Let it Go

frozen-let-it-go-disney-400If you have a little girl in your life, you’re probably aware that the movie “Frozen” swept the nation late last year. Based loosely on the fairytale The Snow Queen, the movie’s hit song “Let It Go” has been loved by any young girl I know. But, as the character Elsa’s rousing declaration of independence and rebellion after years of repression, the song has also been loved by many of my own girlfriends, myself included.

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 any more.
Let it go, let it go!
Turn away and slam the door.
I don’t care what they’re going to say.
Let the storm rage on.
The cold never bothered me anyway.

It’s important to note here that Elsa has just spent the past several years of her life locked away alone in a room in a castle, instructed by her well-meaning parents to “conceal, don’t feel, don’t let them know” that she possesses special powers — magical “ice powers” that create things from ice and snow — powers that others would see as wholly dangerous. Orphaned and now outed, she has run away to a very remote location where she is finally free to be herself, but believes she does not run the risk of hurting anyone with her powers.

It’s funny how some distance,
Makes everything seem small.
And the fears that once controlled me, can’t get to me at all
It’s time to see what I can do,
To test the limits and break through.
No right, no wrong, no rules for me.
I’m free!

Not surprisingly, those last two lines especially have offended the conservative Christian community. A quick Google search turns up blog post after blog post decrying the message behind the song as being selfish, “anti-Christian” and dangerous for young girls. (Many Disney theme songs, including the famous “no worries” song “Hakuna Matata” from The Lion King, have received similar treatment.)

But is “Let It Go” truly anti-Christian, and if so, why does it resonate with so many women?

What I hear in the song, and what drives me to tears almost every time I hear it, is a call to eschew the pursuit of perfection. Christianity’s message to me until I encountered Trinitarian theology was variations of “conceal, don’t feel, don’t let them know.” It was also a confusing mix of, you’ll never be perfect or even good, but there will be “hell” to pay if you don’t act like it!

Secular society sends a similar message to young girls and women as well.

This is why I believe “Let It Go” is on the lips and in the hearts of so many women today. Like Elsa, we’ve been repressed. We’ve been made to feel afraid of ourselves — our thoughts, our desires, our doubts and questions. We’ve been told our hearts are desperately wicked and that even at our best we are filth in God’s eyes.

Trinitarian theology allowed me to recognise those for the tragic lies they are and to begin to gratefully and joyfully let it all go. When I began to see that God was not the angry, exacting deity I had imagined, that I was priceless, precious and beautiful to him and that there was nothing I could do to jeopardise that, I was able to let go of my fruitless pursuit of perfection. My life completely changed.

I’d love to say that this means I never pick up my old burdens, but I do pick them up again often without thinking. But before too long, I am reminded that they are not my burdens and that I can indeed let them go.

What a relief to accept that you will never get your act together. Then it is no longer an act. You can begin to live as you really are.”—Karen Maezen Miller, Paradise in Plain Sight: Lessons from a Zen Garden.

As a result, there was indeed a period of time in my life where I felt, to degrees, “No right, no wrong, no rules for me — I’m free!!” I still feel that way in the sense that I know now that God is big enough to handle it every time a human breaks one of the “rules” of love and hurts himself or another. It’s not what he wants and it makes him so sad when it happens because we are hurt, but it doesn’t make anyone less acceptable and less lovable to him. Triune God has the perspective that we do not – he knows who we have been, what has made us who we are, and who we are becoming.

The good in you will last forever; the bad in you will not. That’s how my Dad and I rule the world. When evil distorts you, we just forgive and let it disappear into the past. When the beauty in you shines through, we save it for the eternal treasure it is — the eternal YOU. It’s like when you pull in a net full of fish, and then you sit down to sort out the good fish from the bad. All the good is saved. ~ my friend, Jesus Benyosef, on Facebook.

He sees and knows the eternal YOU.

Our human life is simply not about qualifying. We really can let it go: our pasts, our mistakes, our guilt, our shame, our striving, our pretending. Hearts will begin to heal when we do. Healed hearts grow — hearts perpetually broken down cannot.

Imagine a world populated by people who knew they were loved unconditionally. Imagine the depths of love that would finally begin to be plumbed. It is when Elsa learns to let go of the fears that made her strive for perfection and to stop trying so hard to hold everything in that she sees she is able to control her ice powers, and to use them for good and for beauty. She doesn’t stay in her remote ice castle.

Love will thaw a frozen heart. ~ Frozen (2013)

Love has come. We need only joyfully participate in it — not in an attempt to measure up, but because, like flowers opening to the sun, we can’t help it!

~ by Jeannine Buntrock


1 comment so far

  1. Pat on

    AMEN!!! so very well said,thank you.I’m so glad that Jesus qualified me for good works just because I’m loved and accepted !!! WHAT FREEDOM we share in.

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