I have wanted, pretty much for my entire life, to be a Disney princess.
I will pause while you get your inappropriate laughter out...
Now, by "be a Disney princess," I don't mean this:
Can we all agree that grown women dressing up like sexy Disney characters is kind of weird and slightly narcissistic? And that we are all incredibly jealous that they are hot enough to do so?
Yes, and yes.
I wasn't into costumes; I just wanted to be the voice of a Disney princess. The one singing the songs and giving life to a 2-D compilation of hand-drawings or computer images. I was pretty sure I was born to be Ariel. And Belle. And Jasmine. And...
Now that I have children of my own, I get to watch the movies and hear the music again, and I find myself singing along all over again without missing a word or beat.
Understanding my deep love for all things Disney princess, you might be surprised to hear the following statement: if I have to hear "Let It Go" (from "Frozen") one more time I am going to lose my ever-loving mind. Like, seriously, I might have to be committed.
A song I once loved now grates on my nerves like listening to my daughter talk like a baby (that's a lot). Idina Menzel's (or should I say Adele Dazeem...you'll laugh if you understand) voice that first made the song sound unique and powerful now sounds like nails on a freaking chalkboard, and I think my eardrums are going to burst if I have to listen to that infamous high note one more time.
And this is not even to mention Demi Lovato's pop version which is just...just...there are no words. She sounds like she's from the lineage of Britney Spears (this is not a good thing, vocally-speaking) and she just annihilates the beauty of that song.
Nothing has changed about the song; it's my heart that's changed. It has grown cold toward Frozen (pun intended). The first 1876 times I heard the soundtrack I loved it. It was the 1877th time that did me in. Something snapped. There are only so many times one can listen to the same song and to a carload of kids singing it at the top of their lungs before one loses that loving feeling.
I need to hear anything, everything, else to cleanse my ears and my mind from that song. My Bruno Mars station on Pandora is usually my go-to for some audio-therapy, which is what I am listening to as I write this post.
All of these venomous feelings aside, though, I love what the lyrics of "Let It Go" talk about. In the movie, Elsa is a woman who has felt trapped for years in her own skin, who has felt terrified of showing her true self. She finally has enough of her bondage and throws caution to the wind so she can walk in freedom and without facade.
Do you ever feel like Elsa? Like you have to hide the parts of you that might scare other people, that might show weakness or vulnerability or pain or flaw?
Ok, ok...so I feel this way pretty much every day. My pride makes it difficult for me to walk in freedom. Who wants to expose themselves, to be their true selves, at the risk of others finding out that they are not perfect, that they don't have it all together?
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...
It's easy to keep others at arm's length, isn't it? To keep the peace, to make sure we don't ruffle any feathers, to conceal so that no one knows what a mess we are. But then we're living as prisoners in our own bodies. And then we find we're living lives that aren't real. And then we aren't really known by anyone.
We all long to be known, don't we?
There is good news, friends! We were made to be known by our Creator, our Heavenly Father, who is all-knowing and knows every single bit of us, even the inner-most, nastiest, most broken parts.
"Oh Lord, you have searched me and you know me. You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar. You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways...Where shall I go from your spirit? Or where shall I flee from your presence?" -- Psalm 139:1-3, 7
There is NO hiding our true selves from Him; He sees it all. This truth would terrify me if it were the end of the story, but praise GOD, it's not! He doesn't just know us; He actually loves us, in spite of us! Check this out:
"For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will scarcely die for a righteous person -- though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die -- but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us." -- Romans 5:6-8
Isn't that freeing? Even if we wanted to conceal ourselves it would be impossible with Him, and even though He sees our dirty and grimy hearts, He loves us fully and without condition. He loves us so much that His Son was sent to die a painful, humiliating death for us, for the bad girls!
With this truth in mind, let's take things a step further: did you know that God made us, not just for HIM to know us, but for others to know us intimately?
Did you know He didn't make us to do life alone, to keep people at arm's length and to carry our burdens, our secrets, and our failures in a secret pouch, all under the facade that we're good girls who have our junk together?
It's exhausting to pretend, isn't it?
Yet pretend we do, and often. As women, it's something we are profoundly good at. And it's just plain wrong. And it's damaging. And it's exhausting.
I don't know about you, but I am to the point in my life where I don't have the time or the patience to halfway do relationships with other women. I simply can't do the surface-level thing anymore. If that's what you're looking for in a friend, then keep on walking 'cause I'm not your girl.
I'm ready to dig deep, to be real, to expose my true self to people who are ready to walk alongside me in my journey toward holiness and wholeness. And I'm ready to walk alongside people who are on the same track.
It's not easy; being real is the hardest thing to do in the face of a culture that applauds perfection. But it's worth it.
Let it go / Let it go / And I'll rise like the break of dawn / Let it go / Let it go / That perfect girl is gone / Here I stand in the light of day / Let the storm rage on / The cold never bothered me anyway...
Let's let go of the facades, let's embrace community and being fully known, and let's stand in the light.