Is Good, Enough?

 

What does it mean to be good?

Dictionary.com defines good as: morally excellent; virtuous; righteous; pious.

This definition provides more synonyms than it does meaning, but it’s an accurate reflection of how our society defines the ambiguity of this pesky four letter word.

I was having a conversation with a coworker and fellow believer a few weeks ago regarding the relationship between God and man. Though we agreed on most matters, the few ideas we differed on were astonishingly canonical. It’s interesting how shared belief doesn’t necessarily denote the manner in which that belief is carried out from person to person.

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One of our major disagreements raised the question of whether human beings are innately good or evil. I held that we are naturally corrupt, while she was of the persuasion that we are intrinsically good beings, who sometimes do bad things. We were equally astounded by our opposing views. With gentle ears and open minds, we delved into discourse, determined to reveal the true heart of man.

From a biblical standpoint, if we are naturally good, why did Jesus have to die on a cross for our sins? If the capability to be good resided in us naturally, God would’ve never allowed for the torment and agonizing death of his son. Jesus’ sacrifice was a raw depiction of our inability to prove ourselves worthy by our own might. Yet, God did not create us as slaves and has therefore given us the liberty of free will. But look at how we have squandered it: malice and destruction have all but swallowed the soul of humanity.

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How can a people who are only upright when it pleases us, assign an inexorable definition to a word so far removed from who we are? Is a monkey more adept at being a horse than a horse itself? Our idea of good is ultimately an attempt to imitate what God so inherently is. We can’t possibly qualify ourselves to define what it is to be good over the God who gave definition to the word by his very existence.

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We exist in a culture that promotes the idea of living your truth. In this iteration of reality, good and bad become relative to the individual, the situation, and the emotions surrounding them. As humans, our idea of good is based largely on personal experience. Too often, we use our feelings to define reality: a slippery slope indeed. It’s no longer a matter of right or wrong, only what feels best. This mentality encourages open interpretation for virtually every aspect of life, regardless of how unfounded our truths may be. Emotions are erratic, changing as often as our circumstances, and are therefore inept to be the foundation upon which we build our lives and beliefs.

A woman who cheats on a physically and verbally abusive husband: good or bad?

A terrorist who blows up a building, killing fifteen hundred innocent people: good or bad?

An 18-year-old boy who sometimes skips class, but makes straight A’s: good or bad?

A prostitute who was sexually abused as a child: good or bad?

A person who pays for one movie at the theatre, watches three, but gives money to a homeless man on the corner: good or bad?

Various aspects are taken into consideration when deciding whether we believe someone to be good or bad. But is it really our place to make judgments? It’s both impossible and exhausting. Some would argue that doing something wrong doesn’t necessarily make someone bad. Yet, there are those who’d argue the opposite. There are also individuals who contest that morality is possible without God. I can attest to there being atheists who have good morale. Whether we accept it or not, we are all creations of God, so naturally, we carry some of his spiritual DNA. It’s like having an estranged parent who you hate and disown. That person is still your parent and no matter how much you detest them, there are ways about you that come from them because you are of them. In the end, no one knows our hearts like God. He knows that we are flawed to our core and unable to escape our own sinful nature.

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Human beings were dually created: a spirit and a soul. The spirit is the part of us from God and the soul is the carnal (or human) arch nemesis.  They work against one another, seeking completely different lives. The spirit is righteous and is naturally inclined to function as such, while the soul is intent on giving into all pleasure, indulgence, and sin. We’ve two options: restlessly wrestle between spirit and soul our entire lives or release them both to God and ask him to make us righteous in his name, through his grace and through the practice of his word.

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So no, good is not enough because it’s humanly impossible. But it doesn’t have to be: God’s salvation is free, we only have to accept it. He is the beginning of any and all good we could ever hope to be.

 

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After the Pain

From hurricanes to earthquakes, and now the threat of a volcanic eruption in Indonesia, the past few months have been rough. When I look at the obliteration of islands, the flooded and powerless cities, and the debris of buildings that once stood tall, I can’t help but think of humanity: we too are broken, without light, and flooded with confusion. The physical destruction surrounding us is a reflection of the festering wounds erupting within us. It’s as though everything has come to a head all at once.

The most pressing concern is figuring out how to move forward- physically and emotionally- after the pain. The obvious answer is for us to bind together and restore productivity to the affected areas. Donating food and supplies, sending money, and volunteering are just a few ways we can each help aid the restoration process.

Yet, I wonder if there isn’t a less apparent answer buried beneath the pain and rubble of these disasters. After hurricane Irma struck The Virgin Islands, I reached out to a close friend of mine from St. Thomas. My heart broke at her distress. I’ve never been good at having the right words for people’s pain, but this time was different. Although my heart ached for her suffering, I felt compelled to offer encouragement. Hope in the face of tragedy isn’t easy but it is necessary.

The irony was that the day I texted her happened to be September 7th. It marked three years since my brother had passed. As I wrote her, I thought back to that day. I’ve yet to feel as hopeless as I did in that moment of my life. Everything was falling apart before me and I felt powerless to stop it. Those days were dark, but in retrospect, I realize that it took a storm destroying my life for me to allow God to restore it. As I poured out my sincerest words of hope to my friend, one word rose above the rest.

Rebuild.

Though it may seem difficult to see it as such, these disasters have given us an opportunity to rebuild structurally, spiritually, and sociologically. God’s grace is bigger than any storm and if we make the choice to walk this arduous journey in it, we will come out on the other side better than we were before. There’s a song I love by Bri Babineaux called, My Everything. The main chorus of the song says,

If I lost everything and didn’t have anything, and you were the only thing, I’d still have everything.

It’s what I pray for myself and for our world. In my few years on this earth, I’ve yet to find anything or anyone as sustaining as God. He has kept me in the midst of it all, the same way I know he can keep those of us affected by these natural disasters.

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Matthew 7:24-27 says:

24 “Anyone who listens to my teaching and follows it is wise, like a person who builds a house on solid rock. 25 Though the rain comes in torrents and the floodwaters rise and the winds beat against that house, it won’t collapse because it is built on bedrock. 26 But anyone who hears my teaching and doesn’t obey it is foolish, like a person who builds a house on sand. 27 When the rains and floods come and the winds beat against that house, it will collapse with a mighty crash.”

I’m not making light of the devastation that has taken place. I am in no way trying to dictate how people should feel. Quite frankly, I don’t know how I’d feel had a hurricane come and taken away my loved ones and security. I want to reassure us that though this may feel much like an end, it doesn’t have to be. It’s an opportunity for a new beginning. A chance to relocate our homes to God’s heart. If we lay a solid foundation of faith, love, and trust in God, our homes will never be destroyed again.

Even the thunder and the wind obey
At the command of my Father, Father
I set my feet upon Your mighty name
So let the rain fall harder, harder
So take my everything, my flesh and blood
I’ll lay me down on the altar, altar
I am forever covered in Your love
So let the rain fall hard

 

-I Am Yours by Lauren Daigle

In the same way that many are without lights and resources physically, we are without them spiritually. These disasters are a literal illustration of what plagues us spiritually and culturally. A wake-up call reminding us that we are not nearly as in control as we believe ourselves to be. We are in such a state of confusion and questioning, we don’t know what to believe. Our foundations are breaking under the pressure of worldly influence and we’re turning over all the wrong rocks to find happiness. So many things sound and feel right, look good and seem okay, but the problem is we have no foundation to test these beliefs.

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We’ve grown too accustomed to living in the dark. Now is our opportunity to plant ourselves on an unshakable foundation. Bad things will continue to happen, and there’s no guarantee that we can always prevent them. But if we put our faith in God, everything around us could crumble and we’d remain because we have been planted in the Lord.

 

 

 

Run Forrest, Run!

Before I had any business watching it, Forrest Gump became one of my favorite movies.  Although the content was too mature for my age, I always found Forrest easy to understand. He was simple. He made me feel better about my inability to comprehend why life was sometimes the way it was.

It came on television the other night, and even though I’ve seen it a hundred times, I couldn’t help watching it again. I came in at the scene where Jenny and Forrest had reunited in Greensboro. She stayed for a while, then- in true Jenny fashion- left unexpectedly. Heartbroken, Forrest did what Jenny had always taught him to do.

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Forrest ran for, “3 years, 2 months, 14 days, and 16 hours.”

As I watched the nationwide coverage and acclaim of his run, something struck me:

How ridiculous it was that a throng of people followed a man cross country on a run that had no clear intention or path. Reporters probed Forrest for answers as to what his run signified: world peace, women’s rights, the environment, animals, or nuclear arms?

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Though Forrest’s run lacked a profound why, people were inspired by his uninhibited and audacious spirit. Supporting someone with an unknown cause can be a wonderfully dangerous inspiration. Seeing individuals take extreme measures to better themselves gives others the courage to do the same. The problem arises when we rely too heavily on the journeys of others to fuel our own lives. When Forrest announced that his rove was over, his followers were distressed by the sudden decision. “Now what are we supposed to do?” one man called out.

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It’s beautiful to be motivated by the lives of others, but it’s not fair to invest everything we hope to be in the life of someone else. Yet, that’s exactly what those people did to Forrest, and it’s what we do to one another. We see what looks like happiness, wealth, or success in the lives of others and attempt to replicate their actions in hopes of biting off a piece for ourselves.

We follow blindly behind people and movements we know little about just to feel something that halfway resembles happy. The problem with this type of lifestyle is that it’s full of emptiness. Those people who followed Forrest on his run never came to know why he did it.

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Forrest’s journey was to run until his past was far enough behind him to move forward. It was for him to discover who he was in that iteration of himself.  What I love most about his passage was that it wasn’t until after Forrest returned home that he realized his why was indeed profound.

That’s exactly how life works at times. We don’t know why God allows us to go through certain hardships, but there’s always a reason. One that is exclusive to your journey, who you are and who you ultimately have the potential to be. Your why.  Yet, if we exhaust our lives trying to find ourselves on someone else’s path, it only leads to added unhappiness.

I know sometimes we just feel like running toward anything with a remote promise of happiness; anything that will take us away from where we are. I get it, but that’s when we have to be most vigilant because that’s when our spirits become clingy and susceptible to misplaced inspiration.

My goal isn’t to devalue the splendor of inspiration. On the contrary, my hope is to uphold it, to encourage us to apply it in a way that is beneficial to our lives.  It’s great to be heartened by someones actions and to even be encouraged to go a similar route. However, we shouldn’t base our decisions on what makes someone else happy.

You’re you and I’m me. What moves me may not drive you. What motivates you may not encourage me. We’re each on our own way, yet how wonderful it’d be for our journeys to cross paths. Maybe there’s something you can teach me. Perhaps there’s something I can give you. Maybe inspiration is a collision of two paths- or ten, or five million- meant to give hope, wisdom, and love so that another would be willing to war on against a world intent on their defeat.

The Secret to Staying Young

 

Let’s start this off with a confession:

I use anti aging cream. Don’t worry, it’s the cheap stuff- for now. But still, is that bad? I mean, I am just three years away from thirty. Besides, I’m improving my adulting skills by being more proactive. I spend most of my time on airplanes where the air is dry and the oxygen is thin. It’s my responsibility to protect my skin from shriveling up like a raisin, right?

Alright, that was about 40% true. The remaining 60% sadly, lies in complete vanity. I don’t want to get old. And if I must, I certainly don’t need the evidence of wrinkles to prove it.

Nowadays though, we see more people embracing and being proud of their age, which is the way it should be. Unfortunately, I’m not that wise.

I’m in line with everyone else trying to catch the first ship out to Never land. Botox, plastic surgery, hair plugs (do people still do that?), and younger partners are just a few of the extreme measures we take in an effort to retain our youth.

Let me make clear, I don’t personally engage in the aforementioned activities, but I can certainly understand how easy it would be to fall prey to these practices.

The truth is, we’re growing older with each setting sun and there’s no way to stop it. Our lack of crows feet and smooth skin can no more rescue us from what actually needs saving than a topical cream can kill cancer. The sickness is within.

Our exterior is just that: A shell that houses our most precious jewels. But if the treasure rots, what is there to protect? Our bodies become useless. Yet we choose to focus most of our upkeep on our physical selves. L’Oréal’s latest under eye night serum cannot treat a withered spirit.

Our spirits are as strong or tenuous as we make them. In order to build their strength, we must feed them that which will encourage growth and resilience. If fed junk, such as anger and guilt, they begin to eat away at themselves and become emaciated.

From the moment we enter this earth, life becomes a toilsome journey: loss, addiction, betrayal, and self-hate are only a few potential struggles we face. Under the pressure of such circumstances, weak spirits are likely to break.

Our physical age will inevitably increase, but there’s nothing more exquisite than a spirit unaffected by age. One who has seen its share of hardships yet remains unblemished in its faith.

I know it sounds impossible. It’s certainly not easy, but with conscious effort, a lot of practice, and of course God, it is achievable. I don’t have all the answers to maintaining a healthy, strong, and youthful spirit, however I do have a few tips to get you started.

Let it go.

Stop dwelling on people and circumstances you can’t change. It only stands to further frustrate you. If someone has wronged you and you’re still bitter about it, you’re punishing yourself for their error. I’m not suggesting that you excuse their behavior, instead I invite you to release them to God. Once you release them, you also free yourself from feeling like you have to exact penance on them.

Surround yourself with positive people.

The company you keep has a major influence on your outlook on life. Be intentional about the people you surround yourself with. Make sure your friends are adding positivity to your life and not encouraging negativity. The normal rigamarole of life is stressful enough, you need people to bring the joy out in you at all costs.

Don’t neglect the little things

It’s easy to overlook the simplest parts of life because other aspects are so overwhelmingly complex. But it’s important that we find a way to always recognize the little things in our lives that make us smile. Our sanity depends on it.

Keep the Faith

I could elaborate endlessly on the importance of remaining faithful, but instead I’ll leave you with a snippet of lyric from a song I love.

Hold on to hope if you got it
Don’t let it go for nobody
They say that dreaming is free
But I wouldn’t care what it cost me

Yellow means GO!

 

Now, be honest-

You’re driving and the light turns from green to yellow: what do you do?

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 Pedal to the metal baby!

When I have somewhere to be, I want to get there yesterday. You guys already know, I’m not taking home any awards for most patient person of the year. However, you’d be proud to know that I have improved. Somewhat. On the important stuff like marriage and solving the riddle that is my purpose in life, I’ve learned to ease off the gas and enjoy the pretty – and not so pretty – scenery. But as for waiting in long lines at the grocery store, continue to pray for me.

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What factors do you all think contribute to the constant haste of our culture?

For one, we are unremittedly fed the lie that we have to have it now. Whether it be a spouse, a child, a new car, or the latest iPhone, the idea of waiting has become unfathomable. We’ve been programmed to FOMO. For those of you not up with the times, FOMO is an acronym that means fear of missing out. It’s generally used when people are afraid of missing something at a social event or outing, but I think it’s also relevant in terms of stuff.  Either way, we’ve got it bad.

On the surface, this lie is simply a consumerism/marketing ploy by filthy rich companies trying to attain even more wealth by playing on the emotions of people in need. We’re being manipulated by a man made guarantee that more stuff will make us happy. Even though marketers fail on their promise again and again, we continue to buy the lies. When we look in the mirror, we see a version of ourselves plastered in all the things we thought we needed.

If you don’t remember anything else from this post, please remember this:

The only thing we need in this life has already been purchased. We just have to make the decision to accept Him. 

Okay, so we’ve dodged the yellow light, now what? We’re maybe two to three minutes ahead of those we left in our dust, but what have we actually gained in that time? It’s easy for us to feel like those few minutes make a huge difference, but in actuality they don’t.

“Your imaginary self is not your real self.”

My brother said this during a conversation we were having a few days ago and I literally had to write it down because, as simple a sentence as it is, it makes so much sense.

We create these euphorias in our minds that translate into reality as utter ridiculousness.

Like, Oh I gained two extra minutes to get to work by flying through the yellow light. Now I have time to get gas, drop that package off at the post office, and maybe get a blueberry donut from Dunkin’ (my favorite!). 

Okay, maybe that was a bit of an exaggeration, but not by much. 

We all have this mental checklist of things we need to have accomplished by a certain time. As the days and years inch closer to that time frame, we set into panic mode, and quite frankly, start making some not-so-smart choices to fulfill those goals.

I’ll spare us the listing of those choices.

Now on the other side of those decisions, are we any happier? Is it the same euphoric dream we had cooked up in our fantasy driven heads?

I can answer from personal experience: not at all. I’m still digging myself out of the hole from a few bad decisions I rushed into because I thought I’d die waiting.

In retrospect, my life would be a lot easier now, had I slowed down at those yellow lights and allowed God to tell me when to go.

Timing is everything. And God, who is both the creator of time and us, surely knows when something is best for us and how to perfectly orchestrate it into our lives.  place it in our lives during the perfect season.

Impatience is human and I get it. Not knowing what will become of our lives is stressful and can cause us to make rash decisions just for the sake of feeling in control.

Fight that urge.

Pray and ask God for patience. Build your trust and faith in him by spending time getting to know him. When we truly come to know the character of God, we don’t have to doubt that his plan for our lives is the best version.

Recalculating

I’ve always viewed school as a necessity. Whether or not I liked it was never a factor, it was just something I knew I had to grit my teeth and do. Naturally inquisitive, the desire to learn and acquire knowledge has never been an issue for me. No, my problem is that I have trouble acclimating to structured learning settings. I remember being two semesters shy of earning my bachelor’s degree when I decided to mentally check out. Between being burnt out and having senioritis, I gave myself permission to stop caring. As a result, I stopped turning in assignments, showing up to class, and lost interest in my grades. Soon after, I was threatened with being placed on academic probation: they gave me one more chance to get my crap together.

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 I recall meeting with my academic advisor:

Her office was a neat little nook tucked away at the edge of the building. It was dark, save for a small lamp on her desk that dimmed the area just enough for me to see the knickknacks and stacks of papers that comfortably cluttered her desk. Despite being afraid of the reprimand I was about to receive, her office seemed to exude warmth. Almost like a refuge: Somewhere you go for safety and refueling, but only for a short while.

She asked me what was going on and why my grades had fallen. I of course, tried to make my lousy excuse sound as justifiable as possible. She listened quietly as she busied herself with paperwork. When I’d run out of words to fuel my explanation, she turned to me, sighed and said matter of factly, “Okay. You’ve checked out.”

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It was like she was a doctor diagnosing me with a common cold. She knew exactly where I was mentally and she understood how I had gotten there. She gave me no sympathy but there wasn’t a strong sense of reprimand either.

Her final words to me during that meeting were, “You need to find a way to check back in.”

I left the campus feeling much more fueled than I did going into the meeting. Our discussion had given me just enough charge to find my way back to my why. 

Two semesters later, I graduated.

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I find myself at a similar impasse. I checked out about a month ago. I knowingly and intentionally submerged myself into the mindset of a defeatist. I was beginning to feel like everything in life was just too hard, so I figured I’m done trying. I knew that it was a momentary phase, but I didn’t put up much of a fight against it. I became more frivolous with money than usual and I didn’t beat myself up about it. My spiritual upkeep was slacking. I missed almost two weeks of talking to you guys. Deep down, I knew better, but on the surface, I refused to allow myself to care. I just wanted to be. I wanted to do whatever I felt like doing without feeling bad or rehashing fifty times over, every move I made and every thought that even considered crossing my mind. Just for a second, I wanted to be completely human and not feel bad about it.

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Things are still a bit hazy but I’m on the back end of that phase. I think my final salute was my purchase at Victoria’s Secret today at the Las Vegas airport. And in my defense, their semi-annual sale is going on so it could be argued that it was a logical and reasonable purchase.

That liberation I was looking for is returning to its former glory of frustration. I’m back to beating myself up. I’ve made the same mistakes so many times I’m dizzy. I want new mistakes! I want to be able to reflect and say, I used to be that way, but it feels impossible. Like it’s some sort of cruel joke to even think we can actually overcome our problems or become better.

In this time of reflection, I’m trying to figure out my why, because I really don’t want to go down this dead end road a millionth time.

I remember exactly when the downward spiral began. It was the first time I’d missed a post since recommitting myself to the blog back in February. It was a big deal to me and in my mind, it proved that I could not be committed or driven enough to accomplish anything. It shouted and reverberated throughout my entire being that no matter my efforts, I will always circle right back around to who I’ve always been. And that’s when I said

Forget it then, I’ll just stop trying.

One mistake sucked me into a black hole of psychological abuse toward myself. It should not have been that catastrophic, but because it was, that tells me that there’s more. I don’t think I actually believe I can be different. I didn’t realize that truth until just now. Looking at the words staring back at me on the screen, I can’t deny it. Whenever I’m doing well: praying, reading my Bible, keeping up with my blog, making smart money choices,  I am proving to myself that I can change. And it feels good. until I mess up. Then it feels really bad.

I think maybe my mistake is that I don’t ask for God’s help often enough. For a long time, I went through this battle of understanding that I don’t have to prove myself to God. I could never make myself worthy of Him through deeds. Instead, it’s grace through His sacrifice that I fall on time and time again. I know that with absolute certainty and I live my life through that belief. But now I find myself trying to prove me to myself. As if life isn’t complicated enough. I only ask God to bless the outcomes of my goals, not the entire process. Like with my blog, I ask:

Dear God, I want to be dedicated to my blog, please help me.

There are smaller steps I need to be praying to God about concerning my dedication to the blog. For instance, if I know I have a busy week coming up and I’m not sure how I’m going to have time for the blog, I could pray and ask God to help me create time, give me the words to write and let them come effortlessly. That way, I’m being specific and I’m showing a constant need for God to help me in my endeavor. As opposed to praying for this colossal idea one time and expecting no hiccups.

Life is life and there will always be mistakes. But doing the wrong thing or making a mistake provides us with an opportunity to improve.


Reevaluate then Recalibrate.

Assess then Address.

I’m pretty much back on track, but I know I’ll eventually make another mistake. But the next time, I’m looking forward to it being an opportunity to improve and recalculate, not a self-bashing session.

I saw this commercial a few weeks ago and it stuck out to me. It’s a perfect ending to this piece.

What I Learned from “Moana” 

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I  saw the movie Moana four times in two days. I blame it on my three-year-old niece Journee, who not unlike any other toddler, never tires of watching the same thing over and over. And over again. To her defense and my hypocrisy, I do the exact same thing. I’ve seen Aladdin at least a hundred times. Usually, I’m knocking down theater doors to catch the latest animated film,  but Moana didn’t pique my interest like usual. The storyline didn’t draw me in the way other Disney movies did and…fine, I’ll just say it: I felt like we had already done the Hawaiian thing with Lilo and Stitch so it seemed a little been there done that-ish. I know, I’m sorry.

After being practically forced to watch Moana, I set aside my preconceived notions and gave the movie a fair chance and I can honestly say, it wasn’t my favorite. The whole demi-god deal was different in a way that didn’t quite suit me. And then the songs weren’t as up to par as I expect from Disney- I know I’m in the minority on that one. What I did love about Moana though, was the out of this world CGI cinematography. It was everything: colorful, exuberant, and breathtakingly real. I swear, I thought I could walk right through my television screen and onto the warm sands of Motunui. For that reason alone, I’d be willing to watch Moana a fifth time.

Just because I didn’t like the movie all that much, doesn’t mean there was no takeaway. There’s always a lesson to be learned. Moana’s journey was both inspiring and relatable. One that we all face in a way. Deciding to choose our destiny despite how hopeless the odds appear, is a battle we must all face. Moana made me feel capable. Like whatever it is I’m supposed to do, I can do it.

Moana left an impression of confidence, resilience, and courage on this 27-year-old heart. There were three lessons in particular that resonated with me.

Ready?

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Running from or ignoring the truth won’t make it any less real. Moana’s father did everything in his power to stop her from embarking on a Journey he knew would be dangerous. Even after he saw the effects of the curse beginning to infect the island, he held on to stubborn fear. He pretended that all the signs were coincidental and not a derivative. Blinded by fright, he chose to ignore it. But the burden of the curse did not lighten because he pretended it didn’t exist. If anything, he further encouraged it by being complacent and unacting. It was able to spread more rapidly because there was no resistance to it. Our problems don’t dissolve just because we don’t face them. Unacknowledged, they fester.

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Do it scared. I loved Moana’s courage. She knew she had to fulfill her destiny of restoring the heart of Te Fiti. She didn’t know exactly how or what to do, but she went anyway. She had no idea where to find Maui, yet she found him. What we often fail to realize is that the answers are within the journey, not before it. We spend a lot of time worrying and being apprehensive about trying to gather all the tools we need before we embark. Some tools, we simply acquire along the way. So, so what because we don’t have a military like plan on how to fulfill our purpose. Jump anyway. Leap nonetheless. We’ll do it scared if we have to, so long as we do it.

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What we do affects others. Because Moana was courageous enough to war against fear, her entire island was saved. Our society preaches a lot about self-love, but I think it’s truly about loving others. Finding ourselves in others. Learning to embrace those that are broken so that we may also allow ourselves to be embraced beyond our faults. And yes, I do believe that it is possible to love others without first loving yourself. When we do for others, it allows us to see an entire community within ourselves. What we do matters to others. How we live our lives today sets precedence for future generations. Many times dreams and purposes go unfulfilled because we lack confidence in ourselves. But say we were to shift the focus onto others and how us accomplishing our goals will have a positive impact on them. How different a place this might be.