When we bought Disney’s movie Moana, I did not know what it was about or how much our children would LOVE the movie with it’s action and amazing music. After watching Moana with my sick daughter five times in a row – I discovered several parts of the movie that are actually based on Christian values. If Lisa Bevere can find Godly principles from the movie Terminator; surely, I can do the same with Moana!
For those who have not seen the movie, it is about a demigod (Maui) stealing the heart of Ta Fiti (the goddess of the life of the ocean and islands) and a little girl named Moana who is “called” by the ocean to find Maui, take him across the ocean and restore the heart of Ta Fiti to save the islands and her tribe. The only problem is that she does not fully understand her calling, cannot sail and everyone but her grandma thinks the idea is crazy.
Here are the key parts of the movie I connected with:
1) Finding Joy in the Journey
One of the first songs in the movie is about being “happy with where you are!” While change often comes to action as a result of discontentment with where we are, it is also important to be grateful with what God has given us. Where we are now is part of the path of where we are to go.
God created us to be joyful! If we are waiting to achieve something more or get to where we think we should be to be happy; we will miss out on life. Also, we will likely be disappointed when achievements do not lead to happiness or fulfillment. Being a child of God is enough to be fulfilled. Walking in the path He has for us is the best adventure of daily happiness we can ask for.
2) Following Our Call
Moana has an attraction and calling to the ocean that she does not understand and gets in trouble for on a regular basis. Her parents have a different plan for her future to be the next chief of their tribe.
It is easy for us to see what professions and titles are associated with power, importance and money within our society. It is what society sees as success for us, but often God has a different calling for us. His calling on our lives is natural for us, but sometimes scary. It often goes against what society tells us and may hurt the ones we love. We also have to place a lot of trust in God because he will call us to do things we feel we are not equipped to do (lack of knowledge, skill, money, etc).
3) Trials Can Accelerate Our Progress
When her grandma passes away, Moana takes one of the boats and goes beyond the reef (the tribes’ boundary) and teaches herself to sail. In the process, her boat flips over. Moana calls upon the ocean to help her since she does not know how to flip the boat back over on her own. It is in that moment that a huge storm comes.
Isn’t that how we often feel about God’s help sometimes? We feel like we are following his path for us and trouble strikes. We call out to God for help and instead of this perfect solution we have in our head (he simply flips our boat over for us to continue on our journey), God provides us with what appears to be the exact opposite with a horrible storm.
In the movie, that storm crashes Moana and her boat on the island that Maui is stranded on. What appeared to be abandonment was actually the fastest path to the destination. Oh, how often I give up all hope when I receive a storm instead of the help I decided I wanted!
4) Action Begins with Us
At one point in the movie, Moana falls short of jumping onto her boat that Maui was sailing off with. As he leaves her in the water and sails off. The ocean does nothing to help. It is not until Moana starts to swim toward the boat, that the ocean jumps in and torpedoes her onto the boat. This is how God works also. If we wait around for God to help us, we will be sitting there for a long time. We have to put forth effort and believe that he will multiply our efforts for his kingdom.
5) Put in the Work
Moana and Maui cross the ocean, retrieve his magical hook and then proceed to fail at restoring the heart of Ta Fiti. Maui leaves, and Moana is alone in her failure. She tells the ocean that he picked the wrong person and she cannot complete the mission. It is once she gives the heart back to the ocean, her grandma appears and sings the climatic song of the movie where the main theme is “you know who you are.”
We know who and whose we are! It is with this revitalization of her mission, Moana retrieves the heart from the ocean. When she comes up from the bottom of the ocean, it is quiet and she is all alone. As a result of having her purpose revitalized and overcoming her failure, she goes to work in the night by herself to repair her boat and prepare to restore the heart without Maui.
Just because we initially fail, it does not mean we cannot use what we learn from this failure and turn it into success. It does require work. It is not glamorous or spectacular when Moana is working hard through the night to prepare for the battle of her life.
The completion of her mission! If Moana had not done the work when no one was cheering her on, when it was not fun, she would not have been successful!
We are all Moana (although some of us are not gifted to sing like her!). We have a calling God has placed in our heart that others may not understand. If we put the work in when it is not glamorous, and start the ball rolling God can do amazing things and multiply our efforts!
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