Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Taking a Second Chance

Everybody hopes that they find that thing, that talent, that they love and are passionate about. Dancing was my thing. From about middle school through college dance was what I loved most in the world (besides the people in my life). I had no other goals really, besides dancing.

My junior year of college I started to feel the Lord calling me away from dance. For one, I found myself in an increasing number of compromising situations. Some of the pieces that I was being cast in required that I do some things that I didn't feel completely comfortable doing. Nothing horrible. Now I would probably feel okay about it, but I was a young Christian and had a overly sensitive conscience. I also struggled with the fact that while I wanted to make much of God, day after day my goal was to make much of myself. I would obsess about my body and my performance and whether I was being noticed.

I refused to listen to God for quite a long time, because after all, I had no other aspirations or talents that I had invested any time in. What else would I do? So I continued to dance, but the struggle persisted. In the Spring of, oh, I don't know...'02 maybe, I was invited to join a dance company in Houston for their upcoming Fall season. However, His voice was growing unbearably loud and as I was stalling in mustering up the courage to tell the director I was reconsidering, she told me she filled my spot. I had delayed in obedience. I questioned and questioned His voice, and so He made the message clear. I was done. I didn't know if that meant for forever, or for just a season, but I knew clearly that it would have been blatant disobedience to continue dancing at that point. That was such a hard time, but at the same time I felt relieved that God was in fact, the Initiator of this change. I enjoyed trusting Him to write a new and beautiful chapter for me. And of course, He did.

It's funny, because the first few years I was away from dance, I didn't miss it that much. I was growing and maturing and discovering new things about myself. They were hard years, but good. Necessary. I will say, however, that out of fear of missing it, I didn't go see any dance, nor did I talk about it much. If I had to say goodbye to it for myself, I had to say goodbye to it all.

After Braelyn was born, I started taking an AMAZING yoga class at the Richmond Y. It blew away my expectations. The teacher was fabulous. Once again, I felt my body move and stretch and work and balance. It was challenged. I think this is when and where I started thinking about dance again. What was hard was that it didn't really seem a possibility to dance again, especially with a new baby, but I would miss it so much. It hurt. The feeling would come for a while and then leave me alone for a while. Then it would come again, perhaps for a little longer, perhaps a little stronger, but to my relief it would fade away...again.

Well, a few weeks ago, I was missing dance and tired, exhausted really, of feeling that way. I talked to Casey about it, as I've done many times, but this time he told me to do some research and get back to him. So, with much prayer and counsel I researched some possibilities. You'd be surprised how few opportunities there are for modern dancers here in Brenham (please note the sarcasm). But, I chose to persevere through that obstacle, as well as others, and I developed a plan to start dancing again.

The plan involves taking some yoga/pilates classes over the summer to get back into shape, and then in the fall I'll drive into Houston once a week to take a dance class. Today, I had my second (beginners) pilates class. I love it! It is so satisfying to awaken those muscles that I used to be so intimately acquainted with.

That is still the plan for now...BUT! I want to take it slow and one step at a time. Like I said, I have numerous hurdles to jump...Brenham, I'm a mom, and we're hoping for more babies. If after taking pilates for a while, I feel like that satisfies that craving in me, then that's fine...I'll stick to pilates or yoga or whatever. Perhaps that's all I need. We'll see. I know that if I do, by some miracle start dancing again, it's not going to be what it once was. And that's fine. It doesn't need to be. I've just reached a point where I am more afraid to not try at all than I am of failing. That's a big step for me. I'm excited. I'm scared. I'm certain that I'm insane, but...I just have to try...with patience and caution and wisdom and...an open mind.


annette said...

I know the pain, I truly do. You have listened to the Lord, you will listen to the Lord, and He will bless you. He loves to delight you.

Courtney said...

I am so glad that you shared this. I rememeber you mentioning dance to me at one point in college, but it seemed like you didn't want to talk about it. I've always wondered in the back of my mind what the story was behind that. Now I know! I love that you are embracing this and rising above any fears that you have of failing. Enjoy this new leg on your journey!

The Kramer Family said...

I had no idea. But, now that I know you are a dancer, I can totally see that!

I know that the Lord has given Kaylyn a passion for dance, but it is a challenge finding a good dance school for her with music that a 4 year old can dance too. So, if you ever decided to teach dance classes here in little ole' Brenham, you let us know!

Can't wait to hear more about your journey.

Justin Hyde said...

Rabbi Nachman of Bratslav taught: "If you are a melancholy person, persuade yourself to dance, for it is an achievement to struggle and pursue that sadness, bringing it into the joy. By means of dance one can transform the evil forces and nullify decrees." So dance, and change the world!

Catherine Haskew said...

I can't wait to see and hear how dancing will be an act of worship in your life, I'm so excited for you!!

Sara Triana said...

This story was an encouraging account of overcoming the sway of routine, which is something we all need to see is possible. You jumped the current and decided to start something new (well, rediscover something old)! That's great! I think it is so cool that you might start dancing again, though we both know that you have danced through many recent summers ("I've Got To", etc.).

My post about Summertime might complement your thoughts nicely.

Jenn said...

I dont know how to express to the blog world what a BEAUTIFUL dancer steph is. She taught me back in the day (ha i was a joke) but she is gorgeous.

I remember watching steph dance and just sit there in tears because you can SEE Jesus and truly WORSHIP Him as she moves about the floor.

its incredible.

Steph said...

Oh my gosh Jenn...your comment! I don't even know what to say. Thank you so much! What a shot of encouragement you just gave me. I would do anything to give you a hug right now! :)

And you, my friend, were a great dancer!

crystal said...

steph! i was so excited when i read your post. as a fellow dancer myself i can honestly say that i know exactly that fire that burns inside that never really goes out. i was fortunate enough to get to go back to dance once a week this year and it was so awesome. and hey if houston doesn't work out, you can always come join me at my class!

Eric said...

Wow Steph!! How exciting!! I have actually been having some of the same feelings myself for a while now. I danced from 1st grade through my sophomore year in college but I decided not to go back because the dances we had to do were getting shall I say... a little too "risque" for my taste. A couple years ago I tried looking for classes that had some "older" women in them but I got a little discouraged when someone asked me, "How old is your daughter?" I started feeling like it was too late for me to dance again after that. :-( I've even tried convincing Eric to take some salsa or ballroom classes with me...he wasn't too excited about that idea.
Anyway...I would love to join you in your dancing adventure if I could. It might be fun to dance with someone you already know. :-) Let me know what you think. My e-mail is ericandmimi@gmail.com. ~Mimi

nicole said...

I feel like I can very much relate with what you have shared...I would absolutely love to take a class with you if you decide to in the near future! Please let me know if and when you decide to come down. It would be great to see you and it would be great to do something that I know we both have a such a passion for together.