Here are a few things you should know about me—I am a sucker for dancing in the kitchen while dinner cooks on the stove and Frank Sinatra’s voice plays in the background, and I’m an absolutely terrible dancer.
I stumble and fumble my way through a song, usually opting to simply sway back and forth. I rely heavily on the leader, which, for the record, should never be me. Sometimes, I spend more time worrying about what others might think of me than actually enjoying the simple joy of dancing. All in all, I am the very definition of out of place and awkward.
So often, this is what my relationship with the Father feels like. This is what the growing pains of our relationship feel like—like stumbling, like awkward steps, like stopping, like starting over, like learning to let Him lead.
But as I let him lead, I’ve seen time and again that He delights in the process. He delights in the journey. He delights in the steps forward and backward. He delights in watching me us the gifts He gave me. He delights in singing over me. He delights in walking me through this journey, this process, this step-by-step dance. He corrects, and He guides. He pauses to take my face in His hands, to remind me of who I am and whose I am. He reminds me of grace. He reminds me of love. He reminds me to let Him lead.
I’ve spent too much of my life comparing myself to others, worrying about what others might think, wondering if my story, my thoughts, my voice, my experiences matter compared to everyone else.
It’s exhausting, am I right?
It has left me feeling like I’m not good enough, like I’ll never measure up, like my gifts don’t matter, like I don’t have anything to offer. Step by step the Father leads me through this dance, but I find myself asking if He meant to dance with someone else.
That other girl seems to have her life together. That guy is a natural and empowered leader. She seems to have a direct line of communication with the Holy Spirit. He is courageously outspoken.
Didn’t He mean to pick the extrovert, the front-of-the-room leader?
Didn’t He mean to pice that super talented person?
Didn’t He mean to pick someone else, anyone else?
In those moments, I find myself saying words so deeply similar to Gideon.
But I’m not that strong. I’m the youngest in my family. I’m only 25. I’m a girl in a world full of mostly male leaders and pastors and teachers. I’m just a writer. I have absolutely no idea what I’m doing.
I stare at my feet, focusing on my stumbling and fumbling, too afraid to look up at the Father, let alone look around at those who might be better at this dance than I am. But in a moment of courage, when I actually lift my eyes to His face, I am surprised to find that He was always focused on me, that I was always the one He picked to dance with.
These days, I am trying to dance with courage, to follow Jesus with courage, to embrace the gifts He’s given me with courage. For me, this looks like writing with more courage, because writing is what I do. It’s who I am. I can’t run from it. Trust me, I’ve tried. I think we all have things that we’ve tried to run from—that gift or talent or thing the Father has put in our hands. Sometimes this gift makes us feel alive and content and deeply joyful. Sometimes it leaves us feeling vulnerable and weak and like a failure, and so we try to escape it.
But the thing we feel the most fear about is the very thing the Father longs to use the most to build His kingdom.
A couple of weeks ago, when I felt like I was drowning in doubts and insecurities and questions about who the Father created me to be and what He designed me to do, He took me to Isaiah 44:8. Day after day, this verse continues to rock my world. In its simplicity, I find myself breathless and overwhelmed.
Do not tremble. Do not be afraid. Did I not proclaim my purposes for you long ago?
There is a story inside of you and I. There is a song, a melody. There is a dream, a mission, a purpose. There is something so deeply holy inside of us, something that is sacred and beautiful, something that the Father planted so very long ago. He longs to move you and I past fear and into freedom. He longs to use our very gifts to build the Kingdom and help others experience the love and freedom and joy and life of Jesus.
He longs to lead us through this dance.
The Father is not asking you to speak alone, to sing alone, to pursue the dream alone. He’s not asking us to do this dance alone, to stumble and fumble and fall down. I believe that if we look up from our trembling hands, if we steady our knocking knees long enough, we will see the Father looking at us with his arm outstretched. I believe that we will hear the invitation in His voice, see the invitation in His eyes, feel the invitation in the gentle way He pulls us into the dance.
Courage, dear heart. Courage for the journey. Courage for the process. Courage for the gifts. Courage for the risks. Courage for the vulnerability. Courage for the fear. Courage for the stumbles. Courage for the starts and stops.
Courage for the dance—the one our Father delights in leading us through.