Joy and a Little Red Wagon

I recently watched the Disney Pixar movie “Inside Out”. I had heard a lot of good things about it and even heard that parts of it would make me cry. Truth? It did. The whole movie revolves around five characters who represent the emotions in the mind of the main character, Riley. There’s Joy, Sadness, Disgust, Anger and Fear. They all live at “Headquarters”, the control center of Riley’s mind. Joy is, of course, the bubbly, happy character who tries to constantly keep the others at bay so she can keep Riley happy. But when Riley’s family moves and everything changes, Riley’s other emotions start to take control. Without going into the whole story, Joy eventually loses her way and ends up far away from Headquarters, trying desperately to make her way back.

One scene in particular stuck with me. While Joy is displaced from Headquarters, she ends up in a pit full of forgotten memories with Riley’s imaginary childhood friend and they are frantically trying to get out. They find the wagon that Riley and the friend once used to pretend to fly to the moon. As they sing and chant a song from Riley’s childhood, they begin flying up toward the ledge that will lead them back. Each time they come so close but always fall short. Joy just can’t get there. (I won’t spoil the movie by telling you how she finally made it).


My point, though, is this. I could totally see this happening in my own mind. My Joy, flying up, up toward the goal, trying to bring me back from the pit of despair. Some days she makes it and some days she is just shy of the goal. The other emotions tend to get in the way, especially Fear and Sadness. They want control all the time. In the movie, the emotions run the control panel and Joy tries to keep a good check on things there. I’d imagine that most of the time the control panel in my own mind looks a little like a nuclear meltdown. The emotions stunned. Something like this…


Pictured (L-R): Sadness, Fear, Anger, Disgust, Joy. ©2015 Disney•Pixar. All Rights Reserved.

 I know Joy is there and wants to be in control the majority of the time but like the Joy in the movie, sometimes she loses the way and has to work through a lot of issues to get to the place she needs to be. I just need those other emotions to get out of the way when they aren’t truly needed and bring me back to my JOY. So next time, I’ll picture myself in a red wagon, flying toward the goal and knowing that if I don’t make it on the first attempt, all I have to do is keeping trying.

Philippians 4:13 – I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.








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