Friday, July 8, 2011

There is a little Ariel in all of us

Last night I sat with my son watching a production of Little Mermaid at The Muny. Now, I must share, this show was a little girly for my son. The amazing thing is that he was willing to go and see what it was like. He still enjoys being with mom and I find that really cool. Many kids today want nothing to do with their parents. I am blessed beyond words that I have a son who loves doing everything with his parents.

As we watched this musical in front of us I sat with a smile. It was like I was seeing Little Mermaid with a whole new vision. My girls loved it when they were small. That video is still tucked away in our closet for our grandchildren to enjoy one day. Movies are just a great thing to share, aren't they? I had such great fun with our kids as we watched our favorites on all those rainy days.

Here we have Ariel, a young woman, who is growing up. Her father still thinks of her as his little girl, and always will. As she is trying to explore and reach beyond all boundaries, she is exited at everything her heart finds. She seems to treasure the most unusual things. It is those oddest of things that bring her the most joy. She has a beautiful voice. A voice her daddy knows is a gift. She is searching for love. A love to fill her like no other. She is willing to risk everything and everyone for this one love. There is nothing like a teenager in love. Think back to that time. That first boy you fell in love with. The boy your daddy didn't want you with. There was nothing going to keep you from seeing him, right? Oh, how I know this feeling all too well.

She finds treasure after treasure to behold. She too finds love. From where her father sits it is a forbidden love. He is protective of her. All he wants is the best for his little girl. He wants no harm or hardship to come to her. He isn't trying to hold her back. He just simply wants to guide her in the right direction. He knows what is out there in the world ready to attack and deceive her. He sees what is beyond her blindness. Don't we do that? We set our eyes on what we think we want and we get so focused on that one thing that we lose all sight of everything else that is right and true.

Not too long into the story we see that attack come. We see how she is deceived so quickly. Why? She had her eye on the treasure she thought would bring her love and nothing else. She was blinded by her own dream and she lost something valuable. Herself. Yes, in the movie, she loses her voice, but in life we lose so much more. It was almost as though she just ignored her father. Forgot her upbringing. And thought perhaps she knew what was best. Leaving all wisdom behind her.

I think there is a little Ariel in us all. We see the world as a huge treasure, filled with all kinds of trinkets. We focus on what we want and there is nothing going to get in our way until we get it, right? We leave behind all our teachings. All wisdom that we have heard. We are ready to leave behind everything so that we can capture what we think will bring us happiness.

The thing is, God knows which trinkets are of gold and which will tarnish. Ever try wearing a necklace that wasn't pure gold? It will leave a mark where it has rubbed. Not only does it tarnish, but everything it touches. He knows what will bring us a short time of happiness and what will bring us a life time of joy. He knows what will trap us and give us a life of trouble and what will set us free so we can soar.

But, in our own selfishness, we turn from Him. We seek shiny treasures all on our own. Those that glimmer and catch our eye. Leaving behind His guidance, we go to seek our own. Many times we feel that His love isn't enough and we go seeking for something better, only to find out He is enough and there is nothing more valuable. What is sad, is how much time we waste on what really isn't important and lasting.

What brings us happiness today might not be what will make us smile in a year from now. Ten years from now. We base decisions on our feelings instead of on the wisdom before us that God has made plain. He sees our future. He knows what He has planned for us. Just think what would happen if we prayed about each and every decision and waited for God's answer. Too many times we don't pray. We pray and we don't wait for God's answer. We want what we want so badly we twist God's Word to fit our every want.

As Ariel finds herself trapped who is it that rescues her? Who is it that she finally calls out for? Who is it that is ready to give all of himself for her freedom? Her father. Our Heavenly Father did that for us. He rescued us from death. Through His death and resurrection we can have life. Life abundant. Life with joy. Lasting joy. We don't have to search this world for all we can be. All we must do is seek the Lord and He will place before us a mapped out life, planned and perfected through His mighty hand.

If we would only keep our eyes on Him instead of the things of this world we would not find ourselves in such traps. Temptation has a way of trapping us before we know it. Just one look. One touch. One, "Wow, that is what I want", and we are there in the trap set by Satan to deceive us into thinking we must have everything we want in order to be happy.

Yes, in the movie everything turns out perfect. Ariel falls in love and gets the man of her dreams. She is reunited with her father and all her dreams come true. But that simply isn't real life. Look at all she went through. She deceived her father. She stopped singing with her family. She forgot her friends. Why? All because her eyes were on something else. Someone she couldn't get out of her mind. The closer she got to the man of her dreams the more of herself she let go of in order to have him. Ariel got her man, but what happens when he turns out not to be the one? We sit back and wonder what happened. Why didn't we see it before? Is this really the man God had chosen for us or is this who we picked ourselves? If our plans do not line up with God's something is always going to be missing. In the real world tragedy occurs. In the real world the wrong man only brings heartache and misbelief. We end up picking that one guy who we think is going to make our world perfect. What is wrong with that picture? No man can make us complete and no man can give us all we are searching for. Only God can do that.

God has perfection for us. If we follow Him, all of His dreams that He has instilled in us will come true. He will not send us to fall into traps. In fact, He will guide us from them. He will not keep us from the one we will spend the rest of our lives with. In fact, He will set up that first date. He will not keep us in a fish bowl, only able to look out and see all that is there. He will set us free to explore all He sets before us.

We place too much focus on our wants and what we think will make us happy. We need to focus on Him and He will not only meet our needs, but give us more than we could ever dream of finding in a treasure chest.

"For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also." Matthew 6:21

"But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you." Matthew 6:33

"For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope." Jeremiah 29:11

"Watch and pray, lest you fall into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak." Matthew 26:41

"Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is anything praiseworthy-meditate on these things. The things which you learned and received and heard and saw in me, these do, and the God of peace will be with you." Philippians 4:8-9
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