What Frozen II Taught Me About Leadership In Times Of Crisis

As with so many parents right now under quarantine, I’m being powered by a handful of essentials: God the Father, God the Son, God the Holy Spirit, Coffee, Alcohol (in moderation people!) and Disney+. Can I get an amen?

Speaking of Disney+, I would tell you how many times we’ve watched Frozen II so far, but the shame would be too much to bear! Ha. 😉 Plus, since we are under quarantine, I wouldn’t be able to walk around outside with a bell yelling “shame” over and over again! However, one redemptive quality of watching the movie on repeat has been the life and leadership lessons gleaned from it.

Honestly, I’ve been thinking quite a bit about leadership in times of crisis, I just didn’t think that Frozen II would be my inspiration. Alas, I also didn’t think a massive pandemic would happen either, yet here we all are together. So in light of COVID-19, quarantine, the common grace of Disney+, a desire to lead faithfully in times of crisis and the wisdom of Frozen II, I present to you – five leadership principles for times of crisis.

Step Into the Unknown

Early in the movie Elsa hears a sound calling to her. There is a sense of summoning attached to it, yet she is afraid to pursue it. As with any Frozen movie, the sound necessitates a song. She sings, I can hear you but I won’t / Some look for trouble while others don’t / There’s a thousand reasons I should go about my day / And ignore your whispers which I wish would go away. I think many of us feel this way now. We don’t want to be facing a pandemic, but these are the cards that have been dealt. We can try to avoid it, be paralyzed by it or face it head on. Despite Elsa’s fears, she steps into the unknown. As leaders, we must step into this unknown. None of us have lead through a pandemic before, but we are leaders and those principles haven’t changed. Though we step into the unknown, we step into it with a God who knows all things. Follow His lead and take your people with you.

Fear is What Can’t Be Trusted

There is a scene where Elsa says this line and I couldn’t shake it. “Fear is what can’t be trusted”. We live in a world that is saturated with sensational media that loves to cultivate fear, so they can keep you coming back for more. On the flip side, blind faith, ungrounded optimism and recklessness isn’t what can be trusted either. Over and over in the scripture, God commands us to “fear not”. Isaiah 41 tells us to fear not because God is with us and will uphold us. Armed with that truth, we can trust God and look for the most objective information we can find on how to handle the current situation. Fear can’t be trusted, but God can. Trust him, pray, seek the best journalism you can find and wisely plot a way forward the best you can.

Run Your Race

Again, we find ourselves listening to another Elsa ballad. If you haven’t seen any of the Frozen movies, are you seeing a pattern here? (Also, have you been living under a rock?!?). She sings, Step into your power / Grow yourself / Into something new / You are the one you’ve been waiting for / All of my life. Now, I’m not a huge fan of the “self-help” vibe of the song, but I am a strong proponent for you stepping into the calling God has for you! God has given you specific time, talent and treasure to be utilized for the kingdom. It’s easy to be discouraged by comparing yourself to others, but if you spend all your time comparing your race then that means you are not spending time running your race! Leaders, just do what you can, with what you have, where you are. That’s all God is asking you to do. Be faithful and run your race.

Do the Next Right Thing

Now we pivot to Anna, the less supernaturally powered yet endlessly optimistic sister of Elsa. She is faced with a daunting task that she has to face alone during one stretch of the movie. This grief has a gravity / It pulls me down / But a tiny voice whispers in my mind / You are lost, hope is gone / But you must go on/ And do the next right thing” Yes, our grief is real during this time and it would be easy to grow hopeless, but we must go on and do the next right thing. She ends the song, Just do the next right thing/ Take a step, step again / It is all that I can to do /The next right thing. Y’all, just do the next right thing. Ask yourself, “what is in my control to do and is it right?” Then go do that thing. Take on step and then step again. That is all you can do.

We Need Each Other

At the end of the day, Frozen II is not just a movie about Elsa discovering her “true self” or Anna stepping into her royal office, but about a community that fights for one another. It’s not just about Elsa or Anna, but also Kristoff, Olaf and the host of new characters that are introduced. God said that it was not good for man to be alone and that we should “bear each others burdens” (Gal. 6:2). Leaders, lean into the gifts of your community, mobilize, delegate and commission them to the work. We will get through this, but we will need each other to do so. Together is the only way forward.

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