Posted by: Eric and Heidi | July 27, 2015

Let’s Dance!

If you are one of the 6,000+ people who enjoyed the free Pancake Breakfast downtown on Wednesday, please allow me to apologize.  It was far too early in the morning to subject any of you to my (lack of) dancing skills.  Please know that I wasn’t dancing in front of all of you for my own enjoyment.  In fact, I would genuinely rather be punched directly in the stomach than dance in front of a crowd.  But this wasn’t about you.  It wasn’t even about me.  It was about Abbi.

My Abbi is positively effervescent.  All of life is an adventure.  Every new person is a friend to be discovered.  She has no fear.  She feels no embarrassment.  She is 100% at home in her skin at every moment of every single day.  She sings spontaneously.  She laughs loudly.  She dresses with flair.  She paints wildly.  And oh, how she dances!

Pancake Breakfast in Cheyenne

       Pancake Breakfast in Cheyenne

So after enjoying breakfast with over 6,000 of our closest friends and neighbors, it should have come as no surprise that Abbi wasn’t ready to make a quiet exit.  As we stood to leave, she grabbed my hand, pulled me down to her level, and turned her sparkling eyes on me.  “Mommy, let’s dance!”  My first impulse was to run.  Fast.  And Far.  Next, I considered pulling the busy Mom card.  Sorry kiddo, we don’t have time today.  Maybe next time.  But before I opened my mouth to shoot her down, I took one extra second to really look at my daughter.  Shining eyes.  Expectant smile.  Wiggling body.  Five years old.

And then I nodded my head.  “Ok, Baby.  Let’s dance.”  With a squeal of delight, Abbi led me to the front of the crowd, right in front of the bluegrass band on stage.  Then, in front of God and everybody, we danced.  I was terrified and I was mortified.  I glanced at the crowd and thought for sure I was going to melt on the spot in a puddle of what-is-she-doing-she-has-no-rhythm foolishness.  I prepared myself to bolt once again.  Instead, I locked eyes with Abbi.  I focused on her smile, her laugh, the joy in her eyes.  Suddenly, the crowd faded and I was simply present with my daughter.  We twirled and we jumped.  We hopped and we spun.  We shimmied and we shook.  In that moment, it was just the two of us and we danced just for the joy of summer and sunshine and music and time spent together.  I don’t regret it a bit.

That moment with Abbi has stuck with me through the rest of the week.  I was up in front of that crowd with only one purpose- to please my daughter.  Her opinion was the only one that mattered.  Her happiness was my only desire.  There may have been several thousand watching, but for me, it was an audience of one.  I’m so glad, so very, very glad, that I didn’t miss the chance to make this memory because I was focusing on the wrong people.

And it makes me wonder.  I wonder what other opportunities I’ve missed through the years because my eyes were on the wrong people.  I wonder how much energy I’ve wasted trying to please people whose opinions don’t even matter.  It reminds me of Paul’s words in Galatians 1:10, “Am I now trying to get people to think well of me? Or do I want God to think well of me? Am I trying to please people? If I were, I would not be serving Christ.”  I readily admit that I am a recovering people-pleaser.  So many years of my life were spent trying to keep everyone happy, to keep the peace, to become what people expected of me.  I kept myself so busy trying to figure out what people wanted, that I never took the time to figure out who I already was.  It’s been in the last ten years of my life that I’ve begun to care less about keeping people happy, and care more about being comfortable with who I am.  I’m learning with each bump in the road that popular opinion doesn’t matter.  Eric matters.  Abbi and Lia matter.  I matter.  It’s about my obedience to Christ and being the best version of myself that I can be for the people who matter most.  And that’s it!  It’s simple, but it’s tough.  It’s so easy to get distracted.  While I was dancing on Wednesday morning, I would occasionally lift my eyes to the crowd and feel a well of embarrassment creep up.  Immediately, I locked my eyes back on Abbi, focusing once again on the only one I wanted to please.  In life I’m attempting the exact same thing.  Referencing the Apostle Paul once again, “let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.   Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith,” (Hebrews 12:1-2)  It’s so easy to get distracted.  It’s so easy to get discouraged and sidetracked and caught up in the what-will-so-and-so-think game, when none of that matters a bit.  We don’t obey to please others, we obey to please God.  His is the opinion that matters, and as long as we lock eyes with Him, we remember that clearly.

So I’ve been challenged this week.  The next time I hear the Spirit whisper something to my heart that makes me want to run far and fast for fear of how it might look, I want to remember Abbi’s big brown eyes and excited smile.  And then I want to grab the hand of the One who matters and say, “Yes, Lord, let’s dance!”

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