Frozen by Fear

photo: gomessda, Creative Commons

photo: gomessda, Creative Commons

I’m pretty sure Frozen will be the Disney movie I watch the most with my kids (or nieces & nephews)… Even if I have to force them to sit and watch it with me for the hundredth time.

I love the music (it’s got variety like some of my favorite musicals) and the human-ness of the characters. Particularly Anna’s awkwardness.

But most all, I love the storyline.

[WARNING: the rest of this post contains spoilers. If you’re one of the strange people who hasn’t seen this movie yet, you might want to do so before reading on.]

As shocking as this may sound, I think this movie is one of the best portrayals of perfect love I’ve ever seen. Elsa’s struggle with her powers is a stunningly accurate picture of our struggle with sin. And Anna’s sacrifice for her sister is breathtakingly similar to Christ’s unconditional sacrifice for us.

In the end, this is a movie about perfect love casting out fear.

“Elsa, your power will grow. There’s a beauty in it and also a danger. Fear will be your enemy.”

Pabbie the Troll King speaks these words toward the beginning of the movie when Elsa accidentally hurts Anna with her powers. This sets up the struggle for the rest of the movie. Will love win out? Or will fear?

We have the propensity for both beauty and danger.

When she’s little, Elsa uses her power to create beauty. The fun times she creates for Anna are beautiful enough for Anna to wake her in the middle of the night begging for ice and snow.

But when she realizes that same power could also hurt her sister, things change. Suddenly it feels like she is dangerous.

Have you ever felt the same way? Perhaps in your pursuit of something good, you’ve hurt others to get what you wanted. Perhaps you’ve fulfilled God-given desires in ungodly ways, leading to heartbreak for yourself and others. Perhaps you find yourself saying with Paul, “when I want to do what is right, I inevitably do what is wrong.” (Romans 7:21)

There are different ways to react to this struggle. But most often we seem to choose fear.

And when fear rules, we become dangerous.

In response to what Pabbie says, Elsa’s parents begin to fear that danger will win out over beauty. So they lock their daughter away and shut out the world. As a result, Elsa grows up alone, worried that if she’s anything less than perfect, something bad will happen. She fears she will be exposed. She fears she will hurt others.

All that fear breeds a desire for control. She wears the gloves. She stifles her emotions. She hides away from the world and even her family. If she can stay in control of the situation, maybe no one will know the truth and maybe no one will get hurt. But in the end, all that fear and hiding wind up doing more damage than good. Elsa’s own heart becomes frozen, maybe not physically, but figuratively. And when is finally exposed, her reaction is anger manifested in the storm.

I don’t know about you, but the scenario sounds awfully familiar. I may not have literally locked myself in a room, but I certainly hid my true self away from other people. I feared rejection if people really knew me, so I controlled what they saw of me. And I may not have created snow storms, but I certainly lashed out in anger when I felt exposed. I hurt myself and others.

Whatever the reason- addictions, eating disorders, anger problems, anxiety- when fear leads to control, we will inevitably hurt ourselves and the people around us. We become dangerous.

The cure for this is not found in “letting it go.”

Although the song “Let It Go” is meant to be an empowering one, all it really shows us is that Elsa is resigning herself to the fear. She’s realized that she’s not in control, but instead of asking for help, she simply gives into the fear, letting it take over. The result is a an ice castle high on mountain with a snow monster standing guard. She’s essentially saying, “This is what I am, and there’s no changing it.”

And this resignation leads her to believe she’s unlovable. She can’t even see that Anna’s offers of help are motivated by love. Or if she does see it, she can’t believe it. And in her desperation to be left alone, she winds up doing what she feared most anyway: hurting her sister.

“Only true love can thaw a frozen heart.”

It’s true. Only a perfect and unconditional love can thaw a heart frozen by fear.

Pabbie speaks this truth in the movie. But he’s only echoing what John said generations ago:

“Such love has no fear, because perfect love expels all fear. If we are afraid, it is for fear of punishment, and this shows that we have not fully experienced his perfect love.” (1 John 4:18)

This is why Anna’s sacrifice is so wonderful (and a picture of Jesus’ sacrifice). Before Elsa can even begin to clean up the mess, Anna proves her love by willingly dying for her sister. Anna shows that she loves her sister despite the potential for getting hurt.

In that moment, Elsa realizes that she is loved even though she feels unlovable.

Anna’s is not the only heart that gets thawed in that moment.

So how about you? Has your heart been thawed yet? Or does fear still have an icy grip?

Here’s some truth you need to know:

“God showed how much he loved us by sending his one and only Son into the world so that we might have eternal life through him. This is real love….” (1 John 4:9)

God already loves you with that perfect love. He already sacrificed himself to save your life.

And he didn’t wait until you got your mess cleaned up to do it.

All you have to do is accept it and let him thaw your heart. Let the fear melt away. And then learn to use your propensity for beauty by bringing spring time to other frozen hearts.

About Katie Mumper

She/Her. Storyteller. Finding beauty in the messiness of life. 4w3. Whovian.
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1 Response to Frozen by Fear

  1. Pingback: The Fear-Dissolving Power of Grace | Beauty Restored

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