Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Dance With Me

I am a recovering performaholic.

That means if I'm going to do something -- especially something in public -- I want to do it pretty perfectly. This quality served me well for making good grades in school and for being a good employee, but it has a downside as well.

I can recall multiple times in my life when I was given the opportunity to participate in an activity that I didn't do so well, like playing volleyball or trying to make it over the vaulting horse in P.E. class. Instead of just fumbling through it, I found a way to excuse myself.

Obviously one of the core ingredients of this is pride. In my adult years God has been faithful to lead me through many humbling experiences that have helped to peel layers off of this need to be flawless.

But underneath all of this performance was an even deeper layer -- the longing to be truly known and fully loved JUST AS I AM.

That's been my growing edge for my adult life -- learning how to authentically be myself and understanding how completely God loves me no matter what.

Last month I got smacked head-on with an experience that challenged me at this core level.

It happened when I danced with my husband at a wedding reception.

That may seem like no big deal, but I've never danced with my husband before.

That's probably shocking to some. I actually love to move to music. I grew up going to school dances. But at our Christian college, dancing was prohibited at the time, so my husband and I didn't dance then and never really took the chance after that -- until this reception.

The DJ asked for all the married couples to come out onto the dance floor. It was going to be incredibly obvious that we were NOT participating if we didn't go, so we did. We found a place over by the corner and tried to blend into the big bunch of couples swaying together to the music.

Then the DJ started asking couples to leave the floor who had been married 10 years or less. About half the floor left.

My heart started pounding. I could figure out this game. My husband and I have been married for 33 years, which means that we were one of the oldest relationships on this dance floor. Slowly as each decade of married people were asked to sit down, our dance circle became smaller and smaller until there were only about 7 couples left on the floor.

Suddenly we were very visible. I felt so awkward. I had bad hair, I felt fat and I hated my outfit.

We sat down soon after this, but not before one of my daughter's friends snapped our photo and texted it to her.

My daughter sent it to me. I was horrified. My awkward moment had been captured in a photo. When I got home I said to my daughter "Don't you dare post that anywhere on social media. I'm ugly."

The disappointed look on her face shocked me into reality. I had just danced with my wonderful husband for the first time in my life -- someone who knows me fully and loves me completely -- and the monumental moment was lost on me because I didn't like the way I looked. Instead of focusing on my groom, I focused on myself. God forgive me.

The last month, I've been eating humble pie. I've apologized to my daughter, my husband and God. I'm trying to learn and grow from this.

Last week when I was out for a walk by myself thinking about this experience, I felt the Holy Spirit say, "Will you dance with me?"

I started to cry. I knew this invitation wasn't because my performance had been flawless. I'd really messed up. It was an invitation to focus on the Him and let Him lead in a dance that celebrates our relationship -- one where I am fully known and completely loved.

It would have been really easy to keep this spiritual lesson to myself, but I am sharing it in case there are others who are sitting on the sidelines because they have disqualified themselves in someway. It's not about how imperfect we are. Is about how wonderful God is.

There's plenty of room on the dance floor.


Gina said...

Beautiful reminder Julie! I often avoid the dance because I'm too concerned with my appearance or my lack of prowess and skill. I need to not be that way.

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