My family has this awesome joke. It goes like this, some guy walks up and says, “That’s what makes you beautiful!”…………………………….. Wrong direction!
Yeah, it’s lame. But sometimes lame is best, right? You know that one friend who always makes the worst jokes? That’s me. Pretty much anytime, anywhere, I have the stupidest comments of anyone in the room. Although that’s not necessarily something to be proud of, it is a part of who I am.
Sometimes we need to just sit back and remember who we are, where we came from, where we are going. It’s always nice to put things in perspective.
The other day, my dad was driving me to the airport and we started talking about identity. Especially how a lot of the millennial generation seem to have lost their identity and seem to be finding it in the wrong ways. For a while, we had been stuck on the topic of one of my brothers.
My dad then shared with me a time when my older brother had called home and asked, “who am I dad?”
After that conversation with dad, I just couldn’t get that question out of my head. “Who am I?”
Later, when I finally made it to my hotel, I began a list. Number one on that list was, “Don’t forget who you are.”
Now, about a week later, I look back at that list. I have this weird thing where I abhor leaving things unfinished. No matter what, I kept coming back to that list. Why? Because there was only one thing on it. A few days later, I stood in front of a crowd of about three thousand and shouted a poem at the top of my lungs.
At that moment, I wrote down my second addition to ‘the list’, “Don’t forget where you came from”.
Today, I look back on that list and realize something. I wrote that list (still unfinished btw) with the intention of allowing myself to remember those things better. But I have not done any of those things. In fact, I did the exact opposite.
Allow me to provide a brief explanation. This past two and a half days, ( I know it’s weird) I have been attending a dance intensive called the Boulder Jazz Dance Workshop in Colorado. The first half day was placement class. Now, being a Christian dancer, which trust me is not counter intuitive, it didn’t take much for me to realize that I had stepped into an extremely secular environment.
Even talking to some other dancers who called themselves Christian, I noticed that they had next to no discernment. What I mean is that we spent the first day walking through an underpass filled with nearly naked homeless and high people getting drunk and having sex in the open. Not only was I uncomfortable, I began to search for ways to go around that underpass as it got dark. The reason I was so worried is that I am a young woman, and walking by myself through a crowd of clearly moral-less individuals at night presents a lot of risks and danger.
The next morning, one of my ‘Christian’ friends said that she, “had no problem with it” and “saw nothing wrong with it”. WHAT?
It was akin to being slapped in the face with the clear seared consciousness of my friend.
However, the second I stepped into this situation I was hard pressed to stay ‘apart’. Especially, when I am enrolled in Jazz and Hip hop classes which constantly are telling us, “even if you don’t have a butt or boobs, you should dance as if you do”. It’s not that there is necessarily anything wrong with dance, however, it is a different ball game to dance with the explicit intention of being sexual.
Being a naturally competitive dancer, I tried my best to do exactly what the teacher was asking. But when I stepped out of that hip hop class, all I could do was think, “what have I done?” I became exactly what I knew God did not intend for me to be. I was no longer myself, but an over-sensualized dancer who doesn’t know any better.
I remember my pastor telling us once, “Be who you is, cuz if you ain’t who you is, you is who you ain’t.”
You’re gonna need to read that twice before it makes sense.
So now is the question: Who am I?
The important part of this question always slips past us. Look at the question again:
Who am I, Dad?
A daughter of the King.
These are two totally different people. If I am just a dancer, than there should be no reason for my heart and spirit to shrink and hurt after I dance sexually. However, if I am a daughter of the King, then what I do is entirely different.
If I am a daughter, I respect my father’s wishes. What does God say I should do with my dance?
“Praise him with the tambourine and dancing; praise him with strings and flutes!”
That makes all the difference. Once we have established who we are from the context of who God made us to be, and not who we wish we were, then we can roll forward instead of backwards.
God wants our attention in everything. Not just on Sunday. Not just when family comes around, but always, in every part of our lives. That includes how we take care of ourselves, how we care for others, and what parts of ourselves we give to other people. It is a very long and strenuous process.
I am not here to tell you that it will be easy, cuz we all know that’s a lie. Also, is anyone else annoyed by that stupid saying, “too blessed to be stressed?” Yup, I finally said it, it’s stupid. You are going to be stressed, Jesus told us that! “In this life you will have trouble”, Jesus wasn’t about to tell us that you’re too blessed to be stressed.
You know what He did tell us?
“In this life you will have trouble, but take heart! I have overcome the world.”
I am gonna leave you with that droplet for today. If you happened to hold on allllllllllllll the way to the end, what do you think I should do? Should I just not go to these classes that I know will be asking me to do something that I am not comfortable with? I’d love to here your thoughts.
Be blessed today.