.

A few weeks ago I told God, “I feel like I jumped off a cliff, and I can’t see the bottom.  Please catch me!”  And God in His gentle way replied, “Sweetheart, you never left my Hand.”

“The eternal God is your refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms…” – Deuteronomy 33:27 NKJV

I am discovering more each day that adventure is never a risk with God because He is both wholly sovereign and wholly good.  A life of adventure is not a life of ease – it is not a place for clinging to false security but rather for recognizing the trustworthiness of my God.  God alone is my safe place, and in Him I am free to live wild and love well.  He has freed me to fearlessly embrace the fullness of the adventure He has called me to.

In Christ, our freedom is given all at once but lived in over time.  It is the way of every great victory that the victors must learn to live in the fullness of what they have attained.  All too often we act like we are still captive to the fears that we were in before Jesus.  But that is the key: before Jesus.  Once we have received Jesus as our Lord and Savior, we are set free by the redeeming power of His blood.  This freedom is not merely a release from our sin nature; rather, it is an invitation to live in the fullness of the victory He has already won.

Ready for some fun on the ropes course with my cousins!

Ready for some fun on the ropes course with my cousins!

I went on my first zip line recently, but it didn’t seem very zippy – or very high.  It definitely needed more adventure.  I am laughing to myself as I contemplate this – I, the girl who was once unable to cope with unplanned situations, have become a lover of adventure with a desire to seek new things.  I still have much to learn about walking in this kind of freedom, but I am enjoying noting the outward manifestation of true heart-transformation.  The victory of Jesus at the Cross was total; fear and cowering no longer have a place in my life.  I am learning to be a thrill-seeker in the best sense, because, deep within my spirit, I know the truth is that there is only One who is wild enough to satisfy my craving for adventure.  Imbedded in the very core of who we are is an unquenchable longing for adventure because we are made in the image of our God, and our God is a God of adventure.  So no matter how diligently we try to squelch it or how wrongly we try to satiate it, our longing can only be satisfied in the One who is adventurous by nature.

Rich Mullins said, “God is a wild man.”  He went on to say that most of us would prefer a tame God who would always do the expected. But then again, that would be terribly dull – and terribly unlike the amazing nature of our God.  There is a difference between “wild” and “crazy.”  God is wild because He is untamable – utterly unconquerable.  Living adventurously is about living wild as our God is wild – not about doing crazy (i.e. dumb, thoughtless, insane) things.  Our God is a God of adventure, and He is calling us into a Great Adventure with Him.  Adventure is about a process – it is about the doing and the going.  To be fixated simply on “getting there” is to miss out on the beauty of what God is doing now.  We are called to live lives that are as wild and limitless as our God.

May His kindness release you to live wild and love well.  Be free, my friends!

If there is anything that has taught me to be flexible, it is being in the Teacher Education program. Thanks to Rachelle, my amazing professor for two years, who showed me every day how to embrace all the lovely, random moments.

If there is anything that has taught me to be flexible, it is being in the Teacher Education program. Thanks to Rachelle, my amazing professor for two years, who showed me every day how to embrace all the lovely, random moments.