Follow by Email

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Four Spiritual Lessons from Pixar’s 'Inside Out'

I love animated films, and Pixar’s Inside Out was especially enjoyable. If you have not seen the movie, the story depicts Riley, an 11-year-old girl, coping with her family’s move from Minnesota to California. Her emotions—Joy, Anger, Fear, Disgust, and Sadness—work as a team to manage her transition from one place to another. Many Internet posts have been written about the lessons taught in the film regarding parenting, understanding emotions, and psychology. In addition to these great findings, I think there are a few spiritual lessons that can be taken from the movie as well.

1. Something Has to Die for Something to Grow
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.” 2 Corinthians 5:17 (NKJV)
 Riley has several personality “islands” that define who she is at her core. These include Family, Honesty, Hockey, Friendship, and Goofball Island. Throughout the film Riley loses each island as she struggles to adapt to her family’s move to a new state. As I watched the destruction of each island, I honestly thought Riley would become a vegetable. As Riley adjusts to her new home, her islands redevelop into bigger, better, and more joyful places. The solution to Riley’s problem was already within her. The personality islands simply needed an upgrade to handle the work in the next chapter of Riley’s life. Watching this process inspired thoughts of how God allows every heartache we endure in our own lives to strengthen the core of who he created us to be.


2. A Song of Release

“But I will sing of Your power; Yes, I will sing aloud of Your mercy in the morning; For You have been my defense And refuge in the day of my trouble.” Psalm 59:16 (NKJV)

Bing Bong, Riley’s imaginary friend, and Joy find themselves stuck in a dark place—The Memory Dump. With no way out, they uncover the rocket ship from Bing Bong and Riley’s past. The rocket, a wagon only powered by singing, is their last hope of escaping the ditch. Bing Bong and Joy sing as loud and as fast as they can, but cannot seem to get enough power to fly out of the abyss. During their last attempt, Bing Bong jumps off the rocket, making it light enough to carry Joy out of the Memory Dump. Although the weight of the past i.e., Bing Bong, was holding Joy back from getting out of the Memory Dump, Bing Bong was critical to helping Joy find and learn her freedom song. Oftentimes we want to forget the past, but taking time to reflect on your past may be the jolt you need to find your freedom.

(Source: Left:, Right:

3. When You’re Sad, Joy Is Working on Your Behalf
“Be strong and of good courage, do not fear nor be afraid of them; for the Lord your God, He is the One who goes with you. He will not leave you nor forsake you.” Deuteronomy 31:6 (NKJV)

Joy and Sadness become travel companions throughout the film. No matter what Joy tried to do, Sadness seemed to “mess things up.” In life, when our sadness seems to overwhelm us, look around for joy. Joy never stopped working on Riley’s behalf. She was a very present help, even when thing seemed hopeless.


4. Come as You Are
“Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy-laden, and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11:28 (NKJV)

Riley’s emotional state worsens throughout the movie. Her parents cannot decipher what is wrong with their daughter. They encouraged her to smile and “be happy.” Riley tries abiding by her parents wishes, but ultimately cannot find happiness in her situation. She’s friendless in a strange city and attending a new school while no longer participating in her favorite past times. Many times throughout the film Sadness tries to control Riley, but Joy always intercedes. Although Joy was assigned to manage Riley, during much of the movie, Joy only manages Sadness. Once Riley acknowledged she was sad about moving, Joy resumes charge of Riley’s total well-being, and Riley’s personality islands begin to redevelop.

We oftentimes look to God to solely manage our sadness, when He is fully capable of managing our total well-being. However, He can only assume this role, when we acknowledge where we are and how we truly feel about it. Rest is at the other end of self-reflection and honesty.

(Source: Left:; Right: Tumblr)

Hillsong - Inside Out

“In my heart and my soul
Lord I give You control
Consume me from the inside out
Lord let justice and praise
Become my embrace
To love You from the inside out”

Like. Share. Subscribe
What's your favorite 'Inside Out' moment?

No comments:

Post a Comment