Today I’m writing the post I’ve avoided since last October.
It felt weird to draw attention to this issue.
It’s about letting the Light within shine out in all ways.
It’s hard to talk directly about shining in my body, especially when it includes issues around my figure.
But today I read an amazing journey of inside out transformation on another blog, and it prompted me to be more transparent with these thoughts I’ve primarily kept to myself.
I’ll start with last week, mostly because I’m a chicken about going all the way back to October. I’ll get there, though.
My church history includes calm churches, choir-singing churches, and a lot of churches with a praise band. I’m not often in dancing churches. But here’s the thing: I’m a closet worship dancer.
Or I was before I let crap shut me down.
Most of my worship has been in my upstairs living room. The boys, watching ballgames in the family room below, no doubt roll their eyes as the thuds and thumps on the ceiling sound anything but graceful.
One time I danced on a real stage at a writer’s conference. It was this thing between God and me, my opportunity during a very rough time to make a public statement that I still worshiped the One I claim, even though my life at the time was so difficult I spent most of the conference hiding in my room, just trying to survive. My friends said my face was radiant that day. It was a high moment for me even though in my private thoughts I was embarrassed to dance in front of others carrying all the extra weight I had.
Life got harder and harder. My body got heavier and heavier.
I mostly stopped dancing.
Last weekend I attended a conference where there was worship music for an hour before the speaker. People there worshiped however they wanted: waving banners, clapping, stretching out on the floor, and DANCING.
I slipped out of my seat to an open area at the back of the room where I hoped I could dance without much notice of others.
Only I hadn’t done much worship dancing now that I have a figure again.
Immediately the voices started, telling me I shouldn’t dance, that it would attract attention to my now more attractive body, that if I was going to dance I should hide. Or at least do it when I have on clothes that aren’t fitted. That since I have a figure again it would be wrong to dance in public.
But another Voice spoke over me. It said to pull my shoulders back and stand tall and proud as a beautiful daughter of the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. It said it didn’t matter that I had on jeans and a t-shirt that fit. I didn’t have hide in loose fitting clothes to dance freely.
And so I danced. Long enough and hard enough to work up a sweat. Sometimes small and sometimes large. But always, always free.
I have no idea if I’m still the 5 ft 9 inch klutz I’ve felt I am since I grew way too fast and spent months tripping over my own feet, or if I now look graceful and beautiful. But it doesn’t matter because when I dance for Him, HE is enamored with the beauty HE placed in me. HE finds my worship graceful because while man looks at the outside God looks at my heart.
Which brings me back to last October.
I went to a party where there was dancing and music. It was not worship music; it was dance music. And I danced.
In my new body and a great dress.
Jerry wasn’t with me. I didn’t dance with another man. I just had fun.
But then I noticed men noticing me. It’s hard to get used to that again after years of being overweight, and I awoke the next morning consumed with guilt.
I called one of my best friend in tears and asked her if she thought I’d dishonored the Lord by dancing my heart out in a great dress that didn’t hide my new figure.
She spoke truth.
I hung up the phone, still teary. My daughter and son-in-law were nearby. They’d seen me dance. I asked, “Did I dance in any way that was inappropriate or dishonoring to God?”
Their truth was the same my friend had just spoken.
Sarah said, “If anything you honored God by enjoying the new body He’s given you.”
Then my son-in-law, David, spoke. “It’s a new lantern you get to shine. A new way for you to show people what God has done for you and to help them.”
And I wept.
See, before I’d left for this event I had a God moment. In that half-awake stage of the night, He sang over me, “Be a Light.”
And so I dance.
Even if I look really good.