It's All Junk!
March 25, 2023
Labyrinth! One of the best 80s movies, right?
If you haven’t seen it…well, we can’t be friends anymore. Go watch it first and then come back here. OK, just kidding, I’ll fill you in. Teenager Sarah wishes aloud that the goblins would come and take away her annoying baby brother Toby. And that night they do. She immediately regrets her wish, and it’s up to her to find her way through a complex labyrinth to the castle of the goblin king to rescue Toby, before the clock strikes midnight.
Spoiler alert: she does end up rescuing Toby at the end, but along the way her enemy, the goblin king Jareth (played by David Bowie), tries to thwart all of her progress through the labyrinth. He uses spies and confusion and distractions to try to keep her from succeeding in rescuing Toby. But she overcomes all of these things by reminding herself of her true mission: rescue Toby!
I loved this movie when I was growing up, and I still love it. Jim Henson’s muppets steal the show, and the mystery and clues along the way are sooo entertaining! But now that I’m an adult, I also recognize the parallels to my own spiritual journey. I am on a mission to help others know Jesus. God has called me specifically to help my own children and the women in my Arise Women’s Ministry find Jesus and know Him.
Before leaving this earth, Jesus said in Matthew 28:18-20:
All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.
If you are a follower of Christ, this is your mission too. But we do have an enemy who wants to confuse and distract us from this mission, just like Jareth the goblin king tried to confuse and distract Sarah in Labyrinth.
1 Peter 5:8-9
Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that your brothers throughout the world are undergoing the same kind of sufferings.
2 Corinthians 11:14:
And no wonder, for Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light.
Sometimes Satan uses good things to distract us from the best thing, which is our intimacy with God.
Here’s the part of the movie Labyrinth I want to draw your attention to today. Sarah is getting dangerously close to rescuing Toby in time, so Jareth gets her to eat a poisoned peach that puts her into a haze. She finds herself in a dreamlike ballroom, dancing with other people in fancy costumes. She’s overwhelmed by the crowd, the music, the scenery, the captivating goblin king….
…she has forgotten her mission to save Toby….but seeing a clock reminds her that there was something important she needed to do! She breaks free from the enchanted ballroom…
…and then lands back in her own bedroom. She sighs in relief! It was a dream, right? She sees all her familiar toys and things that she cherishes. But when she tries to leave her bedroom, she sees that just outside her room is the dump. A Junk Lady bustles into her room and begins eagerly distracting Sarah with all the pretty, wondrous items in Sarah’s room. The Junk Lady is desperate to keep Sarah from remembering the mission to save Toby!
Junk Lady: “Better to stay in here, dear. Yes, there’s nothing you want out there, no, no….What have we got here?….Oh, your little bunny rabbit. You like your little bunny rabbit, don’t you? Yes yes yes, there you go. Oooh, and there’s Betsy Boo, you remember Betsy Boo, don’t you? Yes yes yes.”
(She hands everything to Sarah while Sarah looks confused and struggles to remember what she was truly looking for).
Junk Lady: “Now then, what else have we got? What’s this? Oooh, let’s have a look…oooh, it’s a pencil box, got lots of pencils in it too. Oh, here’s your panda slippers, you know how much you like your panda slippers, you never wanted them far away, did you? There they are, that’s right, that’s right. Ok, now then, what else? Oh! It’s little horsey, you love little horsey, don’t you, dear? And look at this! You got a printing game, you have! Oh, here’s a treasure.”
(She hands Sarah some lipstick).
Junk Lady: “You’ll want that, won’t you, my dear? Yes, go on, put it on, make yourself up.”
(Sarah puts on lipstick).
Junk Lady: “And here’s dear old Flopsy. You’ll want her, right? There you go. Oh, yes, ahhh, oh yes, Charlie Bear, right? There’s Charlie Bear for you…”
Sarah: “There was something I was looking for…”
(Sarah picks up the Labyrinth book).
Junk Lady: “Don’t talk nonsense, it’s all here. Everything in the world you’ve ever cared about is all right here. Look! Here’s your toy candy shop….”
Sarah: (reading from the Labyrinth book) “Through dangers untold and hardships unnumbered…”
(Junk Lady begins to look nervous as Sarah reads, knowing Sarah is close to remembering that she is supposed to be looking for Toby).
Sarah: (continues reading) “I have fought my way here to the castle beyond the goblin city to take back the child you have stolen…” (Her memory is returning).
Junk Lady: (worried) “Ah, ah, what’s the matter, my dear? Don’t you like your toys?”
Sarah: (with sudden clarity) “It’s all junk!”
Junk Lady: “Ah, ah, well what about this?” (She hands Sarah a beautiful music box with a dancer on it). “THIS is not junk…hmmm?”
Sarah: “Yes, it IS!”
(Sarah throws the music box and the walls crumble). Sarah: “I HAVE TO SAVE TOBY!!!”
You guys. Do you see it? This is powerful. I know this is a kid’s movie and all, but this scene is deeper than that for me. Let me be honest with you about something.
During the past few years I have realized how much I look to the opinions of other people to find my value. Instead of knowing that my true value comes from being created by God, made in His image, loved by God, and set on this earth for a unique purpose, I often look to others to see if I am worthy and valuable. I have recognized this as an addiction that takes place in my own mind. Because it is mostly internal, that’s made it hard to recognize and hard to overcome. I naturally worry about things I've said, wondering what others thought. I find myself daydreaming about people being impressed by me. It consumes my thoughts in an unhealthy and distracting way. But I’ve been working on it! God has been revealing truths to me through the Bible and through godly friends. I know that I have been seeking to fill the hunger in my soul with something that will never truly satisfy. Only the love of God can truly satisfy any of us.
This stood out to me deeply when I recently attended a women’s conference called "IF: Gathering." (I watched it online with two of my best friends, which we do every year). Prior to the conference, God had impressed upon me that He would teach me how to satisfy my hunger for approval. The speaker at the conference was focused on Psalm 23.
The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not be in want. He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he restores my soul.
HE restores my soul. No one else can make me feel loved and valued like God does.
The speaker said that the enemy capitalizes on our perceived hunger pangs to tempt us to turn to the wrong things for comfort. And those things distract us from our true value and also from the mission we are on! This guy was speaking right to me. He mentioned hunger, right? And God had already prepared me that He was going to show me how to satisfy my soul hunger.
Then the guy gave this illustration. Get ready. I hope it speaks to you too. He said, "Imagine I invited you over to my house and I had perfectly prepared a whole meal with your absolute favorite dish. I laid the whole thing before you on the table. And then instead of enjoying that meal, you went outside to the alley behind my house and began digging in the dumpster for scraps. That’s what we do when we turn to anything besides Christ to satisfy our soul."
It’s all junk!
In the past few weeks, every time I recognize that my thoughts are dwelling on what other people think of me, I remind myself that I don’t want to be going to the dumpster for scraps of satisfaction when I have a table set with everything I need to be satisfied in Christ. And I also replace those thoughts with quoting Psalm 23, which reminds me I shall not want and that HE restores my soul.
What things do you turn to in the hopes that they will fulfill you? What things distract you from your mission of loving God, loving others, and helping others to know Jesus? Is it approval from others? Control, money, shopping, being a perfect mom, fitness, your physical appearance, food, alcohol, TV, social media, a perfect house, your spouse…? I don’t know what things you turn to to fill the hunger in your soul, but I do know that it’s all junk! Nothing will satisfy you like the love of Jesus will. I don’t mean that all of these things are wrong in themselves, but I mean that looking to these things to fill your soul hunger is wrong. It doesn’t work, and you will exhaust yourself looking for more and more, because it just won’t satisfy.
I hope this helps someone besides me. Writing it out helps me remember what I have learned, but I also hope God uses it to help someone else who has been going to the wrong thing to try to fill that longing. Ask God to help you recognize it whenever you turn to something besides Him, and then replace that with spending time with Jesus. Pray, read the Bible, and take delight in how much He loves you! Just as you are. You are made in His image. You are His child. You don’t need to keep running around trying to prove you’re ok.
Don't keep going to the dumpster for scraps!
Choose to feast on His goodness!
Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the one who takes refuge in him.