on dancing & what i'm made to do
“Stop doing what you’re able to do and figure out what you’re made to do, then go do lots of that.” – Bob Goff I really love inspirational quotes and sometimes just peruse Pinterest for quips and quotes and phrases that make my heart feel all swoony and make me want to go check out thirteen books from the library and hole myself up and read, drinking enormous amounts of tea, with milk and honey. In my reading, I often come across quotes about dancing. Memoir writers like dancing. Quoters like dancing. This is what I’ve learned about dancing: there should be more of it, it should happen in the rain, the ones you love do lots of it, you should do it when no one is looking (but not be afraid to do it when everyone is looking). There should be dancing forever, dancing on the table, dancing in one’s heart, mind or spirit, dancing in the kitchen or on the beach and yet more dancing in the rain. That one always gets me. I don’t want to be in the rain, in wet clothes, hair in my face, wiping water out of my eyes, let alone dancing in it.
Because for real: I hate dancing. At least as it’s commonly performed today at weddings and parties. I think if I knew how to actually dance (square or swing or waltz or the like), I may not mind it. But my first response to life is not to dance and I don’t look for MORE times to dance and when people are all let’s have a dance party! I employ my introversion and sit it out or I do very brave things like bob my head and side step in place, pretending that I think loud music is JUST SO FUN and that I can’t wait to fling my body in all directions.
When no one is home, I may accidentally have a dance party with my one year old, but I’m doing it more for the laughs. She thinks I’m funny, so I’ll put on fantastic, whimsical baby tunes and spin around with her and flail my arms. But this is hardly the “dance when no one is looking” sort of things people are all romantic about. The bottom line is that I don’t find dancing to be very romantic and I’m not inclined to do it.
I want to find the things I find to be romantic…or energizing or creative or funny or restful or beautiful and do those things. I can screw my courage to the sticking place and do the Cha-Cha Slide at a wedding and I’ll even slow dance (middle-school style) if necessary. There are lots of things I can do. I can take photographs and I can organize and I can teach and plan and administrate. I can write. I can host people and I can talk to young women and I can talk to large groups. But the things I can do – surely I’m not called to all of them all at once? Surely I can ask God to reveal to my seemingly-lost self what it is He has made me for, so I can get to doing that work in this season?
What if God really did say, “I want to use the way I’ve wired you to restore this part of the world. When I said I wanted you to be broken bread and poured-out cup, I meant that I would do the breaking and the pouring. And I would be the bread and the wine. It’s My life, it’s My pouring, it’s Me at work. I did the wiring, I did the creating and I’ll do the rest, too.”
If I’m listening to my authentic responses to life in this new season, then it’s about writing and it’s about cooking for others and it’s about the potential of fostering babies*. And it’s okay for me to say “no” to the things that don’t bring me life and joy, because God Himself wired me to respond to specific things.
Right now, I’m saying “no”.
To extra relationships that don’t fill me up, to worrying that learning who I am in this new season is the opposite of “life for others”. I'm saying no to the liar who tells me that being an introverted mom is wrong, that my pace is too slow, that my family rhythms are unacceptable, that I have to live up to some other woman's standards. I'm saying no to over-committing my calendar, to over-filling my days, to over-analyzing and over-eating and over-spending. And I'm saying no to pretending I'm anyone but myself.
But I'm also saying "yes".
I'm saying yes to evening walks with my husband and the happy baby, to Spaghetti Wednesdays, to reading the entire Anne of Green Gables series again, to painting a chalk wall, to hosting baby showers and to teaching a sixth-grader how to babysit. I'm saying yes to figuring out the things that make me come alive, to working on creative projects with a friend, to having more flowers in our house. I'm saying yes to big gulps of ice water and watching thunderstorms out our window and just calming-the-heck-down-and-being-still. It is okay to be okay with a calm life. I'm saying yes to cultivating a life that glorifies the Lord, to nurturing contentment in our home, to teaching the happy baby how to sing "Jesus Loves Me".
I'm saying yes to finding my satisfaction in Almighty God and not myself. Because that is what will make me feel most alive.
Oh, and I'm saying no to dancing.