My walls are gonna break
It’s more than I can take
I’m so tired of turning and running away
when love just isn’t safe…”
-Britt Nicole, “Safe”
This past week, we left the comfortable indoor studio setting to shoot on location at one of Richmond’s amazing picturesque, provocative and evocative scenes… the gorgeous Canal Walk on the James River. The goal was to shoot one video that would become a bonus feature on our recital DVD ( a piece that was to have been performed, but due to having no electricity on the day of recital, was eliminated from the live concert), and another video that had been four years in the making. As we set out that morning, I had no idea how pivotal and profound that day would be, and how my own faith would be examined, dissected and tested…
As a rule:
I don’t do grit…
I don’t like to force my body into complex, complicated, and unbalanced shapes (in spite of my love for being upside down in inversions)…
I don’t like to cry…especially in front of strangers…
And, I don’t like to approach my relationship with God in any way other than TRUST
I think that as adults, we try to act as if we have everything under control, often presenting a facade that when challenged by any mild turbulence, comes crumbling down around us. But the truth is, in those quiet times when we let our guard down, when we are our most real, our most vulnerable, and our most transparent, we recognize that we are closest to God and have the opportunity to connect more with each other.
On that day, I was called to be transparent in a way that I had yet to encounter as a dancer and personally as a Christian. In presenting the very real portrait of my own heart, in having to peel back layers in an effort to maintain the integrity of choreography and the reality of life, I found myself having to confront each of these “I don’t” areas in different ways throughout the day.
One of the most difficult things that we deal with in our lives is when we feel alone, misunderstood, lost and unseen. The reality is that eventually, we will be hurt, broken, even shattered, and we will face death. We will have to pick up the pieces, and continue. It is all a part of God’s perfectly designed and sovereign plan for our lives. And though we know it, it still stinks. If we wonder where God can be found in the maelstrom and chaos that surround us, it is to be understood; after all, every aspect of every situation is designed to develop in us strength, courage, compassion, empathy, and a deeper love for God and for others. It is at those times that we reach a new and higher level of faith, trust, surrender and acceptance.
“Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.”-Hebrews 11:1.
“Trust in the Lord with ALL your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all of your ways acknowledge Him and He will make your paths straight.”– Proverbs 3:5,6 (italics mine).
In creating and coming face to face with the jagged edges of my relationship with God from the standpoint of having to tear down the walls that keep my heart from Him, I uncovered what this unseen faith is that the scriptures discuss. It is not necessarily a foolish tossing my life to the wind as it may appear, but the steady, intense, focused life that centers on Him. It is also the epitome of “keeping it real” and not just speaking about trust, but living a life that displays trust, however that personally will be lived out. It is accepting mistakes, corrections, redirections, failures and triumphs.
The long and short of it is that last Thursday, I did grit…. I forced my body into the complex, complicated and unbalanced shapes to illustrate where my heart had been many years ago… which caused me to have to look at my relationship with God from a perspective of mature and deepening trust….and yes, I did cry (but at home, many hours later, when the impact and import of the project finally caught up with me).
There is hope to be found in brokenness; light to illuminate every dark moment; there is a point in every surrender where we end only to find that God begins, and a point to which we realize that our very first step is in discovering that to open our hearts, we get the opportunity to take a risk…step out on that tightrope, and TRUST that God will catch us if we fall…
The last words of Britt Nicole’s song poignantly point to that risk…
“You’re not safe…
And that’s OK”