Live as people who are free, not using your freedom as a cover-up for evil, but living as servants of God.
- 1 Peter 2:16
Mickey Mouse has become a symbol for entertainment as Disney remains a staple of many childhoods. Between the movies and television shows, many characters gained a spot in our hearts and memories. I can remember waking up on Saturday mornings and watching these characters and their adventures with my brother. Although I definitely enjoyed these times, I did not realize how much Disney was teaching me about freedom.
Yes, you read that right: freedom. I’m not talking about worldly freedom like being able to do whatever you want without supervision, either. In many instances, Disney exemplifies what true Godly freedom looks like. Where you might ask? Well, I’m happy to tell you.
1. Alice in Wonderland - The Freedom To Be Bold Without Fear
Many Disney movies and shows take the audience with brave characters set on exploring. One of these movies is the classic, Alice in Wonderland. Alice is a small girl who has been raised in a proper family, yet she has a curiosity that needs to be satisfied. One day she decides to look down a rabbit hole and thus goes on an adventure into a new world. Throughout her time in Wonderland, the audience sees Alice be confident in her actions. A child in her scenario would show a lot more fear than Alice ever does in the movie. Sure, she is nervous and frustrated at times, but she continues. The Lord gives us this freedom, as we know that no matter what, He is with us; therefore, we have no reason to fear.
2. Tangled - Freedom Can Be Found in Loving Others
The ability to truly love others is one of the most precious gifts that the Lord gives us. Throughout the Bible, we are told that loving others is one of the most important, if not the most important, thing we should do. In 1 Peter 4:8 it says, “Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.” Rapunzel in the movie Tangled shows us that through loving others we can find freedom. At the end of the movie, we see her and Flynn sacrifice for the other. Flynn starts out as selfish and vain but in the end is willing to give his life so that Rapunzel does not have to be trapped as a slave, while Rapunzel was willing to be enslaved so that he could live, even though she had always wished to be free. While they both end up being free and alive, true freedom was found in their self-sacrifice for each other.
3. The Lion King - Freedom Can Be Found In Confronting Your Past Faults and Pain
When we are hurt or feel like we have messed up, we tend to run away and hide. Simba does this in The Lion King after he sees his father die and feels a mix of guilt and grief. He doesn’t feel that he can go back to his home, as he would have to face reality and his people. However, as he tries to ignore what happened he ends up just suppressing emotions and trauma. Simba’s freedom is found when he goes back to his home and faces the consequences of his actions. He deals with his trauma and finds peace. Having a relationship with the Lord also allows us to find freedom through healing.
4. Lilo and Stitch - Freedom Is Found In Redemption
Stitch is a destructive alien that has been adopted as a “dog” for Lilo, a six-year-old girl. He enjoys destroying things and Lilo has a hard time teaching him to be loving and gentle. One night while ripping apart Lilo’s books, Stitch finds “The Ugly Duckling.” Stitch relates to the ugly duckling in the book, as he feels like he is alone and unlovable. As the movie progresses, Stitch learns how to use his strength to protect those that he loves and ends up finding a family in Lilo. Stitch becomes much happier and finds freedom in being redeemed, just as we do through Jesus dying on the cross.
5. That's So Raven - The Freedom To Love Who God Made Us To Be
Throughout the series, the main character, Raven, is confronted with the fact that she does not look like the popular girls at her school. She isn’t skinny and she isn’t white. In one episode, Raven is even turned down a job because of her race. However, the audience always gets to see that Raven remains confident in herself. The popular girls at school make fun of her and her crazy outfits, but Raven knows that she loves herself. We can love ourselves like that because God loves us and He created us.
6. Ratatouille - The Freedom To Chase Our Dreams
A rat who wants to be a chef? Unheard of! Except, that's what Remy is. He always dreamt of being able to be a chef, but rats are considered disgusting and should not be around food. However, in this movie, Remy chases his dream and rises up to be a chef in a French restaurant. Just like Remy, we are able to be free to work hard and chase our dreams, no matter how unreachable they seem. If you have the Lord on your side, anything is possible.
7. Lizzie McGuire - Freedom Is Found In Vulnerability
This classic Disney show involved themes of friendships and family. When Lizzie or other characters were struggling with an issue, they oftentimes went to their loved ones for help. In one specific episode, “Inner Beauty,” Lizzie has a friend who comes to her and confesses that she has been struggling with an eating disorder. Lizzie is able to comfort her friend, and her friend finds freedom in being vulnerable and admitting she needs help. As Christians, we give our weaknesses to God and are able to open up to one another about our issues. Due to the fact that we are loved by Him, we are able to be vulnerable without fear of being judged.
Ultimately, our freedom is found through a relationship with the Lord and accepting the gift of redemption that Christ gives. In this broken world, we are told that freedom is the ability to do whatever you want. However, as someone who has experienced that kind of “freedom,” I can tell you that there is nothing free about it. Real freedom is the love of the Lord releasing us from the death that sin causes. As Christians, we are joyful through the freedom in knowing that we serve a pure and perfect God.
1. How has God shown you freedom in your life?
2. What was your favorite Disney show or movie, and what did it teach you?
Lord, thank You for setting me free. With You, I no longer have to worry about being self-sufficient or afraid. I have hope through You and I know that You are good. Lord, please help me in embracing the freedom that You have gifted me. I love You.
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