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A family movie night led Rachel Bulman to contemplate the ways the enemy uses lies to weaken our hearts.

Sheltering in place has given many the opportunity to do a lot of bingeing on movies and television. At this point, I feel like I’ve seen everything and the kids do too. A few nights ago we sat down to watch the Wreck-it Ralph movies, and I had forgotten how good these movies were for the heart. The theme in the sequel really caught my attention.

In Ralph Breaks the Internet (spoilers ahead), there’s a lot of fun and humor that ensues, but the lightness takes a turn when Venellope discovers an online racing game called Slaughter Race. She discovers a new method of racing where everything is new and finds a desire to leave Sugar Rush and move to the online game permanently. In an effort to keep Venellope from leaving the arcade, Ralph finds a virus that he hopes will make Slaughter Race boring.

This is the part that struck me. The virus scans the new game and says over and over, “Searching for insecurities. Searching for insecurities.”

This is the motus operandi of the enemy: identifying our insecurities and making them larger than life. He prowls the earth “like a roaring lion looking for [someone] to devour” (1 Peter 5:8), and for a lion to devour someone the person would have to be vulnerable to the attack, would have to be insecure, even if just for a moment.

With Ralph, the virus (enemy) takes his insecurity and makes it much louder and much larger than it actually is.

Take our nagging insecurities. You’re a bad parent. You’re not good enough. You can’t do this. You don’t have the ability to be successful. The enemy latches onto that insecurity and makes it larger than life.

So the virus multiplies “Ralph,” but each of these new insecure Ralphs are a fraction of who he really is — only his insecurity multiplied.

At one point, the real Ralph approaches the search bar (Mr. Nosemore) and exasperatingly asks, “How did this happen?” And the search bar replies that if insecurities are left unchecked they can “destroy friendships.”

Mind. Blown.

The enemy not only hones in on my insecurities but, if left unchecked, the insecurities can become so large that they begin to define who I am. Then, we allow them to direct our lives, to ruin our relationships, to breed insecurity instead of extending healing.

St. Ignatius of Loyola he writes in the 14th Rule of Discernment that the enemy “behaves as a chief bent on conquering and robbing what he desires: for, as a captain and chief of the army, pitching his camp, and looking at the forces or defences of a stronghold, attacks it on the weakest side, in like manner the enemy of human nature, roaming about, looks in turn at all our virtues, theological, cardinal and moral; and where he finds us weakest and most in need for our eternal salvation, there he attacks us and aims at taking us.”

Like this virus in Ralph Breaks the Internet, the enemy of human nature, according to the fourteenth rule, walks about the “walls” of your heart, seeking out the insecurities and attacks through that weakness.

After Ralph’s insecurity is multiplied and distributed in the internet, it begins to attack everyone in search of Venellope. The loss of her friendship was the reason of his insecurity — losing her, being alone, was the foundation of his weakness. I think it even hearkens back to the initial Wreck-It Ralph film — perhaps losing her would affirm what he thought all along: “I’m just a bad guy.” A bad guy doesn’t have friends.

Ralph tells Venellope to save herself and she asks what he will do. And he says, “I got a date with the man in the mirror.”

Isn’t that the way to combat the enemy?

Facing the man in the mirror means that we must look within and fortify those weaknesses. If you take the insecurities and reinforce them with the truth — that you are made in the image and likeness of God, that you are beloved, that you are adored by him whom we adore — then the weaknesses disappear within his grace. Often when we find our weaknesses, we hide them. We shy away from them and not only believe them to be our definition but retreat into the isolation that the enemy extends to us (see rule thirteen). This weakness must be only mine. No one else is weak like this. If I tell anyone, they’ll think I’m crazy.

So what does Ralph do? What should we do in the face of the enemy?

He goes into this literal giant of his insecurities. He tries to kill the virus by sheer force but realizes that the only way to overcome the insecurity is to speak truth into the weakness.

“You just have to let her go. It will hurt ... a lot.” Then, as Ralph finds peace in self-gift, of letting his friend go to pursue her dreams possibly without him, the virus disappears.

We must do the same. We must look our insecurities in the face and correct the lie. Weaknesses, insecurities, times when we think we are less, must be recognized for the false truth that they are.

Recognizing the lie of the enemy comes from habitual introspection, perhaps with the help of spiritual direction and/or retreat. It also requires true friendship with someone with the ability to speak the truth of our belovedness into our lives, especially when the insecurity seems daunting and we forget who we are. We must have someone to remind us of our belovedness, for it is only the beloved who can see the belovedness of others.

Copyright 2020 Rachel Bulman
Image by Madison Inouye (2018), Pexels