I was thinking about Cinderella while preparing for princess club. Born into a wealthy family, with a father that lavished his love upon her, Cinderella might have been ill-prepared for a cruel stepmother and wicked stepsisters. I mean after the tragic death of her father, she was forced to perform some of the most awful tasks. Clean bed pans, muck the stables, wash the floors, clean the curtains, make all meals, and so much more, EVERY DAY!! Most of us probably would have rebelled and sought revenge on such malevolence. Either that or complained incessantly...(I'll muck YOUR stable...) She didn't.
You know the story. Cinderella worked joyfully, even singing around the house. Okay, she may have gone a bit crazy, I mean she talked to animals and made clothes for mice...yeesh. Yet she managed to find peace and happiness in the midst of what could have been an extremely unhappy existence. She somehow discovered a way to serve and maintain her inner beauty and integrity while those around her behaved quite, well, quite nasty.
This fairytale favorite got me thinking about my own life. I don't always whistle while I work, joyfully and thankfully performing my "chores." I don't always reign with grace and love. In fact, I've been known a time or two (or three hundred) to behave more like the demanding stepsisters. Am I pretty enough? Do I have enough? What about me? Make my bed. Buy me a new dress. Bring me some tea. Me. Me. Me.
A true princess will learn to leave behind her own selfish motives for the betterment of her Kingdom. To crucify the flesh, as Paul puts it. She does this when she has discovered that life is not about her own glory. It's about His.
I love this rendition of Jasmine from Aladdin, one of my favorite Disney princess movies. She is absolutely STUNNING. She looks every bit the part of a royal princesses. However, we really don't know who the woman in this picture is or what motives reside within her heart. Only God does. He is not interested in how well we can do our make-up or how many "good deeds" we do, or how even how many ministries we start. His priority is creating in us an inner loveliness.
Let me remind you that while Cinderella was loyal to the seemingly menial tasks assigned by her step-family, there was something much deeper being developed in her. After all, in the end she became the princess of a great kingdom and the wife to a wonderful future king. Not too shabby!!
Remember, the "jobs" that God has us doing today are usually part of the process of preparing us for a promotion tomorrow. Learning to embrace where we are and what we are doing right now is critical to our reigning effectively today as well as tomorrow. Bemoaning and complaining about our current assignments will only make the work seem miserable.
We are reminded to: "Do everything without grumbling or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, “children of God without fault in a warped and crooked generation.” Then you will shine among them like stars in the sky." ~Philippians 2:14-15
So here's the challenge! No matter what your day entails, thank God for His patience, love, grace, mercy, and hope. If you know how to whistle, do it!! Give a little whistle while you work. Break out into song (pretend you're a member of Glee!). It doesn't matter if you can even sing in key. Speak positive words to your own self as well as those around you. Wipe out the three dreadful C's: condemning, criticizing, and complaining. After all, we have good reason to joyful.
This is a picture I drew for one of my older princesses, Karen, in the community. She was going through a very hard time, literally living the life of a modern day Cinderella. At the time, she was living with an aunt who was abusing her verbally and taking advantage of her financially. The Lord gave me this picture to draw for her, that He was her prince and had come to claim her as his own. I know the Lord longs to do this for each of us. He has claimed us as His own and is jealous for us...Someday we will live in a perfect palace, with the perfect Prince of Peace, forever and ever. Life on earth is the short end of eternity. But it's time to start living as if we're already there...