Originally published October 20, 2006
My daughter loves to dance. She'll dance to classical, country, pop, advertising jingles, Silly Songs with Larry. She's even been known to wiggle her little hips to train whistles. It got me thinking.
At what age do we start feeling self-conscious? What sets us off? Do we one day wake up and see people looking at us in a way we never noticed before? And, why is it so hard to go back?
In my previous life, before marriage and kids, I was an event planner for a trade association. I traveled around the U.S. setting up and helping to run conferences. As part of these events, we would often have a banquet night with dinner, dancing, and an open bar. While my personal convictions don't prohibit me from an occasional drink, I felt it was inappropriate to be drinking while I was technically working. That attitude kept me in the minority, however, especially as the evenings would progress. So, with some regularity I found myself having the opportunity to dance among a large group of people who were as likely as not to remember it in the morning.
How incredibly freeing that was! I learned to rarely worry about missteps and the near constant fear of making a fool of myself. I loved it! And, amazingly enough, I would often get comments the next morning from people who did, in fact, remember and had been impressed with my "skill."
It makes me wonder...could this be what Jesus meant when He said, "I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven" (Matthew 18:3, NIV). Do we as a society spend so much time focusing on how we look, how we might appear to others, that we're missing out on the greatness God has stored up for us? Do we distract ourselves (and, worse yet, others) from the blessings of God by our own fear that we will look a little strange?
What is that verse about the wisdom of God appearing foolish to men? In I Corinthians 1:18 Paul writes, "For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God." (NIV)
I love to dance. I love the feel of moving in time with the music, the rhythm bouncing up from my soul and cascading out around me. Maybe it's time I learn a lesson from my daughter and rediscover the joy of dancing with abandon. And, maybe, I should look at some of the other areas of my life where I'm concerned about what other people are thinking of me. Maybe God's tying to pour in some grace there too.