March 27, 2013

Lessons Learned From Cinderella

Posted in Uncategorized at 10:53 am by Broken & Brave

“Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice! Let your gentleness be known to all men.” Phil. 4:4-5

Lessons Learned from Cinderella…

I think most people have seen the Disney children’s animated feature, “Cinderella”. It is a timeless classic and I have always felt it is full of teachable moments for our children, but for us adults as well.

When my daughter was very young, 3 and 4 years of age, she was quite precocious and vibrant. She was always pleasant to be around and rarely threw a tantrum. I knew I was abnormally gifted with a child being so agreeable and pleasant. Because of her beauty and disposition, people were always telling her how beautiful she was. One evening we were driving home from a visit to my parent’s house and the sun had begun to set. The view over the country landscape was breathtaking. John and I directed Alex’s attention to the sunset and it’s beauty. Her reply was pure and innocent, but shocked me just the same. She said, “yes, it is almost as beautiful as me.”

She meant nothing vein or conceited by this statement, after all, everyone was always telling her how pretty she was so that is what she knew and believed true. I knew, when I heard her words, I had a little bit of work to do. I wanted to continue to reinforce her security in who she was, but I wanted her to understand the deep and most valuable lesson in the strength and power of inner beauty over external beauty. True beauty is humble. I began to use the Disney Classic, “Cinderella” as my teaching tool for such a job. I thought is might be good to write a little today about what we can ALL learn from the fictional tale of Cinderella about character and true beauty, the kind of beauty that radiates from the heart and draws all of mankind.

You know the story, Cinderella was a young woman who had less than stellar circumstances. She lived in a large and beautiful house, but was forced to reside in the tower. She had a Step Mother and two Step Sisters who loathed her, as their hearts were filled with jealousy and spite toward her. Because of their disdain, these ladies found it a delight to force Cinderella to do all of the chores, cooking and cleaning forcing Cinderella to tend to their every need and whim. If they were hungry, she fed them. If they needed mending to their clothes, she did that too. She worked her tail off so these other gals could relax and enjoy their ease. What compounds the difficulty of Cinderella’s circumstances is that all the land and beauty of the home that surrounded her was truly her inheritance, not theirs. She had been pillaged of what was rightfully hers, as inheritance from her Father who had passed.

Wow, that’s a lot to make a girl cry. Anyone would understand if Cinderella became bitter, resentful and full of disdain and resentment toward her family…but that’s not what she did at all. In fact, through the entire movie you never once hear her say an ill spoken word about her family to her animal friends. Nor did she ever grumble under her breath. Her smile was genuine, her heart was pure, and her mind was full of Hope and optimism for a brighter Tomorrow. Cinderella did not conceal her desire for her life to change, but she chose the high road in the midst of adversity and clung to it with all that was in her.

Cinderella’s inner beauty was so intoxicating that every animal in the area came to close, just to be near her. She spent her time focusing on others and clung to joy. When things seemed to be changing for her is when adversity became it’s worst, but destiny played out just as it was meant to be. Though her promise, displayed in the form of a glass slipper, fell into the wrong hands. In the end, all ended well for her and you know the rest…she lived happily ever after.

What about us? What can we apply to our lives from this timeless children’s tale? The obvious, choose joy, peace and love when circumstances dictate you should or could behave otherwise, but I think there are even deeper nuggets to be found here.

When the Step Sisters had their chance to try on the glass slipper, it didn’t fit. In fact, in the hands of another, the promise was shattered, because it wasn’t their promise. It didn’t matter how much the girls (Step Sisters) wanted the promise or their mother connived to get the promise for them, it wasn’t theirs to be had. God’s hand is Sovereign and He knows the plans he has for each and every one of us. When we patiently rely on Him and choose gentleness, kindness, self-control, even when we are not seeing life go our way, it pays off in the end. God will see to it that His promises to you are fulfilled. He knew the adversity you would have to endure to get to your dream. It was all part of the preparation. How we handle the adversity will also determine how long we stay in the midst of adversity and how it all plays out in the end. Just imagine, Cinderella’s character was that of kindness, gentleness and a giving nature. Most likely, had her family treated her fairly (even if they were yet unkind) she would maybe have taken them with her to the palace? Unfortunately, these women desired true beauty but had little knowledge of how to get it. The world is full of women with pretty faces and lavish material possessions, but lack Beauty. Gentleness, patience, kindness, self-control…virtue complete without a hint of boastfulness, pride, rudeness…these are the attributes that truly set Cinderella apart.

I used this movie to train my daughter in virtue and true beauty and it helped her understand, even at a young age, the difference between external impressiveness and deeply impressionable beauty of heart. If you have young daughters I highly recommend you do the same. It was a great analogy that their young minds can grasp and glean the kind of beauty God is interested in most. Remember, most of all, our daughters learn best by our example. We need to demonstrate love, gentleness, forgiveness, unity without a hint of envy, malice, discord or strife upon our lips, upon our countenance or upon our lives. Little eyes are watching everything you do and will do as you do even more than as you say. Let us join together and raise up an entire generation of young ladies with the truest of virtue and beauty radiating from their hearts, across their faces and overflowing into the lives of those around them. Then they will truly possess the same captivating beauty as the colorful hues of an afternoon sunset. Beautiful.

Bless you as you endeavor to be more, become more, love more, embrace more the life and the Promises God has for YOU. Emulating only God the Father above who is filled to overflowing with heart felt love for you.

Have a Beautiful Easter this Resurrection Sunday! He did it all for YOU!

~Nicole

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