Frozen 2 is one of my all time favourite movies. Both Frozen movies are fun, easy to watch, and the songs are grade A. But Frozen 2 has this grown up element that strikes me a little more deeply than the more adolescent storyline of Frozen 1. Anna’s song ‘The Next Right Thing’ hits me right in the chest every time I watch it as if the gravity of the grief she feels is a gravity I also hold. The darkness that Anna describes is darkness I am all too familiar with. Even Grand Pabbie’s advice to ‘do the next right thing’ is something I’ve heard many times before. Perhaps you’ve heard it too in the form of ‘just do your best’ or ‘just put one foot in front of the other.’ It is good and helpful advice, and in times where all we know is darkness, it helps to have a light to blindly stumble towards. But last year, I learned something new which has fundamentally changed my outlook on life; it is the understanding that our opinion on what is ‘best’ or ‘right’ is often massively different from Jesus’s.
When I first became a Christian, I was constantly reassured that there is nothing I can do to make God love me more or less. This has become a bit of a mantra of mine; I often pray it over myself and others. Sometimes it seems like common sense, other times it is completely unbelievable. But last year as I lay in my bed, unable to bear the thought of facing the world, unable to shower, unable to eat, unable to do anything, God whispered those words in my ear. There is nothing I can do to make God love me more or less. Everything has already been done. The day has already been won, I have already done my best. In fact, I don’t have to do my best, I can do my absolute worst, and it is still enough. On days where doing my best is a stressful, painful idea, the next right thing is to trust God and stand on His strength instead of my own. Living in this truth takes all the pressure off to achieve something, and the knowledge of the vastness of God’s love sheds light into the unfathomable darkness.
My church family has rallied around me, supported me, and uplifted me, gently helping me to do the next right thing, whatever that might look like. I have people who love me and pray for me and show me exactly what the kingdom of God should look like. I’m so lucky to have this, as not everyone does. There is a stigma around sadness wherever you go, especially in a church where God directly tells us to not be anxious. There’s always an emphasis on ‘just do a little bit more’ whether that’s healthier sleep schedules, more vitamin D, or more faith. Some people need this, they want this, they are in a stage where they’re ready to take the next step; sleep, vit D, and prayer are all good things. But Jesus doesn’t tell us to do a little bit more, he comes to us where we are, and the church must too. A church that really allies themselves with those who are suffering needs to open their ears and hearts: we are not all the same, we have different needs, and these are also subject to change.
When someone in the church comes to me with a story of pain, sadness, anxiety, or grief, I feel honoured. They rarely come right out with it, the space needs to be prepared, the person needs to feel safe. Then, it usually comes out in a big wave, intermingled with fear of judgment or repulsion. I’m always careful to stay quiet at this point, knowing that this person isn’t looking for a solution, and if they are, I can’t help them. No two solutions are the same, and there isn’t always some neat bow with which to tie one’s problems. The person is often looking for a friend. Someone to listen without judging, someone to tell them that no matter what is happening in their head, the emotions they’re feeling, the mistakes they’ve made, God still loves them. And so do I.
If you take anything away from this article, let it be this: your worst is enough. The pressure is off. Jesus has already done it all.