Tuesday, February 28, 2017

How Unconditional Love Made me Vulnerable (and Why I'm happy about it)



My three biggest fears are:  Snakes.  Tornadoes.  Throwing up.

Those fears I would categorize as rational.  Snakes can bite you and also they're creepy and gross.  Tornadoes are destructive windy forces that can level your neighborhood and send your car flying into the air (I'm still having nightmares from the movie Twister, which came out in 1996, so clearly my issues are many).  Throwing up is just horrible.  It's no fun to feel like you're going to get sick...and then when you do...well that's no fun either.  'Nuff said.

I also have one very real fear that I would categorize as irrational. It's not something that can hurt me, per se, but I avoid it like the plague and it can put the fear of God in me just as easily as a creepy snake or the movie Twister a tornado warning.  What is this fear?  

Organized dance.  

Yes, that's right.  I'm afraid of those dances where everyone is doing the same thing at the same time.  The old adage "dance like nobody's watching?"  I can't.  Not at all.  Because here's the thing: someone always is.  Lots of someones, in fact.  

I was a pretty carefree bride, letting my mom make many of the decisions about my wedding.  I had only one rule - NO ORGANIZED DANCE.  No Hokey Pokey.  No Casper Slide (Part 1 or 2).  No Macarena, no Cotton-Eyed Joe, no Electric Slide.  NONE OF IT.  

What is my fear really about?  It's about looking stupid in front of other people.  Mostly other people I don't know well, but other people in general.  Deep down, I was petrified of what others would say or think if I was just a hot, hot mess on the dance floor (and I AM.  I made my husband take a dance class with me one time and I don't remember ever feeling as urgently that I wanted to bolt out of a room.  I was sweating.  For real.  To make matters worse, my husband was BETTER than me.  Whoever wrote that song, "I've got rhythm, I've got  music..." certainly was not ME.  Ugh.  I have neither).  

Because of this fear of what others would think of me, I have turned down countless opportunities to dance. But even though I suck at it, I think dancing is FUN!  So why in the world should I let my two left feet stop me?  (Side note:  Go watch the movie Best in Show immediately if you have not seen it.  The whole movie is ridiculously amazing, but one of the characters literally has two left feet and it's hilarious).  

As I've matured in life and in my faith, I'm beginning to realize the antidote for this fear and insecurity is love.  Specifically, the unconditional love of God.  Knowing that I am loved perfectly no matter what I do well, or not so well, no matter how many good things or bad things I do, is completely life changing.   I have slowly begun to realize that my worth is not measured by how awesome I am at dancing (phew!!), or being a mom or a therapist, a wife or a friend, how my kids are doing in school, how many parties I get invited to, or how dinner turns out. 

My worth comes from God alone.  My loving, perfect, good, good Father made me and knows me inside and out, and He loves what He sees.  ALL of it.  My sometimes unmatched socks, my anxious middle-of-the-night thoughts, my mom fails, my Pinterest fails, my wife fails, my messy house, my laundry pile. Even my less-than stellar dance moves.  And He. loves. me. the. same.  And you, too, by the way.  

Once I realized I didn't have to exhaust myself earning unconditional love, I found a freedom like no other.  I'm learning and re-learning that I'm good.  That vulnerability is good; it is life-giving.  Yes, it opens me up to the possibility of public ridicule, but it also opens up the possibility for people to look at me and say: "Hmm...how can she dance like that and not care?  That looks fun.  I want to dance like that, too."

Jack Frost (not the guy who nips at your nose, the author) said, "Unconditional love is not based on the performance of the receiver, but on the character of the giver."  

Friends, I've met the Giver, and His character is good.  So, so good.

I'm determined not to let my insecurity hold me back any longer. Most people say "do it scared" in reference to cliff diving or mountain climbing.  Me?  I'm using it in reference to partaking in organized dance.  Like nobody's watching.  Because even if they are, who cares? I'm loved perfectly, regardless of the number of toes I step on.

I'd rather be out there on the floor getting down with my bad self (pun absolutely intended) than standing on the sidelines, watching everyone else partake in life, laughter, and line dances without me.  


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