This weekend I went to see Brave with my almost 18, senior in high school, about to leave the nest, teenage daughter. No one warned this momma that I would be in serious need of some Kleenex as I watched this coming of age movie with my almost come of age daughter sitting beside me.
If you haven't seen the movie yet I'll try not to give any spoilers. But from the previews you can tell that Merida and her mother, the Queen, see life a bit differently. Merida's whole life she has been taught by her mother as to how a princess should behave. Merida tries to follow her mother's example, but finds it hard to live in the confines of being a prim and proper princess. So she sets off on a wild adventure in an attempt to figure out how to live life in such a way that brings her joy.
I saw a lot of myself in the Queen. While I've never raised a princess I have raised three daughters and many of the words I heard the Queen speak to Merida I've spoken to my own girls with one simple change. Instead of "princesses don't" it was "Christians don't". A good Christian girl doesn't act that way. A good Christian girl shouldn't think like that. As I Christian you should... The list goes on.
The Queen and I both had good intentions, to protect our daughters. To keep them safe. To teach them appropriate behavior. But in doing so I have to wonder if maybe we've taken God's wild, passionate and brave creation and tamed it.
There's a scene in the movie The Chronicles of Narnia where Lucy is asking about Aslan, who represents Christ. "Isn't He safe?" she asks. "Safe?" said Mr. Beaver. "Who said anything about safe? ‘Course He isn't safe. But He's good!"
The life Jesus calls us too is a life a daring adventure, not a proper tea party. And I am guilty of training my daughters for the latter. But I want more for them. I want them to be Brave! I want them to be so excited about the kingdom of God that they're willing to go anywhere, tell anyone, give any amount just to be a part of it. I want them to love fiercely, laugh wholeheartedly, and give selflessly, living life with eyes wide open drinking deep of the adventure of it all.
Man that's scary.
It's safe to sit in a movie theatre and think about giving your daughter wings to fly. It' scary to pack her belongings in a car and send her off to a new city or country to chase after Jesus.
A friend shared with me this morning a line from a blog that made me think of Merida and my daughters. "If we lose this generation of young people from God's kingdom: It won't be because we challenged them too much, but because we challenged them too little. It won't be because we pushed them too much, but because we didn't dare them enough."
Psalm 127:4 says "Like arrows in the hand of a warrior, so are the children of one's youth."
Arrows are designed to be released. To be sent flying through the air, usually into danger. They are not meant to be kept safe, left at home, away from the dangers of life.
It's hard to let go. Harder still to let them be brave. So much of life isn't safe. But it is good. And He is good. And there's an adventure waiting for our kids if we'll just give them a chance to fly.