A Dance Worth Learning: Of Swing Dancing & Faith

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The lights go down and the music begins, loud, quick, and perky. I stand on the side in my pretty dress, waiting, hoping for someone — anyone, mostly, though hopefully one who can lead me well and make good conversation — to ask me to dance with him.

Soon enough, he sweeps me up with his expected request, “Would you like to dance?” He reaches out one arm for me to take and we find a spot on the crowded dance floor. His hand goes to my waist, mine to his shoulder, our other hands intertwined.

“I’m Elizabeth,” I say and he introduces himself, too. We talk a bit, but mostly we just dance. He leads me beautifully, giving me grace I never knew I had.

“Ugh, sorry, I’m not very good at this,” I explain, embarrassed, when I falter.

“It’s OK. Don’t apologize.” He smiles to assure me it’s alright.

Feel don’t think. Release don’t controlGive don’t hold back.

I remember and begin again, feeling, releasing, giving, and suddenly I’m floating on musical air, moving in ways I never thought possible for any person, let alone graceless, awkward, and uncoordinated old me.

The song ends and he dips me. I let my body fall to the side he leads it, resting in the sole control of his strength. It is scary and exhilarating. That dance is finished. We thank each other and part ways, the smiles still living on both our faces as we look for new partners.

 

To tell you the truth, dancing scares me more than a lot of things. It’s something I’ve been around my whole life, and because of that, I have this built-in shame from all the memories of getting it wrong. It’s like I don’t remember a time when I ever got it right in the realm of moving my limbs to music.

And so it’s hard for me now, at twenty even, past the childhood years and teenage awkwardness. My memories haunt me in the church halls, the classrooms, and the theatre floor, as if they were happening all over again. Sometimes I can’t take it anymore. I can only move to the music for so long before I have to go relax or even cry.

I was never able to explain it till this April, when these fears really began to meet in conflict with the need to dance and the need to be. In tears, I began to explain to others and to myself. But it still felt like it was too late. The dance call had come and I’d done as poorly as ever, yet I knew it wasn’t just that. Beneath it all, there was a river of tears and I let them out, agonizing forever over the strange pain I felt. The movement I’d been forced to distribute had caused this unquenchable pain, I was sure. From then on, I vowed never to do what I couldn’t, never to move to the music and ignite this pain again.

Because this shame and pain and utter exhaustion would always be there, whether in the church halls, the classrooms, or the theatre floor. And the pain, I decided was just not worth it. 

 

I don’t remember how it started — probably with a text from my friend, Holly. She asked do you want to go swing dancing and I thought about it for a while and decided Sure, I’ll go make a fool of myself because it was sort of fun when I went before. I took a risk and gave up my vow in part. “This is different,” I decided.

I wasn’t good right away, but I found that I wasn’t entirely bad either. I still had trouble with the same old things — coordination, rhythm, remembering what to do, and getting so nervous I forgot the steps.

But I began to find comfort in the fact that I was a follow, and if I could depend on my lead, everything would be alright. Some leads swept me off my feet and I felt as if I were flying through galaxies and worlds of jeweled sunsets, and flowing waterfalls.

I began to feel more than I thought. A slow release occurred as I let go of bits and pieces of my beloved control. And I started to give openly and with courage.

 

Some days, I feel like I’m losing hard battles. My head becomes a maze, and beyond the joys and beauty of life, I feel tight and hard.

I’ve realized that I have this mountain size need for control. I don’t know where it came from, yet I’ve come to see where it is leading me and it is a place of more restlessness and battles and discomfort.

It is not worth the shame and pain, I’ve learned.

 

“You dance gracefully,” he said before bowing and departing after our song had finished.

I almost laughed in his face. Instead, I stuffed my laughter with a smile and a gracious, “Thank you.” Another boy asked me to dance and as we did, I pondered the last leader’s words and my heart soared.

When you hear something, whether good or bad, you begin to believe at least part of it. And this was the summer I began to believe that peaceful living is a dance that I can learn, a beat that I can swing to, a rhythm that I can find. Because even though my heart filled with shame in every church hall, classroom, and theatre when the music began and the dancing started, when the lights went down in the dance hall, I could only feel a very peaceful kind of joy that held room for more.

And faith is a dance, too. One I’d like to fall more and more in step with everyday.

 

This summer, I’ve realized that I like to lead way too much. And I’m really not very good at it. Well, not at the kind of leading I try to do. The control I try to take. The unnecessary worries, and big, unneeded plans.

“If you want to lead, that’s fine but go to the other side,” a dance instructor said to the follows at the last lesson.

I’ve been trying to lead from my follow’s place, but this leader’s position is not one I can take. Life and faith are dances, too. Dances in which I must follow and surrender and most of all dance without abandon. 

 

I went swing dancing for my twentieth birthday. To most, that would merely seem fun, cool, or interesting. Only I and a few others know the true significance of choosing to do that activity on my special day. It was something I wanted to do, and chose firmly and freely. That makes me laugh and almost want to cry at the same time.

On my birthday in particular, my limbs loosened and my heart felt truly light. I began to really dance without abandon, follow without leading, and fall in love with something worth caring for.

I’ve found dance to be a great analogy for faith. God leads; we follow. He creates and we create out of His creations.

God invites; we accept. We enter in to a covenant of many, many dances. Some are tricky, messy, and odd. All are beautiful.

His hand’s at my waist, mine’s at his shoulder, and our other hands are intertwined. Locked together in an unbreakable embrace. His breath’s in the music, in the movement, in my tangled steps, my graceful ones too, in every spin and dip and jump.

The pain and the shame weren’t worth it, but the dance was one worth learning with the Father of dance to lead. 

On Becoming Hard

She’s tangled her lips into a burrowed frown again, staring at the morning’s news, clearly unimpressed. Nearing ninety, the elderly lady still has her opinions, strong and bold as ever. 

“Always has to be newer and better,” she grunts before stalking off with the newspaper crumpled in a roll underneath her worn and wrinkled hands. 

She is petite and aged, worn around the edges as some would say, garnered with a consistently furrowed brow and rough, weathered smirk. Lined and hard–hard to know and hard to be known. 

 

I hear them criticize — the new ways, mostly and the new people. The “kids” who are really adults and should be acting like “adults” even though they are “kids”. I sip my coffee, trying to choke back laughs and text inconspicuously, a book hidden in my purse for later.

But sure enough, they catch my phone with their watchful eyes and criticize me now, citing the evils of technology and of course, the utter ridiculousness of updating your friends on what you are doing at every single minute of the day.

They laugh at their jokes and complain some more — about the hard chairs they’re sitting on, the hard days of work, the hard block of frozen spaghetti for lunch, currently de-frosting on the table. Sipping more coffee, they continue to talk in their hard, foreign ways, as I slip out the door. 

 

I notice him smile as I say good morning. It’s just a slight smile yet it brims to the corners of his mouth. I never remember noticing it before — I always figured he was just a grumpy, no nonsense type of older gentleman. 

But I notice the smile, soft at first, again and again and again, growing warmer just like the sun on these hot summer days. Soon he’s returning my good mornings and hellos. I wonder if I was wrong about him back then when I proclaimed him ‘no-nonsense and grumpy.’ 

His features are still weathered and hard and I bet he could tell me a lot of stories of a long life of labour and toil. But he smiles at me through the lines of an aging face and I see the life that’s in him still, that’s in us all until we die. 

 

They probably married young–those ladies sipping coffee on hard chairs. Eighteen, nineteen, twenty, or maybe twenty-one. My age, they were all blooming young brides, basking in the light of their bride grooms’ gentle smiles. All white, beautiful, beloved. Love softens us, they say. 

But before that date, they were even softer, waiting for love. They must have grown from soft, pink baby to bright eyed little girl, pig tails flying, to a fresh and beautiful young woman, long hair clipped up. They must have picked flowers, memorized words for spelling bees, baked birthday cakes for younger siblings. Went to church in their best dresses, and blushed when the handsomest boy winked in their direction. 

And then when the handsome boy met her at the alter, she likely smiled more than ever. The babies came soon after–soft, pink, and fresh, with the life we’re all created with, the life we hold till we die. The life that was meant for eternity. 

I realize that this is not all there is and was. The complaining and criticism of youth, and hardened smiles. At one time, they were as youthful as I — probably smirking at their own parents’ and grandparents’ harsh commands and comments. 

We are all born soft and pink, fresh and young. And so I wonder, what makes us become hard? 

 

Months pass into a year. I’ve matured a bit — hardened even, myself. But I have more patience, endurance, and even, love. Does that come with being hardened? 

I become privy to different, harder conversations. About walking an hour to town, houses falling at the bombs of the enemy, little legs flying to bomb shelters, and loved ones dropping dead. I suddenly see so much within the lines of their hardened faces, and wonder how I once missed what is now so evident. 

Hardship. Pain. Utter devastation. 

That is how we harden. 

Experience. Endless toil. Death and desperation. 

That is how we harden. 

Long suffering. Tears left unwiped. No conclusions for our grief. 

That is how we harden. 

Yet within the lines, I now see a surprising beauty and a long hidden joy. It’s mixed with a new found courage and bravery and I develop respect and admiration, the more I notice. I see the softness within, still there after all these years — they’re still the babies, the flower picking girls, and the June brides, little boys longing for adventure, and winking young rowdies as well as the hardened women and men, living a midst the pain and continual tread of life. 

 

The softness lies within. You will find it if you look hard enough. 

The hardness has become a shell to protect, in many cases. A relief, a disguise. But behind the hardness, there is a garnered wisdom. A learnt renewal, and a cloudy resurrection to come. 

How do we become hard? The tread of years, the changes, the griefs, and unanswered prayers. 

But do we ever really become hard? We are all children in God’s sight, and His softness and mercy can be enough for us. 

In Memory Of “New”

This May, I attended my sister’s high school graduation. It was very much like my own grad, two years ago. Most of the girls wore long, sparkling dresses, and struggled to fit dark blue caps and gowns over their beauteous hair and attire. The banquet spread was delicious, the speeches went on forever, and the dancing lively. It was all very familiar, though as different and new as the group of graduates were from me and my cohorts, two years ago.

As I listened to the 50 or so graduate speeches, amidst picture snapping of the familiar grads, I was reminded of my former self. The young girl who thought she was so very mature and grown up. The seventeen-year-old whose blue gown barely fit over the hoop skirt of her handmade, shiny purple dress. The young woman who gave a speech, which everyone praised, but that she herself did not even fully understand the meaning of then.

Oh, that girl. That dear little girl in the purple dress, clutching a red bible, and smiling haply. Where did she go?

Down the path of the hopeful to the little university she felt was so beloved. Through various first and second year university classes, where everything began so crisp and new that September and ended in bitter exhaustion come December. She began so gladly that first day, with hopes higher than the university bell-tower, for everything that had been, and mostly, all that was to come.

As grads recited speeches, I remembered her, in that eager anticipation, light of heart, and faithful spirit. Grads talked about their college, university, and job plans so solidly, as if knowing exactly what the road of post-secondary would bring. I remember talking like that, too. But really, everything was just a cloud of new, unknown, unrealized hopes and dreams back then.

I remember making my first schedule, utterly overwhelmed by course IDs, and fitting times and days together. I pronounced the professors names–Dr. Such-and-Such and Mr. So-And-So–imagining how good my first impression would be in their eyes. I bought books early, of course, planning to do pre-reading to make the course load lighter; all the while, I wondered what the classes would actually be like.

Eventually, it all set in. The schedule was up and down at first, but with a few weeks, I relaxed into it. Surprisingly, I found myself on a first name basis with most professors, though not all of my first impressions went as smoothly as I had dreamed. Not so surprisingly, I laboured over reading right till the bitter end of that first cold semester.

I shudder to think of some of the miserable days of my first semester. Cold nights traveling home, the staggering exhaustion, and the fear over getting things right. The deep and utter loneliness I felt. These were the not so good days I never bargained for, but surely received. 

Yet  now as I look ahead to my third year, I wonder where those first weeks and months went. Part of me believes I’m still that anxious freshman for the time has gone so quickly.

But the other part knows it can’t be true for the knowledge I have now. I look ahead dismally to the September leaves, knowing exactly what next year will be like. There’s nothing new or exciting about being an upperclassmen–you’ve already done the semester thing four times and the pattern gets old fast.

I’ve learned the rhythm of classes. In two years, I’ve mastered the beats, the rests, melodies, and crescendos of student hood.

Now, as I think on it all, I realize that I long for the new, in all it’s misery and brightness, once more. There are things I wish I could do over either for regret or just the pure joy they brought because there is something beautiful about the new. There is something lovely about having to get to know something, to learn about it, and come to cherish it. I guess that’s why we buy new clothes and trinkets, make new friends, and enjoy the passage of milestones like graduations, university, new jobs, marriage, and children. 

The new of university, I realize, is mostly gone now. Things may still change a bit as each year is a slightly altered song yet the newness I long for is that of freshman hood, when everything is kindly new for a few days of bliss. I know I won’t get that back.

Yet in my almost-upperclassmen-wisdom, I’m certain there will be other shades of new. Newness comes in seasons and I’m sure to experience a thousand more.

I appreciate the beginning of a journey, in all it’s excitement and uncertainty, much more now as I long again for that season of spring, knowing it was good to me. But I suppose there is beauty in the summer, the fall, and the winter as well. The middle and the end are just as important as the beginning for without them we could not see the results of our journey.

 

On Growing Up

Today marks a year since something big changed for me.

Actually, a lot of days are like that, really. So much has changed since I graduated, now almost 2 years ago. Even in the last year, there’s been so much change. So much growth.

I used to dread change. When I was twelve, I recall journaling about how much I hated it when things and people changed. But how little I knew then.

One of the characters in the play I’m writing tells the protagonist that he plants new flowers every year. The flowers change every spring. They both grumble and gripe about changes throughout the play, but by the end they concur that change is good, otherwise there’d be no variety and possibly no flowers.

That’s how I see it now. Change leads to beauty. Greater beauty. Greater life, even.

But growing up is so weird. Because you can’t see it coming, no matter how hard you look or how big your imagination might be. The days ahead in my mind are still blank calendar squares with only words, at the very most, of what that day might ensue. I find that I can often imagine what I might do on a day, but when I think of what I might learn, it is impossible. I suppose that’s why I have to learn it.

And growing up is weird because there’s just some ways in which I stay young forever. There are some ways in which we never really grow up because we never stop learning.

And the feeling of growing up is strangest when I look back on all the things I’ve done and seen and changed from and wonder where the time has gone.

Two years ago, I was completely unaware of who I was and what I wanted. I lacked in specificity and I believed lies. One year ago, I saw that lack of awareness and specificity and all of those lies and wanted to change. Today, I’m different–not perfect–but I’ve grown to embrace more of those traits that I wanted so desperately last year.

Why am I writing these words? Perhaps you think that this post seems to have no flow or point or purpose.

Perhaps I’m writing it for me more than for you. Perhaps I’m writing just because it’s good to write and it’s beautiful to recall.

Perhaps because I have to write.

I’ve always had to write, it would seem. One of my first ambitions was to be a writer. As a little girl, hearing The Little House on The Prairie novels by Laura Ingalls Wilder, I dreamed of having thick books with glossy covers that held my name at the bottom. I used to cherish my time in bed before falling into slumber. I’d write stories in my head except I’d say them aloud in silent whispers to account for my lack of paper.

And now I’m writing a play. I think I told you that a few paragraphs back. I never thought I’d be a playwright back then as a six-year-old and maybe I’ll never be a very good one — the writing and revising process isn’t easy.

And there’s so many things I never thought I’d do or be or see or realize. So many things I said I wouldn’t. So many things I said I couldn’t. So many things I just never had the imagination to think of.

And I’ve been learning that what you say you won’t do, you likely will do anyway; the things you say you can’t, you actually can do, if you take the ‘not’ out of the phrase, and your imagination will never hold the beauty that in reality, God’s plans hold for you.

Because God has a sense of humour, He is persistent, and He knows how to create beauty that is beyond beauty itself.

So Friends, I’m embracing change, at 10 PM on a Sunday night, a week and a half away from the end of my semester, when I should really be getting ready for bed.

But I can’t go to bed. Not yet. Because there’s so much to write and read and think about. (And also cinnamon buns to eat momentarily… )

These are my ramblings of today. You never can tell what tomorrow will hold though.

This is what growing up looks like for me.

How have you experienced change lately?

A Reflection

Three years ago today, I began this journey called blogging. It was a cold, December day, probably very much like this one. The tree glimmered across the room and I sat at the desk, eagerly typing and backspacing, crafting and critiquing the early posts and pages.

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Back in the ‘early days’; this was probably one of the first photos I took for the blog.

I remember searching things on Google like “Christian teen bloggers” and “blogs by Christian teens.” I was so excited by my first comments and followers. I thought of myself as just beginning and that one day I’d have a huge following of people. I dreamed of profound posts with 38 comments and lots of discussions.

I had so much to say then. So many ideas ran through my head and images seemed to have wings in my imagination. And back then, I could get them out, it seemed. I even had to restrain myself from writing it all because I thought I should “ease into” blogging or something.

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Sometimes, I wish I could go back to that. I loved that constant flow of thoughts into words and words into posts. Now, I often feel like my well is dry. I still have thoughts, but they take longer to come, if they come at all. And I wonder to myself, “Will I ever be a writer like I thought when I started this blog?”

And I’ve changed so much since then. My writing has changed. I have better grammar now and a more refined style. My life has changed. I’ve graduated and now I’m at university. My thoughts and ideals and hopes have even changed. But I guess that’s what happens in life; that’s how it has always worked. This blog, if nothing else or greater, is the showcase of that change. And I am thankful for that showcase because with change, comes growth.

Growth is a beautiful gift. It isn’t something tangible you can hold in your hand nor it is it something we often notice or ponder upon. But I love to look back upon memories and life’s happenings and notice how I’ve changed. I love to see the ways God has shaped me through the challenges and joys alike. Looking back is like the calm after the storm, I’d venture to say. Its maddening sometimes to me because I see the hard times and cringe at my stupidity and even try to forget certain memories. But in the end, you can only really laugh, usually. Laugh and accept yourself for who you are. That’s what I do when I read this blog, at least.

I haven’t written much lately, as you may have noticed. Part of that was due to my busyness. But another part of that was because I want to write differently. I want to write better, for lack of a stronger word. I desire to produce quality work with every post and that is hard to do. Sometimes, I’m not sure if I’m up to the challenge.

But I’m on a journey. That’s what this blog is about. Sometimes, when I look back on the name, I sort of regret it. Yet now, I don’t think there could have been a name more fitting. Because this blog, no matter what I do with my life or writing or if I ever make another post again, has been a journey. Thus far, it has been a three-year-long trek through some of my most formative years. Whether or not it has been interesting or brought the 38 commenters, no longer matters because it has been my journey in discovering truth, faith, and who I am, among other things.

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So this is my reflection on life, blogging, and growth. I’m too tired to edit much so I doubt this will be my best post in three years time.  But if there is anything I’ve learned from this process, it is that you don’t write or do the things you do to ‘be the best.’ Blogging, I’ve learned isn’t about getting 38 comments on every post or 105 followers or world recognition. This blog is about learning. About friendship, faith, and grace. Its about discovering yourself and God and life, among the pain of it all.

The journey or the way we get to the place we call home, you see, is just as important as that very place.

Thank you, dear readers, for joining me on this journey thus far, whether you’ve been here since December 18th, 2010 or if you just began now. It has been a wonderful journey for me and, hopefully for you.

Chapter Two

A year ago today, I embarked on what I called a “new era.” I drank up the new so hungrily, basking in its greatness. I could only wonder then what this new era would really bring.

I’ve shared many of my experiences of what really did happen in that first year of university. And now, I’ve come to know the many people who were once strangers and the classes that were just expectations and the success that was only all a dream. It seems so different now, going into it, knowing, sure of myself, only wondering what one prof will be like instead of six, excited to see friends instead of imagining who those people were.

It should be easy. It seems like it would be by the Facebook statuses and the opening week events and even from the way my own face lights up when I hear the word school. I’m excited for year two. Its going to be great.

But to be honest, its not easy. As much as I am looking forward to today, this week, this first semester, and my whole second year, I am dreading it.

I have expectations. For other people, for myself, for this year. As much as I do know, there is much I do not know.

I finished first year, happy in my success but disappointed in myself. I didn’t make many relationships. I hid. I fled from meaningful connections. I didn’t love people. And I regret that about first year.

So now, as I go into year two, its like I have a second chance. And its brimming with possibility, hope, and life. I want to make the best of it. I really do. I have dreams and plans and expectations — almost more than I had last year.

But sometimes, I want to hide again. I’m not sure if I can do it. The dark overcomes me. The light is hard to find. The friendly smiles disappear and I am alone and I just don’t know where to look or even how to say hello.

Rejection is my greatest fear and to be honest, failure is still really hard for me.

But this is a second chapter. The first is gone, in all its glory and regret. This is a new time, a second portion of the era I began one year ago.

I like to talk about grace for others yet can I have grace for myself? I know that God has grace for me, but can I accept that? I believe I am loved but can I open up and live that?

This year will not be as easy as it is to buy books or find my way to classes as a second year. It will be hard, I’m sure. I’ll get sweaty and messy and cry a bit, too. I’ll be rejected and I’m going to fail. There are unknowns and who knows what kind of trouble they will bring.

But in the unknowns, the challenges, the mess, and the failure, comes joy. This is life. The life that God has given me and the life that He will provide for, even when I forget to ask. And for that life I am thankful. Its a second chance to love other people and learn and become.

So here’s to second year!

On Letting Go

When I was a little girl, I loved balloons. It made me very sad to lose or have to pop one; I hated to let go, feeling as if I were hurting the poor balloon’s feelings. It was like losing a good friend.

I remember distinctly one time in which I was in a parade and a boy had given me an orange balloon. I carried it proudly with the sign for my group. But then, somehow, as we started to walk, the string slipped from my fingers and the orange ball of delight went up, up, up into the wide, grey sky. I tried to catch it, yelling out as I did, but it was in vain. My poor balloon was gone for good.

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Over ten years later, I sit out on the deck with a cool summer breeze passing off my shoulders, pondering life’s memories, both good and bad. I’ll be nineteen in August and as I enter into adulthood, I can grin, giggle, and grimace at the paths left behind.

Since that childhood incident, I’ve lost many other “balloons.” Sometimes I meant to. Sometimes I didn’t. In either case, the pain was sharp and sure enough, I tried to get it back, just like that day at the parade.

One thing I know, among many things that I don’t, is that no matter what it is you’re losing, letting go of something or someone hurts.

There are dreams I’ve left aside. Relationships and hopes for people and trust broken. Love I’ve wanted, but could not get; loves that I must leave aside. Ideals and rules I thought were proper and which made me feel right, but really weren’t. Bad things I’ve done and poor decisions I’ve made which bring me shame. People who hurt me, but who I loved all the same. And just like that balloon, I let go of them physically and tried to get rid of them emotionally.

  you can't hang onto it forever.

 

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But it was hard. It remains difficult. It always will be.

Yet as a Christian, I believe in grace and redemption. I know that I must not condemn myself for sins forgiven by Jesus any longer. I know that God has plans and dreams for us that are bigger than our own. Sometimes, I believe, we are even called to let go. Often, it is best.

But as we let go, let us grab hold of another thing and anchor it to our self firmly.

Let go of anger and malice for love. Throw away regret for renewed hope. Forget about shame and remember grace. Take off evil and put on righteousness.

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At the end of the day of my parade, my mom pointed out a tiny orange dot far up in the sky.

“I think that’s your balloon!” she said. “It looks nice up in the sky.”

And suddenly, I wasn’t sad anymore. I’d decorated the sky and made it pretty for the parade. I’d let go and given something good in return.

When The Ground Falls Beneath You

We spend our lives building ourselves. Subconsciously, we add a thousand pieces of life to our identity. Who we are is rooted in countless places and people.

The family we’re from or the friends that we have.The straight A’s in school. A boyfriend or a girlfriend. A hair style, a skinny body, or a tall figure. Designer clothes, achievement in sports, or the lead role in every play. The church that we go to, the Bible verses we know or even our entire faith.

And one day, all of that can fall apart and everything is gone. The ground falls beneath you and you’re the only one left. You. Just you. You’re naked, hunted down, ravished, alone.

I say this because it has happened to me. Maybe to you, too.

Until this week, I never knew how much I put my identity in things that would fade away. Relationships, who I was in high school, even dreams that I had that I knew would never come true, school, theatre, and my faith. I built them all up. I allowed them to fulfill me in ways they never could. But recently, as the weeks have gone by, one by one, each precious jewel has been taken from me. Torn. Ripped from my soul. Until now, in which I feel as though there is nothing left but me. Naked, empty, struggling, searching me. Alone and undone without all of those things that I thought made me who I was.

I used to think that faith was a good thing to root yourself in. Turns out that I was wrong.

I used to say, ”most of all, build your identity on your faith because you can’t trust anything or anyone else completely.”

I used to know that everything would be alright as long as I just had faith.

That is, until it all fell. Until I heard things I’d never heard before from someone I didn’t think would tell me these things in a place I never expected to hear them. Until I started to question, doubt, wonder things I’d never questioned, doubted, or wondered. Until everything around me was falling but I knew that I’d be fine and safe with my faith but then that went, too. Until it was all, all gone.

When the ground fell beneath me and I wound up in the pit. Naked, empty, alone. Identity-less.

I lost everything superficial about who I was. No, those things weren’t ”bad” particularly, but I’d let them define me and that was wrong. And of course, at one point they got the better of me and fell. Even my faith.

So now I’m building again. Crawling out of the hole and back up onto my faith. Building a new identity, a new faith. Trying to leave all of those old ideas of who I was behind. Trying not to do the same thing again.

This time, I’m putting my identity in God. Not faith.