Everyday Miracles is a very personal column for readers who want to explore the deeper meaning of life.
Last night I watched Disney’s latest adaptation of Cinderella featuring real people, not animated characters, on the screen. Once in awhile I like to indulge in a Disney fairytale movie because the messages are always so simple and pure… and my soul was craving a good dose of sweetness.
You see, I’d gotten wrapped up again in that crazy mind state that has me moving too quickly toward anger, and dropping curse words like bread crumbs on a trail leaving a path of ugliness behind me. And the swearing was not just at the stressful situations in which I found myself; they were directed mostly at little ole me. “Gosh darnit, Genevieve! There you go again,” is the PG-13 version of the words barking inside my head.
Life happens and well… the door to bad old habits slowly creaked open drawing me in to its house of horrors. I know I shouldn’t step inside, but I do.
Thank goodness I take time out for meditation and bible study each day or else I wouldn’t have realized so soon that I was walking backwards instead of forward on my personal progress path. You’ve heard the expression, “You’re your own worst enemy.” Well, I wasn’t fighting with anyone but myself!
The sneaky old-habit of expecting perfection from myself was taking root in my subconscious mind like a flowering weed in my garden — with me totally unaware for a time. My perfectionist ways were expecting me to DO more, BE more, ACT better, BE nicer, WORK harder, BE prettier, BE skinnier… you know the drill.
Before I realized it, this weed had already spread its tiny seeds of doubt into my mind, making me feel I was less than, inadequate, not good enough… leading to a perception of being unloved when you get right down to the core of it.
Since I wasn’t being so kind to myself, I wasn’t being kind to the world around me.
Thank goodness I had the foresight in a moment of self-exhaustion to ask God for some help. “Lord, help me get back on course. Lead me to something, someone, some THING that will turn my compass back toward kindness, gentleness, and compassion.”
God answered my prayers last night when instead of feeling like joining my husband in his man cave to watch last week’s Gold Rush on the DVR, I was led to see if Amazon Prime had finally moved Cinderella from a purchase download to the rental list. Yay, it had! For $5.99 I could cozy up with my cocker and kitty on the couch and lose myself in fantasy land.
This adaptation of the classic fairy tale begins when Cinderella is just a child, back when her name was Ella. You’ll have to watch the movie to learn how she gets the name Cinderella. Her fairy tale life (excuse the pun) is disrupted when her mother is stricken with a disease and dies, but not before passing along these profound words of wisdom to her daughter.
“Have courage and be kind.”
Of course, you know the story. These wise words would be tested when Cinderella later encounters the wickedness of her stepmother and stepsisters. What resonated with me so much that it began transforming my heart back towards the spiritual state of grace and kindness is how Cinderella handles the unjust situations that befall her after her father dies and is now stuck living with her rapacious relatives.
When the wicked stepsisters screech at Cinderella that she’s too lowly and unlovely to attend the prince’s ball, the sweet girl just takes the verbal abuse without uttering a peep. That’s the part of the story that makes me mad and uncomfortable to the point that I don’t even want to watch the darn movie! Thank goodness I know it has a happy ending.
I loathe injustice. I especially detest when the one being mistreated sits there and takes it. But we know the story. Cinderella responds with kindness and never loses her courage in spite of her circumstances. She stays true to her mother’s sage advice.
What’s so fantastic about this adaptation of the story is that when Cinderella is leaving the home she shared with the wicked women for good, arm in arm with the handsome prince after her foot fit into the glass slipper, she peers back over her shoulder to her grimacing stepmother standing on the stairs and speaks these profound words. “I forgive you.”
For a moment, the brusqueness of my own heart was like a blinding headlight as I witnessed Cinderella’s utter goodness.
I moaned inside myself. “Can’t I BEEE Cinderella?”
The self-pity quickly subsided when I realized that yes, we can all be Cinderella! Kind. Courageous. Good and full of grace and forgiveness — for ourselves and for one another. But the way back to this peaceful path happens only when we peek inside at our own heart first and look honestly at our own behavior.
If I’d heard it once, I’d heard it several times this year. “Genevieve, you’re only human.” Why yes, I am! And we make mistakes. And we fail. And we fall. But God loves us in spite of our imperfections. He never stops loving us. In fact, it says in the bible, God’s love constrains us; controls us! God is love, and love can control us if we allow it.
So, if God loves bad me, why don’t I love myself sometimes?
Aha! My everyday miracle! Realizing I stopped loving myself. And realizing God never stopped loving me.
Simple. Yes. I know.
But a good reminder for when we’re feeling not quite right inside, or when life is a little off, or we’re getting exhausted at feeling exhausted. Take time out to sit, meditate, and pray. Force yourself to do this! Trust me. You will be rewarded with a new direction.
Start with these words: “Lord lead me back to a place of loving myself for all my imperfections. For all my faults. Teach me how to have grace, for myself, as well as for others. Move my heart towards gratitude, not attitude, toward life and situations around me. Show me your grace so I can show it to myself and others.”
Now, treat yourself to something special and go rent Cinderella!
I’d love to hear your experiences on this topic. Please share them with me in the comments below.
About the Author
Genevieve Schmitt is the founder of WomenRidersNow.com. She was raised in a strict Catholic household, but in college the journalist in her starting asking questions of organized religion. By age 30 she developed a personal relationship with Jesus Christ and since then works daily to surrender her stubborn will and vain ego to allow the Holy Spirit to guide her life. She now considers herself a non-denominational Christian. In the summer of 2014, with guidance from God, she started expressing her faith journey in this column, Genevieves Everyday Miracles. Feedback from WRN readers has been overwhelming positive proving that people crave so much more.
Want to know when I post a new Everyday Miracles story? Send an email to email@example.com letting me know you want to be added to my Everyday Miracles mailing list.