I wondered how I was doing to reflect that line. I have often defined myself as courageous, but we saw the movie on the heels of the news breaking that over 100 Christian college students had been killed at their university in Kenya. I wondered if I had that kind of Christian courage. Sure it's easy to say that from the safety of my home in the United States of America but would I say the same if in the actual situation? Today I say "Yes".
But that isn't the only way to show Christian courage. And that led me to the next part of the phrase, "and be kind".
If you asked people who knew me in high school to describe me, I doubt that "kind" would be in the top 10 descriptor words. I would like to think that my friends I have now would use "kind" to describe me, but I honestly don't know. The problem is that I tend to still define myself by the old high-school terms.
I'm not sure why I continue to old on to this old characterization, even if it isn't accurate anymore. I guess it is kind of like continuing to run in running shoes well past their mileage. You do it because you know what to expect from them, even if it means achy knees and hips. Changing shoes might not work out, they might not feel right or fit right or they might feel just different enough you know it's going to take some time to get used to it and you are sure that you really want to take that time. The point is, the old shoes are familiar and known and the pain they cause is worth it because then you avoid all the unpleasantness of change.
And so I hold onto a familiar, known characterization even though it doesn't really work for me anymore. It gives me an excuse to fall back on if this "kind" thing doesn't work out. It provides a bit of protection and a retreat to fall back to when my awkward efforts at being kind appear to be rebuffed.
But where is the courage in retreat? And more importantly where is the Christian courage? For what I realized is that by not accepting a this new character trait, I in fact am rejecting Christ's sacrifice for me. I am rejecting the grace He is extending to me to make weak things strong.
Whew, can you see why I was so distracted during the movie? That's a lot of self-reflection. My mind and heart were still ripe for learning.
This phrase from General Conference:
God cares a lot more about who we are,
And about who we are becoming,
Than about who once were. - Dale Relund
and then this phrase that I heard at my friend's church on Easter Sunday:
Your story + God's story = A New Story
spoke right to my heart. And reinforced all that I had thought about during Cinderella.
Good-bye old familiar unkind self. You no longer serve any person. I am now moving forward with courage AND with kindness.