I know you’re there.

Standing in the corner, sneaking peeks at her hair and her clothes and she’s so in shape…and then looking down at yourself feeling frumpy and plain.

I know you’re there.

Sitting in front of your computer, looking at her blog and her twitter followers and she seems to have it all figured out…and you feel insignificant and invisible.

I know you’re there.

Worshipping in church or volunteering at school, and she’s got so much talent and she’s such a servant and her heart seems so pure…and you suddenly feel so very selfish and very, very  average.

I know you’re there, because I’m there, too. 

It’s a lonely dance for one, this comparison thing, because true dancing is made for two. For partners, for groups, for community. For a body.

And that’s what we all are, isn’t it? A body of believers, a body of women, a body of image-bearers all figuring out the moves that work for us individually and for our age and our limitations…dance moves that represent who we are.

And yet all we do is watch everyone else dancing and try to dance like them.

Why is so hard to stop doing that?

Head Truth tells me I am beloved and chosen and unique and set apart. That I am loved and that thought beautiful and a one-of-a-kind creation.

But heart truth has enormous, giant walls with guards and gates that keeps Head Truth out. And those guards are always whispering criticism and convincing me that Head Truth is just theory — and only applicable to everyone else.

I’m tired of dance moves that are awkward and uncomfortable. I’m tired of the snickers from the guards when I’m dancing awkwardly.

I’m tired of dancing alone.

I’m ready to embrace the Head Truth and make it connect to my heart. And I think that starts with choosing to believe my head even when my heart wants to dismiss it. (tweet)

So I believe each truth my head speaks to me, moment by moment, hour by hour, day by day.

And I gather up my friends, my sisters, my body and I start dancing with them once again.

And I dance awkwardly at first because I don’t exactly how I dance yet.

But as I figure out what feels natural and right, first by recognizing what feels unnatural and wrong, I break down the walls and shoot down the guards and unlock the gates…

one unadulterated and carefree dance at a time.


Laughing (Thanksday #75)

The tears streamed down my cheeks and I couldn’t see and my stomach hurt so badly and I wasn’t making any noise at all. Then a sudden gasp for air would erupt and I’d finally make a terribly horrendous noise and let out a “hoooooooooooooooo” to calm down my racing heart and aching abs. And it was well past midnight and we were in the middle of a field, sitting four across on a bench as we watched the meteor showers above. We were interrupted every few minutes by an “ooooh, look!” and we felt like dogs chasing squirrels as we stopped laughing long enough to watch a meteor zip by. And suddenly she would say something else and the cycle would continue once again and next thing I know it’s been three or four straight hours of side-splitting laughter on repeat.

“He will yet fill your mouth with laughter and your lips with shouts of joy.” (Job 8:20)

As we drug ourselves to bed we tried so very, very hard not to wake up our friend who had went to sleep early, which made it harder not to laugh. And the more we tried to remain calm the more the laughter begged to be released. It was pleading and demanding and dying to be set free. As I lay in bed trying desperately to stuff my giggles back down, my phone buzzed. My friend on the opposite side of the room had sent me a text that simply said, “Hi.” The dam burst and the squeals rushed forth relieved to be free from the confines of my throat.

I haven’t laughed that loud or that long in a very, very long time.

I love those times when you’re not supposed to be laughing but it bursts out of you like an effervescent geyser, uncontrollable and necessary, soaking everyone around you…even those who didn’t want to get wet. Those times when you hold your cheeks because laughing for even one more second makes it feel like your face will break. Those times when you have to hold your stomach and dry your eyes because oh-my-gosh-take-me-to-heaven-now I’m the happiest I’ve been in ages.

There simply aren’t enough of those times.

“She is clothed with strength and dignity, and she laughs without fear of the future.” (Proverbs 31:25)

In seasons of distress and chaos and frustration and depression and loneliness there simply aren’t enough of those times. They are too few but should be many. Our futures are secure and God’s plans for us are for good and He came to give us life abundant and full and plentiful and overflowing. Wouldn’t the ultimate display of our trust in God be to laugh in the midst of the trials? To be so fully at peace with God’s hand on our lives that we have the freedom to sit back and laugh and enjoy? Wouldn’t that be the ultimate diss to satan — to laugh at the days to come instead of being wrought with worry and strife and angst? Not minimizing the pain and not ignoring realities and not being irresponsible…but to acknowledge it and pray about it and decide to laugh anyway and live in fullness of joy. That’s what I’m taking about. Richness in spirit and in love and in laughter.

We were filled with laughter, and we sang for joy. And the other nations said, ‘What amazing things the Lord has done for them.’” (Psalm 126:2, NLT)

Isn’t that the best testimony of all?

I’m so thankful for laughter this week. For breath-losing, side-splitting, tears-streaming, ab-hurting laughter. For friends who lose their breath and split their sides and stream their tears and hurt their abs laughing with me.

What are you thankful for?

Building (Thanksday #74)

The women come from all walks and seasons and sizes and shapes. They’re the Breakfast Club of friends, if you will. A melting pot of trials and victories and losses and gains. They’ve walked with each other through boyfriends, jobs, marriages, miscarriages, children, homes, moves, laughs, cries, pounds lost, pounds gained, hair colors, hair styles, risks, comforts, frustrations, fights, make ups and make overs. And yet they still stand. The enemy has huffed and puffed but could not blow their House down.

Their House is not built with straw or built upon the sand. It’s built upon a Rock, you see. And the mortar that holds the bricks together as the House is built is Love.

It’s taken years to build this House. It’s incomplete, but it’s beautiful. They build it slowly but solidly. And brick by brick and wall by wall, the House has provided shelter and safety for these women. There are times when the rain comes in and the wind tosses them wildly, for there is no roof. But they are never overtaken by the rain or by the wind. The rain dries and the wind settles and they are again at peace, and can again take flight. Because if this House had a roof, they would never be free to fly.

They aren’t able to visit the House frequently. They may stop over for a weekend or a day or a week or a month. But one thing is unspoken and known deep in their bones: when they walk through the door, they can drop their baggage, flop on the couch, exhale loudly and be loved.

I miss these women and this House that God has built. This House is five strong — five points on a shooting star that has no limits in the worlds God has created. Five points that blaze into opposite directions, yet are united at the core. Five points that need to once again face the Son and gain enough Light to continue to twinkle and shine for His name’s sake.

And tomorrow, I get to walk through the door and drop my bags and exhale loudly and be loved. Tomorrow, I get to again become part of a star that twinkles high above the house. Where I can look up into the velvet night and see this star shining bright, since there is no roof to block my view. I get to lay the mortar of love and put down a few more bricks, further building this House on a Rock.

This is what I am most grateful for this week — my House, my Rock, and the Son that binds us all together.

What are you grateful for?