Everything is Awesome

I slid into my theater seat next to my 10-year old popcorn munching, Icee slurping son. The lights dimmed, the feature presentation got underway and I settled in for 90 minutes of light entertainment. But I got more than I bargained for when I went to the movies that Saturday afternoon.

Quite unexpectedly I found myself watching parts of my life on the big screen.

Now if I were the casting director I would have picked Julia Roberts or Cameron Diaz, someone quirky and pretty, to play me. Definitely someone who is a little bit better than I am in real life. I’d want the actor who portrays me to show me in the best possible light.

But no. Up there larger than life, immortalized on the silver screen, the character playing me was an animated Lego guy. Yup. I am Emmett from The Lego Movie.

Emmett follows rules. Cheerfully. His Rulebook promises that certain prescribed actions will make him popular and successful. From the way he greets his neighbors, to his interactions with his co-workers, his steps are guided and predictable. Emmett wants to do what is expected of him and he wants to belong.

Except the Rulebook doesn’t quite deliver on its promise to make him popular and likable. Emmett is invisible in his own life. But his real challenges start when life diverts from The Plan and he faces situations that the rules don’t cover.

At that point in the movie things got uncomfortably familiar. Life imitates art, even Lego art. Events in life have a way of defying logic and predictability. Even if we do all the things we are supposed to do.

For rule followers, rules give us comfort because we know what is expected of us. And in a way we are looking for guaranteed outcomes. It’s a kind of karmic approach to life. If you treat others the way you want to be treated, you will be treated well. Right?

We expect life to be like a math problem. 1+1=2 Every single time. So we do the things that are supposed to give us the life we want.

A good education will lead us to a good job and happiness.

Working hard will lead to prosperity, home ownership, and happiness.

Finding a life partner with similar values and goals will lead to romance, fulfillment, and happily ever after.

When we are faced with outcomes that defy our expectations we struggle to find a reason, a rule we didn’t follow just right. This is what happens when we blame victims for the bad things that happen to them. When friends get divorced, we want to figure out how they are different than we are so we can feel safe in our marriages. When a young woman dies when a car hits her bicycle, people want to know if she was wearing a bike helmet. We hear “lung cancer” and think “smoker?” Childhood diseases throw us off completely. We want to know why. We want order and sense.

Rule following is supposed to be a sort of inoculation against bad things. But God never promises we won’t face hard things.

Do you want a Biblical guarantee? Storms will come. The promise is God will walk with us through those storms.

“Then they cried out to the Lord in their trouble and he brought them out of their distress. He stilled the storm to a whisper; the waves of the sea were hushed. They were glad when it grew calm, and he guided them to their desired haven.” Psalm 107:28-30

Sometimes faithfully following the rules is more about having control in our lives. I was surprised when I realized that I, a mostly easy-going, go-with-the-flow type B person, have a control problem.

In The Lego Movie, the rituals and routines that brought order and comfort to Emmett’s world fell apart. But the simple idea that he was Special changed his perspective and without the safety net of expectations to order his actions, Emmett became a hero. When the Rulebook was discarded, he found courage and creativity he never realized he had.

“A person’s steps are directed by the Lord. How then can anyone understand their own way?” Proverbs 20:24

If we think we can control our lives, we will be frustrated, anxious, and angry when things don’t turn out the way we think they should. It helps me to remember God is not surprised when storms come. He is with us and he directs our steps. And if we have the faith to follow those steps into the unknown, we may find ourselves doing totally unexpected things. Like writing a blog post about finding spiritual truth in The Lego Movie.

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15 Responses to Everything is Awesome

  1. What am I missing not having a 10 year old (grandchild?) Love you lady and wish we could see you all face to face….

  2. Spot on. Thank you for your beautiful writing and wisdom!

  3. I love this analogy, Charlotte! I’ve been a “bit” of a rule-follower in my life, as well. I’ve recently been reading a book by Emily Freeman entitled “Grace for the Good Girl.” She has been speaking to me about how being a good girl is not always so good. I love when you say, ” if we have the faith to follow those steps into the unknown, we may find ourselves doing totally unexpected things.” That’s where I am, as well. Stepping out in faith to be what God is calling me to…and it’s scary and I’m not sure what it all means…but I know if He’s in it, it’s going to be good. And I don’t have to follow all of the “rules” as long as I am following the Rule-maker. 😉

  4. Kathy Snyder says:

    You always make me smile and you did it again! I am going through something almost minor – and this gave me a smile! Thanks and hope you are doing well! How can we understand our own way – just step by small step.

  5. T.J says:

    I am from Compel.. You really hooked me in from the first moment and I relate so well! Thanks for sharing your talent!

  6. OH, we are going to be FRIENDS! Boy-mom, I totally get this. So glad to connect! Beautifully written!

  7. Becky Keife says:

    Fresh and funny and so true! Thanks for sharing, Charlotte. I resonate with seeking after those “guaranteed outcomes” too. But thankful with you that God is faithful at peeling back our need to control and showing up in every unexpected place.

  8. Dawn Larschied says:

    I’m from Compel. Now I HAVE to watch the Lego movie. Although, my youngest isn’t 10 years old, but 16, I wonder if he’ll go with me to see the movie. LOL. Thank you for sharing! It’s very refreshing to see things in a different perspective! -Dawn

    • Charlotte Hammer says:

      Thanks for commenting! I encourage you to go see it…I saw it again with my 19-year-old son. He liked it, too!

  9. I love this! I saw the movie and also thought there were some good life lessons in it! Visiting you from the WCCBloggers FB page 🙂 (and sharing this)

  10. Sue Holbrook says:

    Good job, Charlotte! I almost got to see the movie with all my grandkids last week but alas…the movie was closed for some crazy reason. However…we sure experienced God helping us through the storm the next day when my 8 year old granddaughter…also named Charlotte…had an accident on the trampoline and knocked out her permanent front tooth Wednesday afternoon. Yes, it was an awful time but with the leadership of an incredibly wonderful and caring pediatric dentist (who personally stayed on the phone with my daughter the whole time we searched) and the direction of the Holy Spirit, that tooth was found sitting up on a tuft of grass and it is now back in her mouth. All indications are that it should reattach and be fine. And we will be sure she remembers that God helped her through the storm. Thanks for your words about the movie. I will be sure to see it.

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