Thursday, January 11, 2007

Long Ago Lesson

So there I was... age 16, pathetically shy, and still the new kid in my girls' p.e. class at school and what does our teacher say? She says, "When we get back on Monday we'll start folk dancing for the next three weeks."

There, sitting on the gym floor, I told myself, "Oh no... not folk dancing! I am so uncoordinated when it comes to dancing. I'll have to practice every night at home alone so that I won't look like an idiot here with all these (graceful, got-it-all-together) girls. Darn, darn, darn."

And that's when I had an epiphany. Well, of sorts. Suddenly, while still there on the floor as the teacher droned on, I heard these words inside my head. "How do you know you won't be any good at folk dancing? Have you ever tried it before? You might even be great at it. Maybe you'll even love it!"

Wow. It was as though someone had taken me aside, shaken me a little and told me to wake-up. To stop always telling myself I'd fail at something new before I'd even tried it. And it made me smile. I remember asking myself, "Why do I, when given a new challenge, automatically tell myself I'll be horrible at it?"

And guess what? Whereas I'd especially dreaded p.e. that year because I'd enrolled late to this school (my second of what would be three high schools because we moved all the time) and had had a hard time fitting in, well, I loved folk-dancing. Finally, gym class wasn't the major torture of the day.

And when it came time to be tested and we were each placed into groups of three girls in the middle of everyone sitting uncircled around us, I kept up my dance steps till the music's end, even though the other two girls lost their places in the dance and so just stood beside me. And I remember afterward my friend, Tara, told me she'd been proud of me for having kept dancing, even though it must have felt awkward to dance alone (it did).

And that is a lesson which has never left me... It returns each time I automatically say things like, "No, I could never learn to do that on the computer," or, "This digital camera is too difficult to use for a brain like mine," or, "You can't teach this old dog those new tricks...."... and on and on and on...

If I believe I cannot do something, most likely I'll never be able to do it.

Sometimes you just have to give yourself a break. And sometimes you just have to blast through that wall which would keep you mired inside your boring, fearful rut. And all the time you just have to rely more on God's ability than your own.


"I can do all things through Christ which strengthens me." ... Philippians 4:13

"...fear has torment..." 1 John 4:18

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