I’d really like to tell you a story.
I wrote to my friend Kate tonight that I am in serious storyeading/listening mode, but I am completely dry on the story-telling front. This is my attempt to change that.
Her first attempt had failed. She wore the wrong shoes, wrong shirt, wrong hairstyle. She was too early, sat at the wrong table, and made eye contact with noone. She looked around nervously, convinced she was being snickered at and laughed at, as she had been many, many times as her past self. She was small, quiet, withdrawn. She didn’t like to be vulnerable to anyone or anything, so this was the absolute last place one would expect to find her.
Despite her fumbling and her tripping over not only her own two feet but the air that surrounds them, she fell in love. She’d wait five months to go back, because fear wrapped around her heart like a snake – slowly but surely attempting to squeeze the life out of her – but eventually, she would shrug it off and follow her heart.
Because the music called, the boots called, the possibility of freeing herself called – and each call became louder than the last until she went back again – this time wearing the right boots, a suitable shirt, her hair up, and being fashionably late. She still fumbled, but she watched. With cat eyes she watched every single move they made until she thought she might be able to do it, too. She listened to the instructions, observed every movement, and she let herself laugh. She let herself fail. But she didn’t let herself stop. She felt the spark in her heart. She felt the passion rising inside of her. She felt the familiar sense of knowing that she would do exactly as her heart set out to do, no matter what.
Every week she’d show up. Same boots, different shirt. Same girl, different heart. She’d still flub sometimes, stumbling and botching the moves like the novice she was. But patient friends and a drive to succeed kept her moving. Always moving.
Six months in, she was leading the pack. Front and center, smile wide from ear to ear. She’d need a cue as to what song it was, but once she knew, she knew. And her heart would start going to the beat of the music. Her feet would follow, then the rest of her body as she let every frustration, every fear, every piece of anger or annoyance or sadness or confusion out on the dance floor. She spun until the pain was gone. She stomped until the hurt was squashed. She dipped and two-stepped and kicked until her joy felt completely restored.
You see, her identiy had been shaken in the middle of those learning months. She was spoken to about what a terrible person she was, and she believed it. She believed the worst of herself. She let herself get put down by someone who knows nothing about her. She had put her identiy in the hands of others and she paid for it. Because they didn’t handle her with care. They handled her with judgments and meanness and assumptions about her life that were the opposite of true.
For months, she built herself back up. She read God’s promises of faithfulness. She prayed, cried out to Him, asking Him to fix her. She stuck by her friends, the ones who knew her and loved her. She called her family, the ones who knew her even more, and loved her. And she danced. Oh, she danced.
You will take up your tambourines again
And go out in joyful dancing.
She took to heart this promise from the Lord and she danced her heart out. She found her heart on the dance floor. A heart that is no longer fearful of being alone, as it once was. A heart that is no longer fearful of what others think of her choices, as it once had been. A heart that is secure in its place as a daughter of God, a follower of Christ, a joy protector, and a dancing fool. A heart that is excited for the future, despite its unknowns. A heart that is completely at peace.
This is what happens, my friends, when passion enters a life. Passion for just one thing can be a complete game-changer. Even when your soul seems too tired to follow the ignition, it’s there, always a part of you, waiting to be set free.
(I sat in front of my screen and paced around my apartment for approximately 20 minutes before buckling down to write this. I think it was worth it).