Faith is Not Believing that God can, It's Knowing that He Will


Wednesday, February 9, 2011

One Year

Sometimes the thing you want to do most is the one thing that seems so out of reach or hard or scary.
At least that’s how it is for me. I remember thinking of the one thing that I wanted so very badly was the thing that seemed so difficult, nearly impossible to get.
If you know me you know that dancing is a big part of my life. I love it, I do it all the time.
I had the goal of being a ballerina when I was little; along with the desire to be an astronaut, a singer, an actress, and a figure skater. None of which ever evolved into anything. As a singer I can carry a tune but that’s about it, as an actress I feel intimidated, as an astronaut I found that it required math and science smarts that I just didn’t possess, and as a figure skater, well I’ve never even stepped on ice.
But when I dance I’m comfortable.
Ballet is tough. I came to that realization during the first few weeks of pointe. It felt awkward, and it hurt. They don’t call pointe shoes “torture booties” for nothing! J
When you begin pointe you have to make a decision. Is this really worth all the time, money, and energy? Is this something that I want to stick with?
I don’t remember ever wanting to quit. I loved my studio and all my teachers and friends and pointe didn’t take up that much time.
After being at my studio for seven years we moved. The Studio was one of the things I missed most.
In our new town I started at a small studio that had been around for years. The training wasn’t that great so I decided to switch to another. That school was really good. That was my first look at the high levels of ballet. It wet my appetite. It intimidated me but it filled me with longing, and that longing as never been quenched.
I saw dancers who were better than me, I got to take classes with some incredible teachers, and I heard about girls going for auditions for summer intensives. They had done so many things that I hadn’t. It made me push myself more. It made me realize what the advanced ballet world was like. It made me a little panicky, like is this something I really want to do, but I loved it.
At this studio the classes were taught by very good teachers and the girls were trained to be professional quality dancers. The classes also were very expensive. I was able to take a ballet and pointe class there and just the one day a week greatly improved my ability and stamina.
With other siblings involved in activities it wouldn’t have been at all fair for my ballet to take up such a large percentage of time and money.

So I decided to take matters into my own hands. I was going to take charge of my own ballet education. If I was going to succeed as a dancer it was going to be through my own hard work. I wasn’t going to be able to spend every night of the week in the studio or go away for a month to “ballet boot camp.” I was going to do my very best to be the very, very best dancer that I could be. If I wanted this I was going to have to get it.
 I vowed to myself that I was going to be my own teacher. I would take what I learned in class and build on it. I was going to strengthen myself, and stretch myself to new levels. I was seriously going to look at ballet for the first time as a career, not a pastime or a hobby.
The next day Lydia went for a run around our yard. Around and around. When she came in she said that she ran thirty laps. I had never been a runner, and I didn’t enjoy it, but I said, “I bet I can run thirty-two.” My favorite book is "Do Hard Things" its had tremendous impact in my life and I am now motivated to push myself to do things that I don't exactly enjoy. Running wasn't something that I enjoyed.
I went around and around and around. When I was at thirty I was like, “I’ve just got to go two more!” But when I did I felt like I should go more. Push, push, push.  Call me a weenie if you want but I felt like I couldn’t do it. But I made the last lap my fastest. I had never felt that sort of satisfaction before. It felt awesome!
As I was sitting on the back porch steps taking off my shoes I remember thinking, “I’m going to do this, this is going to be one of my ways to strengthen myself.” Honestly, one of the reasons I was doing this was because I wanted to get a good part in my studio’s production of “The Nutcraker”, I thought that it would help. Little did I know that I wouldn’t even be in Georgia by Christmas! I believe that it was one of the ways God helped me stay in shape while I was out of ballet during the months of transition. I've done it ever since, and honestly I didn't think that I would keep doing it. But after several months I started to see changes. My ankles and calf muscles became a lot stronger.
That night I decided to put on my pointe shoes. I rarely wore them outside of class but I thought that it would be good for me.
I have put them on every day since then for an entire year (except for one day when I fell asleep after a long trip and forgot. I could have kicked myself for spoiling my record!:)
365 days. That makes me feel awesome. Not because I’m this “oh so diligent person” or anything but because it has helped me grow in character as well. There are some days when I feel like, “What is the purpose of this? Why am I putting myself through this?” But I really believe ballet is something that I will always love. I don’t know God’s plans for me but I do know that He gave me this love for ballet. I want to use it for His glory.
My ultimate goal is to start my own professional Christian ballet company. I love choreography and I love music. Creating ballets is what I would love to do.
When I was twelve or thirteen I heard the story of Margaret Wilson, a Scottish martyr who lived during the 16th century. Her story really touched me. She was only sixteen or so when she had to flee her home and escape to the mountains because the government was out to arrest her because she stood up for her beliefs. She was eventually arrested and put on trial. She was convicted because she would not swear the oath that proclaimed that the English King was the head of the church instead of Jesus Christ. She was sentenced to be drowned in the sea at the young age of eighteen.
As the tide came into the shore she was tied to a stake driven into the sand. As the waters rose she said,
“We are killed all day long, we are accounted sheep for the slaughter. But I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation will be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
I remember thinking, “I want other people to know about her.”
So anyway, pardon my being longwinded but I just wanted to share. J This is my one year mark! So I want to encourage you if there is something that you wish to accomplish, do it!
“And with God all things are possible!”
"Thank God every morning when you get up that you have something to do which must be done, whether you like it or not. Being forced to work, and forced to do your best, will breed in you temperance, self-control, diligence, strength of will, content, and a hundred other virtues which the idle never know."
Charles Kingsley
"Few things are impossible to diligence and skill. Great works are performed not by strength, but perseverance."
Samuel Johnson
"I never could have done what I have done, without the habits of punctuality, order, and diligence, without the determination to concentrate myself on one object at a time."
Charles Dickens
"Give us, O Lord, a steadfast heart, which no unworthy affection may drag downwards; give us an unconquered heart, which no tribulation can wear out; give us an upright heart, which no unworthy purpose may tempt aside. Bestow upon us also, O Lord our God, understanding to know you, diligence to seek you, wisdom to find you, and a faithfulness that may finally embrace you; through Jesus Christ our Lord."
St. Thomas Aquinas
"Continuous effort - not strength or intelligence - is the key to unlocking our potential."
Winston S. Churchill
"Courage and perseverance have a magical talisman, before which difficulties disappear and obstacles vanish into air."
John Quincy Adams
"When your will is God's will, you will have your will."
Charles H. Spurgeon
-“Do you see a man skilled in his work? He will serve before kings; he will not serve before obscure men.” Proverbs 22:29


Gran said...

Good post. I am proud of you and all your hard work.

Southern Belle said...

This is so amazing! The diligence and ballet, I am going through the exact same thing... :) I really admire you for sticking through and pushing yourself. Ballet has really helped me become more diligent, and it is amazing that someone else is learning the same thing through it! =)