What’s Your Dance Party?

I’ve been thinking about “YES!”yes

This word, “create,” requires saying Yes to life, to invitations, to play, and, sometimes worse, to those things that intimidate or downright scare me.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m all for saying “NO!” as necessary. I believe in it. Oh baby, YES, we have to say NO! from time to time. My everyday hero, Jen Hatmaker, says: “People will take as much as you will give them, not because they are terrible humans, but because they only want this one slice of you. Plus, you’re probably good at their pet thing. But they don’t observe the scope of your life and all the other tricks on your beam. You can say no, and no one will die. God wants this freedom for us.” Sometimes we have to say No in order to say Yes to something more important. I’ve been thinking on that a lot lately, too.

But, YesGetting out of our comfort zone to live a full, exuberant, energetic, creative life, that requires Yes answers where No might be our instinct.

i-dare-me-clubI’ve been reading a book, I Dare Me!, about a middle-aged wowza-successful gal who felt stuck. To un-stick herself she created a list, with lots of help, of Firsts she could do every day of the year. She began with one of her biggest fears, swimming in the ocean, and so she took a New Year’s Day Polar Bear Plunge. I’m not afraid of the ocean, and still, Yikes! Some were way more do-able, like taking a new class at the gym, trying a new recipe and/or restaurant, even going without make-up for a day (and yet, she’s an on-air news anchor, so…). It’s inspirational. I don’t want to do many of the things she did, but I’m asking the big question: What could I do? It’s a Yes to life!

Yes is about letting go of what others think, of what you think, of who you should be or what you should do. It’s embracing the whole range, from silly to ridiculous to meaningful.

Today I said Yes, if only just for a few seconds.

At our moms’ group, a sweet gal shared her story of birthing three babies in rapid succession, and in that time two household moves, of post-partum depression that lasted too long, and from all of that, to Zumba. You read that right, Zumba!zumba-in-the-circuit-logo-2

Previously, I had only ever Zumba’d in the privacy of my own home, not-jiving to a library DVD. I tried a few days in a row, working on steps and rhythm, before I decided I have neither steps nor rhythm (my gals will attest: after a few late-night glasses of wine, I might be convinced otherwise, but we keep that to ourselves).

Zumba was the thing God used to heal this sweet mama. She loves to dance, and so when her youngest began sleeping through the night she first took one class, which led to three, which became a dare from her husband to become an instructor. And so she did! Through Zumba she left depression behind. She grew lighter and brighter and, along with her, so did her family. And today, so did 150 or so women at our church as she led us in a simple, just-for-us routine.

The friend behind me had dressed the part: yoga pants and tennis skirt. Me, not so much. I confessed (uh, she was standing behind me, it wasn’t gonna take long…): “I don’t dance.” Thank God, she replied (surprisingly!) in kind.Andy-Grammer-Keep-Your-Head-Up

The song was Andy Grammer’s “Keep Your Head Up.”

You gotta keep your head up, oh
And you can let your hair down…

Step side-to-side, I got it (sort of). Add hands and body, I began to lose it. I thought, No Way am I gonna shake my tush in this room, with windows to my side, friends and co-workers nearby, What Are We Doing???

Then I looked around. One hundred-plus women shimmied around the room, each with her own size, shape, and style. Our group founder, about five gals in front of me and about as close to 90 as I am to 50, wiggled and giggled with glee. The smile stretching across her face, the obvious joy-filled un-self-consciousness she was experiencing, it moved me.

I remembered to Dare Myself. To Say Yes (also one of the rules of improv – always say “Yes, and…” – which also means you are fully present in the moment, Not Overthinking).

I let go. I shook my hands, my hair, and my rear. It could not have been pretty, but it was free. I reveled in the beauty of the story we’d heard, of how one gal found her way back to herself through dance and movement.

I believe we were made to move, and we all move to a different beat. And I believe we all have a passion, each different from the others, something that brings us to life and energizes those nearby. The dance-mama found her jive in Zumba. Mine is writing – I get bright-eyed and energetic thinking about what I will write next. It’s not all joy; some of it is excruciating hard work, but it’s still worth it. It’s my passion.

What’s yours?

He’s Right

I am I to the third power: an Incredibly Indecisive Individual. Do you want to grab coffee or lunch? Up to you. Italian or Indian food? Up to you. Want to watch something on the DVR or rent a movie? Up to you. In each of those scenarios, how we spend time matters far less to me than the company we share.

But when I do have an opinion, I’m fairly certain I’m right. And by “fairly certain” I mean absolutely convinced. The difference, I’m beginning to understand, is that I feel strongly about How to Make the World a Better Place. Another I, I’m an idealist. Which is why church work has always made sense to me, as the Church is God’s family working for the sake of God’s good purpose in the world.

Alas, I am not always right, which may be why some of the opinionated Bible characters have a special place in my heart. I can relate to Moses, telling God that He’d surely chosen the wrong person to represent Him to the Egyptians on behalf of the Israelites. Moses and I need to be convinced that God has the better way. I’m pretty sure I’ve got it figured out, thanks very much, Lord.

Peter argues with God in Acts 10, today’s Bible study. He’s so convinced that the traditions of Judaism, the rules passed down for generations set out by God Himself, supersede a direct word from the Lord that he tells God no. No, Lord, never! I’ve never done it that way and never will. I’m following you, Lord, so don’t tell me otherwise.

With Peter, I have a few things to learn. May God soften my heart to be convinced that He is right, to follow Him especially when it doesn’t make sense.

Connect
When have you experienced favoritism and what was that like?

Study
Read Acts 10:9-35.
Compare Peter’s vision (vv. 9-16) with Cornelius’ vision (vv. 30-32). Why do you think the Lord appeared to them in visions? What did each have to learn?
What do you think motivated Peter to argue with the Lord over the vision’s content (vv. 9-16)?
What role does hospitality play in this story and, ultimately, in the spread of the gospel to the Gentiles (vv. 22-29)?

Live
The Lord spoke to Cornelius and Peter during times set aside for prayer. What does your prayer practice look like, and how might it need sharpening?
When has God called you out of your “comfort zone”? What happened?
For what prejudice might God be asking you to repent?
What can you do to open up in your life space for others, and how might God use that space to further the good news of Christ?
What is Jesus saying to you through this passage and how will you respond?

Pray
Pray that you will be open to God’s Spirit and His conviction and that God will work through you to further His Kingdom on earth.