by Laura Araujo
It was the start of a busy summer morning. My girls were parked on the couch for a few minutes of TV time (aka personal sanity time) while I straightened up the kitchen after breakfast. An episode of the Disney cartoon Sofia the First came on. For those who haven’t seen it, the premise of the show is that Sofia and her mom were “village people” until her mom marries the king of Enchantia. The ever-kind Sofia suddenly becomes a princess and struggles to find her place among her new family, royal balls and princess school.
I was half watching from the kitchen as Sofia and her princess friends had to go through a princess test to demonstrate they have the skills needed to be a “true princess.” Most of the princesses are confident in their abilities, but having recently become a princess, Sofia is apprehensive about the test.
On the way to the princess academy, old Mrs. Higgins asks each of the princesses for help carrying a big pile of books to her home. Each of the girls offers her an apology; they can’t be late for the big test. However, Sofia decides to help. She ends up falling in the mud and very tardy for her test. In the end, we learn Mrs. Higgins is actually one of the princess school professors in disguise and Sofia receives highest honors on the test. After all, “a true princess always helps someone in need.” The other princesses, so focused on successfully completing their task, missed their mission when it appeared.
Suddenly this simple show for kids served me a wakeup call.
I wondered, does this describe my life as a Christian? Am I so focused on my mission—my work, my kids, my home, my desires—that I fail to recognize God’s mission? Do I neglect to listen when the Holy Spirit speaks and thereby fail to live up to what it means to be a “true Christian”? I hope this isn’t true, but I fear it sometimes is.
A Scripture I have been meditating on in recent days says, “So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal” (2 Corinthians 4:18). When Paul wrote this, it was in the context of the persecution he was experiencing as he shared the Gospel of Jesus Christ. He endured the hardships of life by keeping his focus on his eternal purpose, knowing his earthly troubles were only temporary.
Though I’m not experiencing persecution as Paul was, I learn from his example. It helps me to set my priorities straight. Otherwise, it’s easy to get caught up in what is “seen”—the demands and desires of this life—and fail at the “unseen” mission of God’s kingdom. Paul’s example reminds me to listen to the Holy Spirit as I go about my day.
C.S. Lewis said it this way in Mere Christianity, “It is since Christians have largely ceased to think of the other world that they have become so ineffective in this. Aim at Heaven and you will get earth “thrown in”: aim at earth and you will get neither.”
My prayer is that I will more and more become a person who walks according to God’s Spirit so that—like the fictional Sofia—I will be able to recognize my true mission when it appears before me and in doing so be effective for God’s kingdom.
Laura Araujo is a pastor’s wife, a mom, and a graduate of Asbury Theological Seminary with a master’s degree in biblical studies. She often finds faith lessons in the everyday events of life.