By Emma Whitaker | Broadcast Reporter
I grew up in a household of three girls, and movies were robustly a part of our culture. After a long week, nothing seemed better than snuggling up on our couch and watching a sassy chick flick. Movies opened up the worlds outside our small town. They helped our minds discover vibrant, creative passions. My sisters and I formed a secret society just like that of “Little Woman,” and acted out plays similar to those in “Anne of Green Gables.” We had so much fun frolicking in graveyards, filming our latest masterpieces.
Suddenly, I came to college and realized movies had destroyed me. They had birthed angst-filled expectations inside of my heart. I, a brimming, wide-eyed freshman, had been walking into Penland Dining Hall every morning expecting to meet the man of my dreams next to the omelet bar or coffee station. I didn’t know that in the next few weeks, the Lord would pull a fast one on me, and my life would never be the same.
One day, I was sitting in my Texana dorm room, and, for what felt like the first time, God spoke to me pretty clearly. I felt like God told me to stop watching movies all together, that He was going to rewrite my heart’s desires and expectations. For the next two months, I didn’t watch a single bit of anything or talk to a boy in the slightest, outside of class. Those two months were the best two months of my life.
I fell in love with Jesus. I had never felt so free before. I realized I didn’t need to worry about singleness. I would spend the rest of my life single, if that’s what it meant to be more intimate with Him. I would do anything to be closer to Him. It was a sudden shift in my heart, but it was all I needed. The way I saw myself altered in this scene was better than any movie moment I had ever encountered.
Obviously, expectations are not simply a movie-watcher’s problem. It’s a humanity problem. We all create them; it’s a way to make sense of our lives. Yet, looking back, I regret all the hours I spent watching someone else’s life one screen. I ached to live in a fantasy world, turning a blind eye to the real one. I’m not saying I don’t still watch movies; I do. However, I am now altogether too aware of the power this action can hold, if you allow it.
When I have a girl one day, I don’t want her to watch movie after movie that screams, “You need a man!” and her think this is reality. I don’t want her to watch Sandra Bullock in “Miss Congeniality” and think its normal for women to be disrespected for not looking like a model. I don’t want anything to cheat my girl one day from knowing that her value rests in her Creator. She will know she is loved. She will know she is perfect just the way she is.
Emma is a junior journalism major from Temple.