This is perhaps the weirdest thing I’ve ever written, but Disney movies are oddly spiritual (sometimes). I know what you’re thinking, “Hannah, cut it out on loving Disney so much! Stop this madness!” I really wish I could, but dang it, I can’t. Every time I watch The Lion King I get a little misty eyed and not just when Mufasa dies! And, I got a little misty eyed watching Frozen II last weekend, too. Honestly, I was skeptical going into the movie because let’s be real, don’t mess with those beloved characters. But, I laid down my opinion that “not everything needs a sequel” and went even if it was to eat popcorn. Now, this is NOT a movie review blog post, but guys, it was good. I mean really good. Now, lay down your own cynicism and inner movie critic and hear me out. Go see it. Okay, now on to the real stuff!
*Also, it’s okay to proceed even if you haven’t seen it. (I hate spoilers and this is for sure spoiler free.)*
In one part of the movie, Anna and Elsa are talking with the Papa Troll. (I’m cracking up writing this.) You know he is the deeply wise rock troll that raised Kristof. Well he can “see” into the future and is helping them figure out what is going on. After he said a bunch of important-to-the-plot stuff, one particular line He said really shook my soul – “Just do the next right thing.”
The next right thing.
I’ve sat on that for a week since watching the movie and I can’t get it out of my head. If I’m being one hundred percent transparent, this season of my life depends on that statement. I’ve done what I know to be right so far, and now for the first time, in a really long time, my prayers go something like this:
Lord, what’s my next move? Where do I go now?
All of the expectations I had are gone. I mean really gone. Hope still prevails even though the wait seems never ending. Every area seems open ended for God to do something great, yet I don’t know what that looks like. I’ve sat back and seen piece after piece, but I don’t know how the puzzle is going to fit together. I don’t know what it will look like when it’s done. While those frilly expectations and plans get us every single time, it’s in these seasons we learn to lay them down and just walk towards the next right thing even if we do it blindly.
And I will lead the blind in a way that they do not know, in paths that they have not known I will guide them. I will turn the darkness before them into light, the rough places into level ground. These are the things I do, and I do not forsake them.Isaiah 42:16, ESV
Some seasons look like open roads. We run full force with no fear because we can see clearly where God is taking us. I’m so thankful for those seasons because I learn what God looks like, what His voice sounds like and what His touch feels like for the seasons when I can’t see the next few steps. I rely on who I know God to be, and how He has been faithful in seasons passed for the ones when I’m unsure. A lot of times when we find ourselves in these seasons, our first reaction might be to blame God and shake our head at His plan. We question His faithfulness, kindness and fairness. We ask a bunch of questions like:
- If He knows I’m disappointed, why doesn’t He just fix what’s disappointing me?
- If He knows I’m lonely, why doesn’t He surround me with more people who care?
- If He knows I’m broken, why doesn’t He heal me?
- Doesn’t He care? Did He forget about me?
The list goes on and on. With each negative question, we drive a wedge of doubt straight through our faith. Faith is the vehicle which allows us to trust God for the next right thing. But, if are always blaming, doubting and criticizing His plan, we lose sight in the purpose of not fully knowing the road ahead. I know it can be painful and scary to scoot closer to God when He could just “fix” it. But, we can’t forget it’s in the process and series of the next right thing that we become who we are meant to be. In the mess of the unknown we find His kindness holding us; His love shapes us, and His faithfulness lets us take another step and then another.
At the start of this year, the Lord dropped the word “brave” on me with the accompanying verse I quoted above from Isaiah 42:16. Like most everyone who frames their year with a verse and/or a word, we get super excited to see what the next 365 days will hold. But this year I was terrified.
“Brave? Not really me,” I thought. “And did you read that verse?! ‘And I will lead the blind in a way that they do not know, in paths that they not known I will guide them. I will turn the darkness before them into light, the rough places into level ground. These are the things I do, and I do not forsake them.’”
I knew very little about the year ahead. Yet, what I did know was this:
- I would learn what brave meant to God.
- I won’t know where I’m going, but I know who I’m going with.
- He won’t forsake me because He is faithful.
With 2019 coming to a close, I’m not sure “brave” is me fully (yet). But, in the process of learning how to be more brave, I’m confident of this – every unfamiliar thing this year has felt familiar because He has lit the way and made the rough places level. He hasn’t forsaken me even when I thought He was going to.
Listen friend, as long as He knows our next right step, then we can trust it, bravely.