I was a bit skeptical about the 2015 interpretation of Cinderella. This has got to be my favorite fairy tale, so I like to see it filmed exceptionally well. I believe the story of Cinderella is written on the hearts of every human being on the planet, which is why we relate so well to it.
In fact, neither the Grimm brothers nor Disney have the monopoly on the story. It is perhaps the oldest story every told. In my opinion, it is owned by everyone who realizes the significance of Prince Charming, a life of slavery, and the glorification of a poor individual into royalty.
I remember when I first unlocked the treasure in Cinderella, realizing that I too, was a slave girl. Listlessly lost in my sin, my efforts always failing to clean my own mess and others’. My flesh, like a wicked-step mother, tricked me into a life I was not destined for. Yet despite my circumstances, a handsome prince, my Savior Jesus Christ, swept me off my feet. Though I am an unworthy commoner, Jesus made me a royal princess. Like the doting father-in-law, my King adopted me into His kingdom, and my life is forever changed.
To my great delight, I found my heart soaring as I watched the recently released film. It was a beautiful reminder of my own story, or rather, His story. The little girl in my soul was squealing with delight when Ella twirled in her blue “cupcake” dress. My eyes filled with tears scene after scene, rejoicing over this picture of God’s love for me.
However, something inside remained unsettled about the story. Oh Ella, with your beautiful blonde locks and lovely blue dress. Your voice shining bright and your determination to be kind. In my former years, I completely identified with you. A good girl, plunked down in a poor circumstance of sin, yet ready for royalty and needing no polish or preparation.
Now I realize that was never me. The further I hike into my relationship with God, the deeper I realize the river of sin that runs within me. Watching Cinderella this week made me realize a movie about my life would be titled “Drizella.”
The step-sister, with her squawky voice and big feet.
Frizzy hair and arrogant attitude.
So many clothes without a single ounce of style or poise, inside or out.
Eager to please yet failing miserably with every attempt.
Boisterous, competitive, loud, jealous, insecure.
Manipulated and manipulative. Miserable company.
If I am honest with myself, apart from Christ I am nothing but an ugly substitution for a princess. I squabble with fellow church members. I strive for attention and acclamation, an embarrassing display of insecurity. My prayers lean toward “parasols and lace” requests, instead of a deeper relationship with my Father. My efforts to be accomplished fall humorously short. In my own strength, I have no ability to truly “have courage and be kind.”
I am no Cinderella, heart pure and true. I am Drizella, heart desperate to be noticed and filled with self-made accolades.
But you know what? Jesus chose me anyway.
How different the story would be if the prince turned his head and offered his hand at the last minute to Drizella, in all her pomp and ridiculousness. We might leave the theater disappointed, annoyed, and unsettled.
“She didn’t deserve him.”
“She will never live up to the role of a princess.”
“The prince is really going to make a mess of things now.”
And that is exactly what Jesus did for us! He chose the mess, the cross, to bring unkind, uncourageous, prideful, awful, ugly step-sisters like you and me into His kingdom. A relationship with Jesus then transforms us into the kind and courageous, beautiful ambassadors of His Kingdom, but that is not how He finds us. Of course, Cinderella’s story cannot fully embody the story of our Savior, because Jesus invites every ugly-step sister, not just to the ball, but into the royal family!
Whether you identify with Cinderella or Drizella, the wicked-step-mother or that one extra-in-the-background-wearing-the-green-dress-that-no-one-ever-notices, Jesus has an invitation for you!
He stands with arm extended, hand open. Though it be nailed to the cross, it still cries out, “dance with me!”
Have you accepted His proposal?
What did you think of Disney’s recreation of the classic Cinderella?