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‘Frozen 2’ Shows Queen Elsa Vainly Chasing After Wintry Winds

This Disney franchise presents yourself as your own fulfillment, while the prophet Isaiah says God gives a better answer to our longings.
on Jan 18, 2024 · 2 comments

“You are the one you’ve been waiting for all your life.”

That line is the jewel at the center of the crown song in Disney’s Frozen 2 (2019), “Show Yourself.” This song title echoes the snow queen Elsa’s desperate search throughout the story. “Show yourself,” Elsa calls to the elusive voice that cries its melody through the night skies over Arendelle.

Spoiler: It turns out the actual call she’s been following has been herself all along.

For Elsa, this answer can make actual plot sense. This resolution works within the stories of Frozen (2013) and Frozen 2 because it serves as redemption. The spirit of Elsa’s mother has given Elsa permission to be a free person, after her parents stifled her with misguided attempts at protection. Elsa did have a particular tragic backstory, and she really did have a destiny to fulfill for the good of all.

One way or another, we share Elsa’s desire to find purpose

Wherever we look, we see messaging like “You are the one you’ve been waiting for all of your life.” Personality tests promise further self-understanding. Popular memoirs share journeys of discovering fulfillment in unique ways. Instagram and other social media sites give us self-discovery-and-expression factories.

In a sense, Elsa’s cry is the cry we all share. Why?

One very good reason is that we desire a sense of purpose. Frozen 2 shows this in Elsa’s first show-stopper song, “Into the Unknown.” When Elsa stops resisting the ethereal call she’s been hearing and starts following it instead, she gives her reason:

Or are you someone out there,
Who’s a little bit like me?
Who knows deep down
I’m not where I’m meant to be?

As she “feel[s] her power grow,” she admits that there’s a part of her that “longs” to follow the call. As she races after the voice, she begs, “Are you out there? Do you know me? Can you feel me? Can you show me?” In this progression, it seems that Elsa links being known with being shown. Shown what? Her purpose.

We sense that who we truly are is a clue to our purpose. And we all desire purpose.

‘Finding yourself’ can lead to endless chasing after wind

We humans are changeful creatures, so even if I am able to discover myself, that version of “self” likely won’t last for another ten years. As seasons and influences change, so does my sense of self.

The search for self, in and of itself, is a never-ending quest. It can send us into a spiral of unhealthy introspection. We’re left chasing a self that keeps slipping out of our grasp—“always learning but never able to come to a knowledge of the truth” (1. 2 Timothy 3:7, NIV). We may start out wanting to find ourselves to find our purpose, but because the self is such a slippery devil, it demands more searching, more finding—and makes itself the ultimate goal instead of the means to achieving our goal. We wanted to find purpose, but ended up on a vain wild goose chase.

That’s also what Frozen 2 ends up doing. “You are the one you’ve been waiting for all of your life” seems to have replaced Elsa’s original goal of finding transcendent, meaningful purpose. All along her goal was simply to find herself.

Scripture shows the true fulfillment of our desire

The prophet Isaiah shows us the Servant, a figure veiled in mists. Yet in some places that are often called the Servant Songs, this mist clears and reveals him with startling clarity. He seems to be the one for whom God himself longs, who will actually accomplish His will in the world. In suffering, he achieves victory.

Every description of this Servant stunningly matches what we know of Jesus (see Isaiah 50:6 and all of Isaiah 53). That’s why Christians believe this Servant is Jesus.

In the Servant Song of Isaiah 49:8–9, God speaks to the Servant:

Thus says the LORD: “In a time of favor I have answered you [the Servant]; in a day of salvation I have helped you; I will keep you and give you as a covenant to the people, to establish the land, to apportion the desolate heritages, saying to the prisoners, ‘Come out,’ to those who are in darkness, ‘Appear.’”

J. Alec Motyer translates “appear” as “show yourselves”1 In a world where we sing “Show Yourself” to ourselves, God has actually beaten us to it.

What is greater than us seeking out and finding our true selves as a clue to our meaning, our purpose? Isaiah 49:9 shows the source of all meaning and purpose coming to seek us. “Come out!” he says. “Appear! Show yourselves.”

Jesus’ “show yourself” is not just an expression of desire like ours and Elsa’s. He says this with authority. When he tells my true self to show itself, that true self has no choice but to appear. And it is probably not what my Myers-Briggs test led me to expect. It’s way uglier. Way more selfish. Yes, outside influences may have shaped my true self, but I’ve responded to those influences in sinful ways.

Yet he does not want to find us because we are so fascinating to him. God does not think I am a profound and wonderful mystery that is his delight to explore. He is the profound and wonderful mystery. He tells us, “Show yourselves!” because our selves are captives in need of saving, and he has come to shatter the prison cell.

Our ultimate purpose is to unite with God. He alone satisfies every desire—for life’s purpose, for lasting happiness, for death’s defeat, or for freedom from inadequacy and shame.

He doesn’t sit in some magical glacier or some heavenly throne waiting passively to be found. That source of all purpose is calling us and seeking us.

He is the one we’ve been waiting for all of our lives.

C. S. Lewis counsels:

Look for yourself, and you will find in the long run only hatred, loneliness, despair, rage, ruin, and decay. But look for Christ and you will find Him, and with Him everything else thrown in.”[Mere Christianity, C. S. Lewis (page 227).]

  1. Motyer, J. Alec. The Prophecy of Isaiah: An Introduction & Commentary, 1993. p. 391.
Shannon Stewart is a homeschooling mom of three and high school English teacher with an MA in English literature. She reads widely and voraciously, but her favorites are still books by and about C. S. Lewis and J. R. R. Tolkien. Her other interests include video games, Anglo-Saxons, and all forms of cheese. She blogs at The Word-Hoard, and all her (hitherto unpublished) fiction somehow ends up with the central theme of memory.
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  1. mha6106 says:

    Thanks for giving Frozen 2 some thoughtful, Biblical analysis. I also appreciate the tone of your article. Believe it or not, I think Frozen 2 is a retelling of the Bible’s story of redemption, from the fall to the lifting of the curse from all creation. I hope you and others might enjoy my thoughts regarding the heavy (if probably unintentional) Christian themes in Frozen 2 at my (fully illustrated!) blog at my website link here: https://minorprofitpress.com/2020/02/26/the-message-of-frozen-2-get-your-loves-in-order-why-everyone-is-wrong-about-frozen-part-two/

  2. mha6106 says:

    Correction: Whoops! The link above is to another Frozen 2 blog I did. The one that argues that Frozen 2 is a creative paraphrase of the Bible’s redemption story is at this link on my site: https://minorprofitpress.com/2019/12/07/the-gospel-according-to-olaf/

What say you?