Mama life, My journey

“Happiness right where you are”

~ sailing into 2018 with Lessons from Moana

Along with many other Disney fans this year, our family has experienced the year of Moana. It took us a while to see this flick the first time, but once we did, Addie didn’t let us look back. And who doesn’t love a good Disney soundtrack your kids want on repeat that you don’t mind boppin’ to as well!

While Disney may or may not have purposely encouraged moms everywhere with these deeper messages through Moana, I’m thankful for the way that my vision for 2018 has seemed to be reaffirmed through this motion picture. While I started my “Lessons from Moana” post long ago – it seems perfect to go back to these messages that resonate with me as I desire to set goals for 2018. You may or may not read between the lines the same, but it’s fun for me to find these parallels as we’ve watched and sung these words this last season.

Here are a few guiding hopes I have as we enter this new year:

  1. Practice Contentment. The song “Where you are” hit me smack in the face this year once I started listening to the words.  I think I laughed out loud at myself as my daughter innocently sang the lyrics because of just how relevant the message felt. In 2017 I became a mom of two, started blogging, transitioned into a new role at work, and experienced significant shifts in my close community. I’ve always known that change stirs a bit of unrest in my soul, but sometimes I have to stop myself in my tracks when I realize I’ve been acting like I’m trying to tread water and catch my breath under the crashing waves. Why? Usually it’s because I’m grasping for stability, feeling out of control of my surroundings, or fighting change around me. The reality is, change is CONSTANT. Especially in our current community and work setting where so much in our ‘world’ is connected. “Happiness right where you are” is the perfect motto to point me back to contentment, and lead me into some other goals that feel connected to that desire. While it’s one of my favorite songs and messages from the movie, it’s not really that path that Moana chooses if you interpret the song as staying on the island….so…..that’s kinda funny…but there’s a whole separate message of following her spirit and calling that I think can override the words! There’s a different goal and hope in that spirit to follow below.
  2. Live in Joy and Grace. “I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete.” -John 15:11. I’ve recently felt too swayed by my circumstances, feelings, or mood than I know I should be. God offers a joy that is already COMPLETE! I want to keep that more in the forefront, and give myself and others more grace when I lose that perspective, or allow things to shift my focus from it. I also allow negative interactions, comments, or even assumptions way too much power to effect me and in turn, drift away from his hope. I want to spread joy and grace to others as much as live it for myself. Maybe a lofty desire, but I’m expectant with great hope! Moana may have felt discouraged, confused, or unsettled at different points in the movie, but I think what’s so compelling for kids and adults alike about this movie is her character.  She draws people in with a contagious personality that sparks joy, hope, truth, determination, charisma, and even a spunk that makes you want to be her friend. Anyone would want to have her on their side, cheering them on, sharing her courage, or paving the way. I want to have a positive contagious spirit that’s like that. So when my daughter wants to dress up like Moana every day? Go for it, kid!
  3. Keep Perspective. I’m a very vulnerable and emotional person. I can quickly allow my emotions to guide my reactions, and somehow let the good or bad balloon into something bigger than should be given credit. Especially if I’m assuming that negative is about me, surrounding me, or would impact me. I want to make a practice of stopping and gaining perspective before reacting either emotionally, or in a way that deters from my hopes of contentment, joy, and grace. It’s all connected, but practicing this presence I think will be key in allowing me to intentionally live out these hopes. Grandma did this SO WELL in Moana! She wasn’t affected by friends calling her the “village crazy lady.” She believed in something beyond herself, stayed true to who she was joyful being, and invited others into her belief, hope, and journey in life. Plus she danced to the music in her soul. What could feel more free than that?
  4. Fill my time with that which is Life-giving (and in turn, BE more life-
    In my current season of life, the reality is that I just don’t have the same capacity as I used to. Or from a different angle, my capacity is stretched more easily with the things in my everyday routine. There are a lot of GOOD things that I want to be doing, or trying to keep in my schedule, that I’m finding I have to constantly pick and choose from. There are also things that I feel obligated to, or that I want to fight for in the name of service, community, or reconciliation that can feel more life-sucking as they take my time and energy. I feel like the Lord gave me permission through a conversation with my husband to “let go” of these burdens – and even good things – to focus on the stuff that fills me up. I have hope to feel such Freedom this year! Moana eventually found a routine and avenue to be a leader while following her dreams, and breathing in LIFE. She knew that what was being asked of her to stay on the island and fill a ‘role’ wasn’t actually fulfilling her calling. She found a way to lead her people and respect her father while at the same time living up to her potential.  Isn’t that what we’re all called to do?

I’m not much of a resolution person, and even ‘goals’ feel like standards I don’t want to set on myself when I have a hard time making sure they’re realistically attainable. But one practical thing I hope to do in this coming year that I believe will help me achieve some of these grandeur hopes above, is to live by a grace-filled schedule. I’m the type of person who ALWAYS has a to-do list, and I’m also in a season when it can easily feel like it grows more than I accomplish or check things off. If I can set regular times to work, do laundry, have dates with my husband, kids, or friends, I’m hopeful that I will have more grace for myself and my schedule. On days where my laundry isn’t scheduled, I can think of it as a bonus – OR I can see that time as open for something else because I know laundry day is coming, and I’ll get it done then! I’m hopeful that making things wait until their ‘time’ will also allow me to be more fully present, especially when I desire to be more intentional in relationships and the life-giving self care I so desire. Maybe everyone else in the world has a routine like this in their week and I’m just behind the ball…but #5 is to Plan out my week and keep this idea of a grace filled routine, and hopefully take some of the weight off that I put on myself in my role and responsibilities.

I know I’ve always been a sucker for Disney movies.  I also don’t know that I’ve ever watched one movie as much as I have Moana with my daughter’s new found love and attention span for the big screen.  But I’m thankful that as the Lord drew me near this season, preparing me for all that was coming – that there were lessons as we watched I saw repeatedly spoken to me to affirm my hopes and direct my attention to HIS plan for me this coming year.  I hope that as you have your own eyes to see and “ears to hear,” (Luke 14) that you have some hopeful direction going into 2018!


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