I never thought I’d say this when I first saw the movie Frozen, but I think I’ve reached a saturation point with good old Elsa and Ana. Can any other moms of small people relate?!? I cannot walk through Target or Walmart anymore without my daughter’s little eagle eyes spying out every single little knick-knack that has those two displayed on it. The screeching starts: “Mom! Mom! There’s Elsa! Mom! There’s Ana!!! That’s me! That’s me!” We play alot of pretend in our house (my daughters are 2 and 4), and the majority of the time, we’re pretending to be ‘The White Elsa’ or ‘Little Ana.’ Hence, the excited shrieking of “That’s me, that’s ME!” in Walmart.
My 2 year-old, Bethie, actually talks about Frozen so much, and pretends to be Elsa so frequently, that I was actually starting to feel a little concerned. This past week, it felt like every conversation, every sentence out of her mouth ended up returning somehow to this now-epic kid’s movie.
When I noticed this, my next thought was: ‘Is Frozen all she thinks about?? Does she just replay scenes of the movie all day in her mind? How much of her mental capacity is consumed with it? I’m not so sure this is a good thing anymore.’ Those thoughts led straight into worry. So one night, I started sharing my concerns with my husband.
(...just a little thought for anyone out there who is like me and doesn’t naturally realize this helpful thing: when you get that feeling of a vague, somewhat foggy-type worry floating around in the back of your mind, and you know it’s there, you can feel it, but you haven’t pulled it to the forefront of your mind and examined it, I think that you’ll be doing your emotions and your spirituality a huge favor to use the energy it’ll take to bring that sucker right out into the light and examine what it’s saying and how it’s affecting you. A great way to do that is to talk it out with somebody. Anyway, that’s just today’s free tip. The end.)
So there I was, talking about the all-consuming influence of Frozen on my small friend, Bethany. As I talked, I realized that I had already made some conclusions about what her obsession meant. I had concluded that:
I should’ve done a better job as a mom. I shouldn’t have let her watch Frozen. I should’ve done the same things with my second daughter that I did with my first. When my older daughter was two, she had never seen anything like Frozen; when she pretended, she would constantly want to play Mary and Joseph making the trek to Bethlehem, looking for a place for their baby Boy to be born. Her mind being constantly occupied with thoughts of the birth of Jesus was not really a concern to me, as you can imagine.
Because I hadn’t ‘been vigilant enough,’ and because I ‘didn’t foresee’ that the fun moments of enjoying the cuteness of a movie together would so affect my daughter and dictate the course of her 2 year old thoughts, her future would be negatively affected. She wouldn’t have the same advantages in life that her sister has. She wouldn’t have a soft heart to God. She wouldn’t be as intelligent. And so on and so forth.
As I talked out those deeper conclusions, I could start to sense how God-less my conclusions were. I was concluding that for my daughter to experience good things in life, I had to be good enough. I had to perform well enough to merit a good future for her. But do you know what the truth is, though?? I can never, ever, ever be good enough as a parent. It’s not like if I was just a little more strict, or a little more discerning, or a little more engaged with them, then they’d have a good life. No! I’m not even close to ‘good enough,’ and my job has never been to be good enough. My job is to call out for and fall on the mercy and grace of THE LORD as I try to parent the way He’s called me to.
So then, what do I do when I’m concerned about a direction my daughter is going? Oh, how I love the answer to that question! I can realize that realizing something is a little bit off in her life is a gift from God. He’s allowing me to see it to move me. He doesn’t do it to condemn me for not being good enough or to reveal how I already ruined my chances for the future. He is pouring out His grace to move me today to step in and gently direct her onto another path. He’s using me, as her mom, to introduce salvation to her. She’s two; she doesn’t know anything yet. She doesn’t know what she should focus on. She doesn’t know what is valuable for her to contemplate. She needs me to guide her, and God is graciously helping me see one area where I can do that.
I could be caught up in a cycle of perfectionism: ‘Ah! I didn’t do good enough! How did I miss this?!? Now bad things are going to happen!’ But as I talked it out, I saw that I have another option. I can be thankful for God’s guidance for today. I don’t have to make conclusions about the past or the future, except that I can fully lean into His care for me and my children. Because it has never been and will never be about how good I am. It will forever be only that He has been and will always be good enough. Thank you Lord!