“Is this your daughter?” the man in the gym asked my husband, Tony. He was not referring to the little girl that happened to be standing beside Tony. He was talking about me. “This is my wife,” Tony responded. What went through that man’s head next, we will never know.
When it comes to rejection, its something I’ve learned to embrace. I often get asked questions like, “are you the babysitter, how old are you, and are all of your children biracial?” I’ve come to accept that I may look young forever and never fully “fit in” with all the other moms at the library. You see, I am a 28-year-old woman living in a 16-year-old’s body. I have two children from Africa and live in a small, mostly white, suburban town. I’ve been asked to show my ID for buying spray-paint at Walmart. I asked the cashier how old you needed to be to buy spray paint, and he said 18. I then told him I was ten years past that and had two kids. With wide eyes he said, “You look good for two kids” (I didn’t bother to mention that I did not birth them).
I am thankful that all of the comments & questions & funny looks from strangers don’t really bother me. I don’t even notice them half of the time. It’s seems easy to ignore the opinion of someone I will probably never see again.
However, this doesn’t seem to be the case with the people see often. Why is it that the people closest to me are the ones I fear the most? It’s not that they have a bad opinion of me, or are rejecting me but sometimes I live in fear that they will. I often catch myself seeking the approval of others therefore making me live my life in light of what they think.
This past weekend I attended a Women’s Retreat at our church. We were blessed with hearing from a very wise woman who has been walking with God for a lifetime. There were many things she said that got me thinking, but one thing really resonated with me: she said that God wants to be the director of your life AND the audience. He wants to choreograph your life AND watch you dance.
When I heard this statement, my heart began to race and my palms started to sweat thinking about the God of the universe watching me dance. My honest reaction was “I’d love for him to choreograph the routine, but then he can move on to someone else’s, so he doesn’t see me make a mess of his dance on stage.”
But then I put some more thought into it: he is the creator of the universe, he knit me together in my mother’s womb, and He loves me so much that He sent his son Jesus Christ to die for me because he knew I was going to make a mess of it. God is full of unconditional love & grace & mercy, and when I forget my moves and spin off the stage, He’ll catch me and put me back up there. At the end of the performance, He’s going to give me a standing ovation; his son died in order that he would. If He is my audience, why would I dance for anyone else?
To the world, my life may look peculiar or seem strange. My family may not look normal, and I may hang out with college students more often than adults my age. But this is God’s beautiful design for my life. And at the end of my life, I hope I would have danced so hard that I would need the Lord to carry me off the stage and take me with him. I hope that I wouldn’t have spent time worrying about everyone else in the audience, and focussed only on Him.
So my question is, who are you dancing for? If you can’t relate to dancing, then who are you playing for on the court or the field? Are you dancing for your parents, teachers, friends, or strangers you don’t even know? My hope is that you won’t get so caught up in dancing for everyone else that you forget who your real audience is. Jesus is one that loves, forgives, and smiles at your performance. He isn’t just there to tell you what to do; He will graciously, mercifully, and lovingly walk you through every step.
“For the love of Christ controls us, because we have concluded this: that one has died for all, therefore all have died; and he died for all, that those who live might no longer live for themselves but for him who for their sake died and was raised.” 2 Corinthians 5:14-15