My parents say that I was dancing as soon as I could walk. They like to tell a story about how I would hear Michael Jackson’s song “Beat It” and start bouncing along to the beat. As soon as I was old enough I was enrolled in dance classes. The class was a combination of ballet, tap, and acrobatics. From the moment I entered, I was hooked! I was always giving my family and friends mini-recitals and performances at home!
Throughout my dancing life, I had a variety of teachers. Some of the different teachers were due to family moves from one location to another. Other times my teachers changed because I wanted more of a challenge and sought a better teacher. I attended three summer dance intensive programs/camps in high school, and I was able to study under some prestigious professional dancers during these times.
I did love watching professional ballerinas and Broadway performers. I think that I was first inspired by the beauty, perfection, and precision of ballet. The costumes, staging, lights, grace, and poise were all appealing to me. For a little girl who loved to imagine being a princess, ballet was a chance to become that princess. When I entered a dance class or performed on stage, I became a different person, someone better, bolder, and more beautiful than myself. Everything else faded away, and I felt free. This feeling and ideal inspired me and pushed me to purse ballet and other forms of dance.
Growing up my family and I attended church regularly, and I was always involved. I loved being a part of the community and learning about Jesus. He was my constant friend, especially during the times when my family moved.
Throughout my dancing years, I suffered multiple injuries. I remember sitting in the orthopedics’ office, waiting for results of a test for juvenile arthritis, where I told my mom, “I don’t think God wants me to be a dancer.” She tried to comfort me and say that I was just feeling pessimistic and that God would not have given me a gift if I wasn’t to use it.
I did eventually recover and I continued dancing and even continued to purse dance as a profession. I thought that as long as I was dancing to glorify God that it was okay. However, during one of my summers at a dance intensive camp, I felt the Holy Spirit clearly telling me that the life of a professional dancer was not for me. Although I surrendered the dream then, I continued dancing because that was who I was and because it brought me so much joy.
Eventually I moved to Taiwan and God used dance to teach me a valuable lesson. During this time, I struggled to find a studio and was very frustrated. It was through intense prayer and seeking God that He showed me why I was not provided for. I was placing part of my identity in myself as a dancer, instead of as His child. I was trying to be perfect and using ballet as a way to strive for perfection instead of recognizing that Christ alone is perfect. Lastly, I was trying to find freedom through dance, instead of through the truth of God’s promises. God does not want to share my love for Him with my love for dance.
As God revealed these things to me, I agreed to fully surrender this area of my life.
Thankfully, God’s love is abundant, and His mercies unending. He knows the desires of our hearts. After a while of being completely out of dance, God gently led me back to it. I began by teaching ballet to children. I enjoyed seeing them learn, grow, and discover the joy of dance for themselves. I realized this opportunity was for me to pass on the gift of dance to another generation but also to remind me that perfection is unattainable and that my identity is in Christ alone.
Today, I still enjoy dancing but mostly in Zumba class or when I’m at home alone listening to music. I have appreciated the opportunities to dance in our worship services, as well. During these times, I am reminded of how gracious and generous the Lord is to me. He could have never allowed me to dance again, but He does and did so out of His love for me. I am His child, and He knows the desires of my heart. I am thankful for the ways in which He has gifted me and the opportunities He allows me to use these giftings to bring Him glory, honor, and fame!