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Faith Imagined: Find Your Happy Feet

Faith Imagined

Alisa Hope Wagner: Christian Writer

February 20, 2011

Find Your Happy Feet

My kids were at the optometrist for an eye exam, and the movie, Happy Feet, was playing in the waiting room. I was intrigued by the main character, Mumble -- a name that represents his weakness (he can't sing). He was born different. No matter what he did, he could not fit in. The other penguins couldn't understand him, so they rejected him.

He left and wandered the wilderness; finally free from the expectations of tradition, he cultivated his gifting. When he returned to his home, he no longer feared the opinions of others. He was determined to express his gift; and as the penguins embraced this change, he was given a new name, Mambo (he can dance).

Little did Mambo know that his uniqueness was given to him for a reason. The life of penguins was transitioning, and Mambo was able to prepare them for the change. The older penguins fought the change, but the process of life can't be stopped. Life will never be stagnant or frozen in time. The established customs of the past are not always applicable in the future.

As a teacher, I've felt the movement of life first hand. Though my rules, justice and love never changed, my system of doing things had to keep up with the growth of my students. I cared about my students' education more than my comfortable way of teaching. When I saw my students becoming disinterested or lost, I knew it was time for something new. I changed my style, my systems and my presentations to better serve them. This made teaching a constant source of struggle and movement, but it was worth it because I grew along with them.

What does it mean to be a Christian? Many people check off all the traditions involved with being a Christian, but the core of Christianity is to love God (Mark 12.30 NIV). We are supernaturally able to love God through the righteousness we gain from Jesus' sacrifice on the cross, through the received gift of the Holy Spirit and through the amazing force of God's Word, the Bible.

Systems are formed by the direction of God's Spirit throughout history, so that each generation can better know how to love Him; and these systems change through the years. You can study God's waves of movement in the Old and New Testaments and in church history. God loves His people so much that He presents Himself in revolutionary ways. His rules, justice and love never change; but God is so full and so mysterious that there are infinite attributes to His divine nature, and each generation is able to taste something new!

Many times God plants a seed of change -- a vision -- in His people, which will help facilitate His movement. He placed a seed in Abraham, Moses, King David, Nehemiah, John the Baptist, Paul, Constantine, Martin Luther, and so on. And God placed Jesus at the center of this movement with his left arm embracing the past and his right arm embracing the future, holding the balance of existence in His pierced hands. These people were different, and they were all shunned by their peers because they didn't fit in. But, they found their calling in the wilderness and returned to share God's grace to the desert places of the human heart.

God loves us more than traditions or customs (though there is nothing inherently wrong with them), and He wants to reach His children by the movement of His Spirit. So my question to Christians is what about you is different? What vision has God planted in your life that will reap a harvest of grace in the next generation? Allow God to take you into the wilderness, so you can find your "Happy Feet" beyond the opinions of our current culture. Then, share your vision with those around you, so that the next generation will know how to love their God.

“Forget the former things;
do not dwell on the past.
See, I am doing a new thing!
Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?
I am making a way in the wilderness
and streams in the wasteland" (Isaiah 43.18-19 NIV).

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Blogger Chocolate Covered Daydreams said...

I love how you expressed God's love for us in spite of traditions. It's in reaching out to someone in a way that they can grasp that is more important than following the play by play rule book.

Good post.

11:29 PM  
Blogger The Unknowngnome said...

I just want to shout yahoo, wooohooo and amen. You explain so well what it means to be a Christian and to add to the core, love your neighbor as yourself.

I don't know if I have a vision that will reap a harvest but I do plant seeds.

You're such a gifted a writer! So good!

10:25 AM  
Blogger Wanda said...

Alisa, you weaved together a great thought provoking post. Sometimes we spend a lot of time trying to fit in that we fail to embrace our differences.

10:32 AM  
Blogger K.M. Weiland said...

Great post. The emphasis on movement is a good point. God doesn't want us to stagnate in one spot, just because it's safe or comfortable. He wants us moving, running, dancing, climbing mountains!

11:23 AM  
Blogger Deborah Ann said...

Oh my, yes! God doesn't change, but He likes to change things and people!

For a couple of years I traveled all over the U.S. to Christian conferences. I would beg God to let me encounter Him each time. And He did. But each encounter was...different. I would always expect the same thing to happen that happened at the last place, but it was always new and fresh and unique. I love that about God.

Didn't see 'Happy Feet' yet, but now I have to!

11:53 AM  
Blogger Finding said...

Most seculars have such a different vision of God and what His purpose is in our lives.

We, as Christians, know that God isn't some magical spell that makes us different - We are a constant on-going project in His eyes and we all leave seeds along the way. M

Many times we don't know if the seeds grow or not; they may not grow for another 10 years but - yet the important thing is that God wants us to keep planting and He will do the rest!

12:51 PM  
Blogger Lacey said...

This has soo been on my mind. Sort of has to do with what I am studying and my current post in a sense.

4:51 PM  
Blogger Bernadine said...

I love the movie Happy Feet and I found myself nodding as I read your post. I love that God uses those who appear to be different, who don't fit in to do His work.

4:56 PM  
Blogger Renee Ann said...

I really like this line: Jesus is "holding the balance of existence in His pierced hands." Great words to dwell on. I know we should not stagnate and must keep growing, but the world around us seems to be changing so rapidly--it's good to know Jesus is the stabilizing force.

7:06 PM  
Blogger Kristen Torres-Toro said...

What a great analogy!

9:20 PM  
Blogger Michael Manning said...

Alisa: As always, I enjoyed this post. Particularly, "I am making a way in the wilderness". This teaches me to pay attention to the many positive initiatives God is doing as we speak! By the way, I can't help but notice I'm one of the few men who comment here. :)

11:58 PM  
Blogger Sharon Kirby said...

First of all, those are some of my very favorite verses in the whole Bible. God doing new things - it's so very exciting!

I think the biggest vision I want to display to the next generation is this - that the world's definition of love, and success, and happiness is really based on lies, if it isn't based on God. I want them to see something in me that displays the joy of being a Christian, even when it doesn't make sense - when circumstances warrant something else.

I want them to know that there is only one Answer to every longing and desire and wish in their hearts - there is only one Someone who can fill the empty hole in their souls - there is only One...

Thanks for this, Alisa - really enjoyed it!


4:55 PM  
Blogger Connie Mace said...

"Then, share your vision with those around you, so that the next generation will know how to love their God."...and this is our hear The Voice of GOD and share with others...thank you for reminders of GOD's Truth

8:27 PM  
Blogger Spacerguy said...

Four things cultivate success. Work and pray, think and believe.

12:51 PM  
Blogger Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Hi Alisa -

Amen! Beautifully said.

Susan :)

8:51 PM  
Blogger Dean Spencer said...

Alisa -

All I can say Again, I am taken in by your analogy.

I definitely see the need for "God to take me into the wilderness to find my 'Happy Feet.'"

As the world continues to change at its rapid pace, Christians too need to adjust to minister to an increasingly lost and hopeless world. I pray that we catch God's vision and reach people with the message of the gospel while we still can.

Great post as always! God bless!

9:07 PM  
Blogger lioneagle said...

Hi Alisa -

I much loved this piece. It truly ministered to me.

In particular, I love this that you expressed, " We are supernaturally able to love God through the righteousness we gain from Jesus' sacrifice on the cross, through the received gift of the Holy Spirit and through the amazing force of God's Word, the Bible.

"And God placed Jesus at the center of this movement with his left arm embracing the past and his right arm embracing the future, holding the balance of existence in His pierced hands."

Wow! that is powerful, Alisa. I praise GOD that He shared that with you and that you shared it with us.

Sidebar: There are some similarities in what you shared here and my two most recent posts.
One post is called, "OFF WITH THEIR HEADS! HOW DARE THEY HAVE THE MIND OF CHRIST." The other is titled, "HAIL! THERE'S A LION IN THE LAMB." Both got some interesting comments...

7:05 AM  
Blogger Toyin O. said...

This is so true, I found my happy feet fourteen years ago and I have never looked back. The only opinion that matters to me is God. Praise Jesus for that.

12:50 PM  
Blogger Shauna Renee' said...

As always, God prompts me to log in when I need to be filled; thank you for being His vessel!

2:52 PM  

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