Strength in Freedom

My favorite line in the Cinderella movie that recently came out went something like this: the hardest thing for anyone to face is letting the person you love most see who you really are. Cinderella had to show her prince that she was a servant girl and not a princess. I know how she must have felt, except I’m not revealing my servanthood to anyone. I would be revealing my heart.

A lot of people have reacted negatively to Disney’s portrayal of Cinderella this time around. I’m really not someone who likes to be on a soapbox about movies. But I do get frustrated when people criticize personalities. There was a version of Cinderella that everyone raved about, Ever After. The heroine was not a weakling. She was not a damsel in distress. She could save herself. Comparing that interpretation to the more recent adaptation, the two heroines could not have been more different. Ella was too kind and allowed herself to be stepped on. She was a damsel in distress, although she wasn’t waiting for a man to save her from her situation. She needed to be saved from her situation because she wouldn’t save herself. People boo Ella and praise Danielle. But can I be honest? I don’t want to be either, but if I had to choose, I would choose to be Ella. Kindness is a form of bravery. Meekness is not weakness. Maybe it’s because my strong personality gets criticized all the time, but I would rather be meek and loving than strong and courageous. I would rather be saved than save myself. I couldn’t save myself anyway, and neither can anyone else. I don’t need a man to save me, but I do need to be saved. I don’t need to be saved from my situation (like Ella did), but I do need to be saved from myself (like Danielle). There is no happy ending in life so people need to stop trying to change their circumstances and change their attitudes instead.

Have you ever noticed that the truly loving and kind people in the world usually are taken advantage of? It’s not right, but it’s true. They love so deeply that they don’t see the truth, and even when they see the truth, they choose to love anyway. That sacrificial love leads to vulnerability and heartache more often than not. But that doesn’t mean we stop loving. It’s better that those who love be taken advantage of than those who don’t love. I will gladly be walked all over in order to show love.

But then I watch another great classic like Mary Poppins, and I see the kind of strong woman I do want to be. She was firm, knew what she wanted, competed for perfection like an insane woman, and loved deeply. But her strength enabled her to keep loving even when she had to leave those she loved behind. The more I get sucked out of this past relationship, the more strength I find. What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. Ironically, it was my strength that Fishie didn’t like about me to begin with. This heartache is only making me stronger. I refuse to be afraid of who God made me to be. Never again will I try to change to be what someone else wants me to be. I relied on someone to save me, and instead he enslaved me. I’m finding new freedom now in the only one who can ever truly save me.


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