When my friends and I tuned into see the seven pm screening of Disney’s newly released, and highly anticipated live-action version of Cinderella one Saturday night, I couldn’t help but hear the whispered words, ‘You’re in for a sweet treat’ echo inside me before the film’s magic had even commenced. And my, did the whisper later spell true! From the charming script, to the glass slipper pumps, I stayed enthralled by how real and faithful the story accredited the original ‘1950s’ classic. But what I didn’t expect to grasp from this timeless tale were the very themes, values, morals and countless Christian similarities whirled in and around this modern remake. Reaching home just before the stroke of midnight (literally), I began bringing this post to life as inspiration from the motion picture filled my soul and mind in more ways than known numbers. So, without further ado allow me to share ten memorable lessons a night with Cinderella taught me, ones I hope go onto encourage you also!
1. You sow what you reap…
Throughout her 140 minutes of feature film, Cinderella depicted the ‘Reap what you sow’ scripture on numerous occasions, but a vast majority of the motto existed in the magical moments leading up to the grand ball. After descending the stairwell in her late mother’s dress, Cinderella desperately attempted to accompany her stepmother and stepsister’s to the Prince’s ball, only to be left shattered within seconds by the cruelty of all their calloused hearts as they brutally destroyed her pink satin gown to pieces and fiercely marked, ‘You shall not go to the ball’.
When the trio departed, a left behind Cinderella, shunned from the party and the family’s presence sought out refuge and heartache in the midst of her garden. Although teary-eyed and humiliated, Ella soon found her kindred spirit put to the ultimate test when she encountered an old beggar woman.
‘Can you help me miss, just a little crust of bread or a cup of milk’, the beggar gently asked while she peering into the sobbing maiden’s eyes.
‘Yes, I think I can find something for you’, Cinderella responded as she shed her remaining tears and selflessly abandoned her own grief and agony, all so she could fulfil the mysterious woman’s one wish.
‘A bowl of milk’ was all Cinderella grasped from her small, yet noble offering, to which the secretive outsider answered, ‘What is a bowl of milk? Nothing, But kindness makes it everything’.
With no time to waste and the help of a magic wand at hand, goodness proved its power and the mendicant in reality revealed to be a fairy godmother, equipped to reciprocate kindness and change Cinderella’s misfortunes, forever. The trailers voiceover, ‘Where there is goodness, there is magic’ came alive in this spectacular scene as a home-grown pumpkin merged into a golden carriage, a pink tattered dress swirled into the iconic, dreamy blue gown from the famous animation and a pair of worn-out flats altered themselves into cheeky glass slippers, ones which later held the very authority to elect Cinderella’s fairy-tale fate and Happily Ever After. In this favourable part I instantly became reminded of Proverbs 19:17, ‘He who is kind to the poor lends to the Lord and he will reward him for what he has done’. Cinderella’s warmth was rewarded in far greater ways than she what she could have ever dazed to dream or imagine, and just like her fairy godmother, our God does not oversee the kindness and goodness we choose to freely bestow on others, especially those in need of our aid the most. God is rich in love, faith and mercy, and He will set out to bless us a thousand times over from the original seed we sowed and nurtured.
2. Enjoy the moment!!!
When her pumpkin coach arrived fashionably late outside the palace steps, Cinderella, who resembled every inch the fairy-tale on the outside, soon failed to feel the same on the inside, realising that underneath all the frills and fairy dust she was still her ordinary self.
‘I’m frightened…I’m only a girl, not a princess’, Ella whispered aloud as she stared up at the tower of steps resting ahead.
‘And I’m only a lizard, not a footman. Enjoy it while it lasts’, replied the former reptile, now transformed entourage (thanks to a little magic earlier) after he overheard his friend’s voice crackle with self-doubt. In that moment, the lizard footman encouraged Ella to appreciate the fact that miracles don’t happen every day, nor to everyone, and she should relish the opportunity given rather than worry about all the little details.
Cheered on by the wise words, Cinderella smiled and carried herself with poise up the awaited staircase and through the castles furnished halls before she finally overlooked the marble ballroom suited below. It was then and there that she stole not just the prince’s attention, but all the guest’s in attendance as well. Ella had no idea what the evening would go onto hold. She never imagined meeting the prince, let alone falling head over heels in love with him. But, she believed in, ‘Courage, kindness and occasionally just a little bit of magic’ and was determined to seek the most out of the once in a lifetime chance she was generously granted. Instead of questioning His plans and blessings, God wants us to enjoy and make the most out of every good moment offered when the appointed time comes.
3. Inner beauty needs no magic…
Even after endearing a dramatic new makeover, it seemed nearly impossible to fathom how Cinderella was still blissfully and remarkably unaware of what her natural beauty had soared onto become. My favourite lines of all in this spellbinding story occurred as the picture perfect couple twirled affectionately about the ballroom, while an array of vibrantly dressed guests encircled their memorable first dance together. Catching a glimpse to all the envied gazes fixated upon them, Cinderella uttered to Kit (aka Prince Charming), ‘They’re all looking at you’.
Although Ella’s external appearance had in every way transformed into the angelic princess her fairy godmother must have strategically envisioned, her humble and honest heart had on the other hand gone unscathed by the magic wand. You see, there was no need for any magic on Ella’s soul; it was alluring all on its own, but the enchanting makeover did give the audience, prince and kingdom a chance to see this young maiden’s outer appearance finally reflect the exact beauty she so sacredly carried inside. And let’s not forget the prince’s part in this priceless scene either, for he too proved just as genuine and wonderful as he quickly rushed to correct Ella’s words.
‘Believe me. They’re all looking at you’, Kit poetically responded as he captivated most of the ladies hearts in the audience while saying so. (Well my heart at least!) Cinderella’s shift from rags to riches was not about changing who you are to conform or fit in, but instead about giving your beautiful soul a chance to shine through for the world’s eyes to see.
4. Gentlemen are the real Prince Charming’s…
Intrigued by her natural beauty, but more so by her fearsome and courageous approach to stand up for what’s right and treat everyone with kindness, Kit saw Cinderella for who she truly was.
‘She was a pretty girl, but there was so much more to her’, the prince passionately expressed to his father moments after he met the fascinating maiden while riding in the woods. Once acquainted again at the ball and shortly after sharing an unforgettable dance, Kit took a hold of Ella’s hand and murmured, ‘Come with me’, as he ushered her away from the party room of wondering eyes. But instead of whisking her off to the quarter chambers of his bedroom, the gentle and respectful prince romantically escorted the young lady to his secret and sacred garden. ‘
I’ve never shown this place to anyone’, Kit sweetly revealed as he openly shared his hidden sanctuary with Ella. As Cinderella sat on his charming swing (one surprisingly big enough for her in her huge dress to fit perfectly on), the couple talked, smiled and let their award-winning chemistry fly free for all to see. And no such lust or impureness had to even evolve for their feelings of affection to naturally grow. The prince certainly gave today’s modern men a figure to finally admire and aspire to be like, illustrating how it doesn’t nor shouldn’t yield men any effort at all to treat women with tenderness, warmth and respect. There are existent princes inside this world and in our generation who will enjoy opening up the secret gardens of their heart’s to us and allowing love to flourish beautifully in God’s own perfect timing.
5. Ladies, let him pursue you…
Before gaining the chance to reveal her true identity, the kingdom’s clock chimed 11:59, and a mesmerised Cinderella quickly began to flee both the prince and palace grounds, not on her own terms but on the spells. Nevertheless, the prince, infatuated by the mysterious maiden and not yet ready to end their momentous date (at least without a name), opted to swiftly chase the blue ball gown back through the garden’s lit up path, via the crowded ballroom, and down the open-aired steps. Though Cinderella and her chariot managed to immerse the scene before, ‘All would return to what it was’, needless to say the same went for one of her glass shoe’s, fatefully becoming left behind on the footsteps after slipping loose during the hurried escape. As the prince swept the fragile slipper into his hands, he summoned both the Captain and the Grand Duke to try and stop the horse-drawn carriage before it dispersed late into the night.
‘You had to go and choose that one didn’t you?’ The Captain ironically asked Kit before he bolted to embark on the great pumpkin coach chase.
‘Yes I did’, Kit answered with a smile he couldn’t wipe free from his face as he remained behind with the beautiful shoe still perfectly intact.
A chanced upon meeting in the forest and a few limited hours at the ball was all it took for the prince to realise Cinderella was the one for him and worth the ultimate pursuit. Even after his guard’s firmly reported that the girl at the ball had indeed vanished, the prince still refused to give up hope.
‘I have to see her again’, Kit stated before he sent forth his men to, ‘Spare no effort’ while they searched the entire land for the nameless beauty. Ladies, that’s what pursuit should look like. Had Cinderella taken the risk and claimed a hold of her slipper, she never would have discovered how much the prince loved and wanted her, nor would she have gone onto become the people’s princess. Why not wish this same kind of pursuit on ourselves? Why not ‘Dare to dream’, and endeavour to see that we are precious rubies, well worth being pursued, desired, treasured, and loved. Trust me, if he’s Prince Charming it will be worth leaving your new shoes behind.’
(Note: All quotes in italic blue belong to the 2015 Cinderella film.)
Image taken by author