My son and I went to see the Lego Movie on Saturday. I learned a lot about myself.
The Lego Movie tells the story of Emmet, an ordinary, run-of-the-mill Lego character. However, other characters come to believe he is a long-awaited hero – the one to save the world all the Lego characters live in. He is totally unprepared for this and as such ill equipped. All Emmet has ever done is follow instructions.
What follows are three lessons Emmet has to learn, and how I believe they are hidden messages for us all that amount to far more than just family entertainment.
1. Following the instructions will only take you so far
Emmet is encouraged to create something from within himself, rather than only follow instructions. His mentor tries to help him freestyle and create something that has never been created before. The bible has its own set of instructions which many of the first Christians were keen to continue following. However, the New Testament is absolutely clear about this: God’s laws might tell us what to do, but the Holy Spirit within us can tell us how to do it. However, many of us are simply following the “instructions” set out for us by a parent or peer. Some people are still trying to live up to a parent’s expectations, even after their parent has died!
We often find being told by others what to do reassuring. We don’t have to think! And if they turn out to be wrong, it wasn’t our fault!
But following the instructions of others will only create what others have created before. Following the Holy Spirit will allow you to listen to God’s individual plan for this moment in your life.
2. Don’t worry about what others are doing.
Back to the Lego Movie. Once on the road to creating something original for the first time, Emmet has to take his eyes off what other characters are building. It is so easy to compare our gifts and talents with those of others. We might look at how they solve a problem, deal with a situation, or what they have achieved. As soon as we do this we feel inadequate because we invariably focus on things they are good at that we could never do. Other people’s achievements are something to celebrate but not there as a yardstick to measure ourselves against. What they are building needs to be different from you. Then one day you might be able to help each other!
3. Build what only you can build.
Now we have moved away from the restrictions of instruction and the inadequacy caused by comparison, we are free to build what only we can build. Finally we are able to offer the world something truly original. This is the greatest mental challenge because by definition there will never have been anything like it before. It brings with it all the old insecurities and fears of failure. Don’t let fear stop you. This is your chance to be a pioneer and do something only you can do!
Now, if you’re brave enough, I challenge you to answer these questions honestly…
1. What “instructions” are you still following that you know you need to let go of?
2. Where have you been guilty of comparing yourself with others?
3. What is it you dream of doing / building that is unique to you?
4. What is your first step going to be?
And if you have any comments or questions, let me know in the form below!