Monday, December 24, 2012

A Child-Like Fearless Faith

<p>I had a dream last night. Well, actually it was kind of a nightmare. I was in a theater like room that had red and black stadium seating, red fabric walls, a red platform in front and a black sound booth in the back over my head. It looked a lot like my hometown movie theater. I'm not sure who exactly I was with but the back row that I was in was full, there was an empty row in front of us and then the rest of the seats were full. I remember the woman teaching was a lady named Karla Chesnutt, and her husband Shawn was running sound. At some point, when the dream started going downhill, a kid who looked like Justin Bieber made a comment about one of the empty chairs in front of my row, Karla turned into my freshman science teacher, and a kid who looked to be around my age was suddenly holding a shot gun and said that he was going to start shooting. I was resting my head on the shoulder of the person next to me and had one of those flashes of dream knowledge where I knew that I was going to die. The shooter and I started having a conversation that I don't remember, then I remember seeing my dream self as if I was sitting in that empty seat. I leaned back in my chair, turned my head to the side, and felt the spray of bullets on the right side of my face and neck. Then, I woke up.

Being involved in a shooting is my biggest fear. So, naturally, this dream stuck with me all day long. Around 5 a close friend asked if my mom and I wanted to go see Rise of the Guardians with her and her mom. I wanted to go to spend time with these friends, but that dream flooded my mind. We agreed to go, and instantly I wondered if I had just volunteered to face my biggest fear. We walked in and my friends mom choose our seats, in the middle, one row from the top. The row in front of us was empty and a family sat in the next one after that. The seats were red and black stadium seats. The walls were made of red fabric. Folks, I got real uncomfortable. I considered faking an illness just to get us out of there. The lights dimmed and the movie started and I started praying for protection really, REALLY hard.

Sidenote: Here's the plot of the movie as told by Wikipedia: The spirit of winter, Jack Frost, describes how he came to be hundreds of years ago, lifted from the depths of a frozen lake by the Man in the Moon, and has been invisible ever since because people don't believe in him. At the North Pole, Nicholas St. North, better known as Santa Claus, is alerted that Pitch the Bogeyman has returned and is threatening childhood with fear. After summoning fellow Guardians the Tooth Fairy (Tooth) the Easter Bunny (E. Aster Bunnymund) and the Sandman (Sandy), North learns from the Man in the Moon that they are to induct Jack as their new member. Jack is brought to North's headquarters and they attempt to swear him in. Jack, frustrated by centuries of isolation caused by children's disbelief in him, declines to join. Regardless, North persuades him to cooperate for now by explaining their mission and the looming threat of Pitch.

2nd Sidenote: I need to take a step back and talk about church this morning. I was 100% not in the mood for it. I was tired, annoyed with the world, and really just wanted to watch The Office. So, the sermon about expecting to hear from God and some of the ways He talks to us, had absolutely no appeal or affect on me. Or so I thought until I saw this movie. Then I realized God was having a 97 minute meaningful conversation with me through an animated holiday children's movie. 

There were tons of themes in this movie that could be linked back to Christian beliefs but the one that hit me hard was one about fear. Pitch changes the world as kids know it by filling their dreams with fear. I firmly believe that one of the way Satan gets to us is through our dreams. He has really gotten to me a lot in the past year by filling my mind with fear. Fear leads to doubt and disbelief, once he has his foot in the door, Satan creates mayhem. Nothing about fear is constructive especially because Jesus told us, that because we have Him we literally have nothing to fear because He already fought and conquered it. One line at the end of the movie said by the star kid to Pitch when Pitch seems to have the upper hand on the fight is, "I believe in you, but I'm not afraid of you." This takes all of the power that Pitch had over the kids. Back in reality, we believe that Satan is real and that he can and does attack us. BUT, when we choose to believe and trust in the Lord, Jesus takes the fear out of facing Satan's attacks.

The movie also puts a huge emphasis on the faith and belief of children. The star kid, Jamie, is the last one who believes in them and he refuses to let his friends tell him any differently. He believes so fiercely that when facing all the fear in the world, he stands firm without any second thoughts or hesitation. Jamie had also never seen Santa or the tooth fairy but he believed them to be true- so much that he was willing to risk his life for them. Even more so, he was willing to face ridicule and judgment from his friends because they no longer believed. We are so called to a faith like that. A deep, playful, carefree, whole hearted faith with no strings or conditions.

Through this movie, God not only reminded me that a life with Him means a life without fear, but also that life in Him is joyful. While it is not without struggles and difficult situations, it calls for a child-like faith without limits, fear, or conditions. A faith that will never fail to see you through every single day. As I was watching the movie and hearing the things God was saying I heard, "I am yours, you are my beloved, there is no reason to live your life in fear because I have never and will never leave you. This is my promise to you as your Guardian, as your Father." What sweet words to hear in the middle of Satans war with fear and doubt. It's amazing what happens when you decide that you're not going to listen at church when the sermon was one that you were ment to hear.