When I was in 6th grade, I went to my very first dance. I watched as all of the boys and girls found partners, and began swaying an arms length apart from each other. My mom had insisted on coming to the dance with me, and she made it clear that if I wanted to go, she had to go to.
I learned in that moment, that boys don’t ask girls to dance if their mom is hovering over them. I think mom knew that. And I also think that’s why dad bought me a huge wrist corsage that night. He knew the night was a big deal for me, and he wanted me to have something pretty to stare at just in case no one asked his little girl to dance.
So there mom and I sat on the sidelines, watching everyone sway.
Little freckle faced Anna spent that night wondering why no one wanted to dance with her. It was the first time I really felt like I wasn’t good enough. Out of a sea of 6th graders I was one of the few who didn’t get to dance, and I felt totally insecure.
Insecurity is a word I know well. And you know what the antidote to insecurity is?
You probably saw that one coming.
But Jesus sets us free. And he doesn’t like it when anything tries chain us down and convince us otherwise.
I want to offer you some freedom. James 5:16 says that we should confess things to each other. You know why he says that? Because in confessing we vocalize the truth that we don’t want to be chained any longer – we want to be set free.
And sometimes we need to hear ourselves say things.
I’m Not the Only One
A handful of you have come to me via our “cyber correspondence” and confessed your fears. That in itself is a bold move. Confession builds community. It does us so much good to know we’re not the only one to struggle with something. One of my favorite authors, CS Lewis, writes:
Friendship is born at that moment when one person says to another: “What! You too? I thought I was the only one.”
And baby girl- you are not the only one. I like to think we’re all dancing to the tune of life. Some of us are more experienced dancers than others, but it doesn’t matter because we’re all doing it together. I want community to be cultivated here. I hate that we’re doing this with you at your computer screen and me at mine. It robs is of something really precious, but I can’t help but believe that for now- this is sufficient.
We all struggle differently.
We wrestle with things that people don’t see and allow ourselves to believe lies that have claimed far too much valued time.
Insecurity was that thing for me- specially people’s perception of me. It was a thing that claimed far too much valued time. I realized I didn’t like things about myself only after I noticed that other people didn’t like those things. That’s where insecurity was planted in my heart. Without knowing, I let it grow there because I put my hope in the wrong things:
- I would be so much prettier without freckles.
- I’d be worthy of a boys attention if I my body wasn’t shaped this way.
- If I lose weight I’ll finally be someone that people really see.
That last thought was one that didn’t change when the other did. When I finally started loving my freckles and began to appreciate the person I was growing up to be, something inside me screamed that unless I was skinnier all of it wouldn’t matter.
I still remember the first time I thought my thighs were too big. I was in 1st grade, sitting on the carpet ready for story time when the girl beside me pointed out that my thighs had “extra” than hers when I sat down.
Isn’t it crazy how some things just stick with us?
Victory on the Dance Floor
When you’ve struggled with something your whole life, and finally feel the victory of what it is to overcome that struggle- you can’t help but want that victory for everyone. It’s just natural. I think we psych ourselves out sometimes. We get this skewed idea that we can handle it ourselves. Then, gradually, our fears, our insecurities: they define us without us even realizing it. Until we speak up. That’s when something in us gains a little courage for change. But it doesn’t happen all at once. It’s a progress and a cycle. We confess, move forward, step back, confess, move forward, step back, confess.
It’s like a dance, and Jesus just wants to be our partner on the dance floor.
Take it from me- a girl whose favorite pastime is dancing in the kitchen- it is much easier to dance when the person you’re dancing with knows what they’re doing.
And Jesus knows what he’s doing.
When we’ve been dancing solo for so long, it’s hard to let someone else lead us. We get scared in the beginning because we step on toes and look silly. But, see, fear is a good thing, it reminds us that we are human. To be fearless would be incredible, but I don’t want to be fearless. There is something to be said about still having fears, looking them in the face, and living an abundant life in spite of them.
There is something to be said about stepping on toes, but not letting it stop you from dancing to the song.
So here I am. And here you are. I want to encourage you to be the woman that turns her biggest weakness into her biggest strength. I want you to let it be a humble reminder of where you’ve come and be the fuel to propel you forward. Because that’s that my insecurity and fear of man has done for me.
Liberation is humbling. Especially when you realize that true liberation is due to nothing that you’ve done and is filled with love.
I also want to reach across this computer screen barrier we’ve got goin’ on here and and bear hug you. There’s a lot going on in your world, and I want to be a part of it.
Cheers to dancing through life together, and laughing along the way.
(And crying happy tears in airports, that’s special too.)
Image: Callie Beale