What I learned from “Ella Enchanted”

We ellaenchanted1315_l (2)all have our vices – our pits, sticky spots, or hang-ups. You know, those places that you keep falling into even though you try as hard as you can to get out of them?

For some, it’s addiction to alcohol or even exercise. For others it’s perfectionism. It can even be a variety of things mixed together.

Personally, I have many.

Several months ago, my husband and I hit a patch of conflict over how we were going to handle holidays once we moved back to Texas. With each statement shared and each opinion aired, I could feel my internal temperature rising. Seven minutes into the discussion, I felt defeated and unheard. I picked up a shirt, threw it across the room, slammed the door, and said a few things I shouldn’t have.

My anger had gotten the best of me.

I wish I could say that this was the only time I have ever thrown a tantrum in our relationship, but I’d be lying.

Here’s another story.

I have a friend who knows a friend in Boston, and I went to dinner with that friend. Now, “that friend” is super cute. She has a petite frame, a beautiful smile, and can easily pull off any pair of skinny jeans she tries on. As dinner progressed, I noticed that my mind kept shifting off of the conversation and into a mode of comparison. Thoughts like, “I wish I had hair like her,” or “How does she stay so fit?” began to take over.

We wrapped up dinner, and I felt annoyed by the fact that our time had been robbed by my dumb thoughts.

Again, I wish I could say that this was the first – and the last – time I have ever lost time to the negativity of comparison, but…I’d be lying.

My hang-ups are annoying, and if you’re being honest, I think you would say yours are, too!

Last week, I was watching “Ella Enchanted” with my sister-in-law (my husband’s little sister), and I was struck by a deep truth within it.

Ella, played by Anne Hathaway, is a cute little teenager/young adult living in a mystical land called Frell.  At birth, Ella is given the gift of obedience by a fairy and has to follow the commands, both good and bad, that anyone gives her for the rest of her life.

One day, Ella, falls in love with a prince named Char.

Now, Char’s uncle is the king of the land – and he is anything but nice. Driven by greed, Edgar tries to trap Ella into killing Char, the heir to the throne, so that he can be king forever.

On the night of Char’s coronation ball, King Edgar commands Ella to drive a dagger through Char’s heart as Char is proposing to her at midnight. Ella, trapped by the spell, is in a dilemma. Ella knows, at midnight, the spell with kick in, her body will take over, and she will be forced to obey, but in obeying she will kill the love of her life, and the rightful heir to the throne.

THEN something amazing happens…(watch the clip:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l24yOwR9saU)

Ella hears her late mother’s words and remembers that “what’s inside of her is stronger than any spell.”

She throws down the dagger, and rejoices in her freedom.

We are the same way, aren’t’ we?

We live our lives wrestling with things we hate.

I hate the fact that I don’t handle my anger correctly sometimes, and I hate the fact that I am quick to compare myself to others instead of thinking positively.

Sometimes, our bad habits become who we are – or so they say.

Ella figured out a truth that is worth repeating: What’s inside of us is stronger than any spell.

 “For we know that our old self was crucified with [Christ] so that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin – because anyone who has died has been freed from sin” (Romans 6:6&7).

In other words, we are free from the spell of sin. Christ’s death and resurrection has rendered sin as powerless in the life of the believer.

If you believe in Christ – his death on the cross and his resurrection from the dead – you no longer have to be a slave to sin. You no longer have to do the things that you hate doing. You no longer have to play with your sticky spots or hang-ups.

Ella figured it out – and in the midst of her discovery, she fell to the ground and proclaimed a wonderful reality…

“I’m free. I can’t believe it! I’m free!”

Friends, we are free! May we never forget it.

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