Y’all, I identify more than I should admit with the movie Moana. When they made it, I do not believe I sat within the parameters of their target audience. But I love this animated kids movie so much. Every time I watch Moana it brings me to tears.
A fearless girl who does not always understand rules, a girl who will not stand for the status quo or social norms, a grand adventure, a crazy old grandma who imparts knowledge in unconventional ways, fantastic music – all of these draw my heart to love this story more and more each time I watch it.
But the last time I sat down and watched Moana, something grabbed my heart in an even deeper way. I love how great stories can beckon you back time and time again only for you to grasp something new from them each time. As I watched Moana unfold it hit me again, she has to learn who she is and where her identity lies more than once.
One of the main plot points, Moana goes on a grand adventure to save her island. The whole time she knows she is going against her family by leaving the island. But she knows she must go. She believes she can do what no one else can. Along the way she meets Maui, a demigod who has lost his power and purpose. Together they work to restore the heart of Te Fiti and save her island and her people.
At the climax of the movie Moana finds herself alone on a boat angry and confused. She wants to give up. She doesn’t believe that she can do this. She wants to simply return to her island and not finish the quest she started.
Moana, I get it. I frequently find myself here too. I wonder how I got where I got. I tell God He got something wrong. I let Him know that this was never the plan. I often think He left me or forgot about me. I question what He thinks He is doing. I know the plan I made is better than God’s plan, and I tell Him that. I want a life where everything is wrapped in a bow and together the way I think it should be. I want to return to where everything is safe and prescribed, like Moana’s island. But just like for Moana, that is not how life works.
Life is messy. Life looks different than we think it should. Life brings us to places and circumstances we never even considered. Life unfolds very differently than we plan, but God knows.
You see the beauty of what I saw in this story as it unfurled in front of me again, Moana has someone who reminds her who she is. Her grandmother comes back as a stingray, and she speaks truth to remind her who she is and who she was created to become.
As Moana begins to believe she is who her grandmother tells her she is, she gains the courage to continue onward. And the really beautiful part – she gets to remind others who they are and where their true identity lies.
Beautiful storytelling for little kids that pierces my heart.
My life reflects Moana in some ways. I often find myself wavering and wondering. Then God speaks to me through something. Maybe a kids movie, a friend, a book, the Bible, a sunrise – it can be anything. But each time, He reminds me who I am. And when He does and I begin to walk in that truth. Then, I get to remind others where their identity lies.
The world tells us who we should be and it is far easier to believe the world sometimes, but do not. Remember who God created you to be. Hide the truth of who He made you to be deep in your heart. Study and memorize the promises He claimed for you. So when the world feeds you a lie, you won’t be swayed.
And then, remind others of the identity God has for them in Him, just like Moana does.
So whether you find yourself in middle of the ocean alone wondering if God forgot you like Moana, or if you are at the end of the movie and you’re reminding Te Fiti who she is, or somewhere in the middle remember who you are in Christ. Rest in the identity and truth of Christ. Know that you are not forgotten.