“It’s OK not to be OK.” I would hear this phrase all the time at school. This idea gave me the freedom to grieve and admit my shortcomings, trusting that I was not struggling alone. I had the right to cry and get angry, and I had the right to ask for help. That is true vulnerability. In light of this mentality, I had the opportunity to deal with the emotions and thoughts that I had kept bottled inside me.
However, in my last year of college, I was blessed abundantly. I had very little complaints; I only wanted to talk about how God was providing for me financially, how I had a great mentor that taught me so much, and how I had seen an incredible amount of miracles. I had the ability to be thankful for the little things. Generally, I was satisfied with my life; even when problems came my way, I had peace that everything would work out in the end.
Although I was doing well, I was surrounded by people who were in tough situations. I would walk into the cafeteria, full of joy, and would come across friends that were in horrible moods. After seeing their sorrow, I would feel awkward about my happiness. Could I boast about the blessings that I have received, or should I emphasize with my friend by finding something to be sad about? If I knew someone was having an off day (or even an off week), I would avoid her, hiding the joy that I felt.
It may be OK not to be OK, but it is also OK to be OK. In a world full of negativity and complaining, it is nice to have a ray of hope shine through. Negativity is overwhelming, so it takes a lot of strength to be joyful. If you’re having a good day, do not be afraid to show your happiness!
As a result of my freedom and joy, I dance. Dancing makes me feel like there are no limitations, no burdens holding me back. I may not be very good at dancing, but I do it anyway. People have told me that they enjoy watching me dance because they can see how happy I am.
When I graduated college, my friend dedicated the song “I Hope You Dance,” by Lee Ann Womack, to me. I think that this song describes childlikeness perfectly. It is clear that this song is a dedication to children. Based on the lyrics of this song, here are ten ways I have discovered that it is possible to dance, to be OK even in the midst of struggle:
1. Keep Dreaming: Like I said in the last post, dreaming is a risk, but life is not worth living without hope.
2. Never Settle For Less: Even when you are satisfied with the way things are, do not be afraid to expect more.
3. Be Thankful for EVERYTHING: Whatever you have is a gift, and you would miss it if it was gone. Instead of complaining about what you don’t have, be thankful for what you do have.
4. Pray and Trust God to Provide: God is faithful, and He will not leave you in want when you put your trust in Him.
5. Be Humble: It is OK to boast in your strengths, but remember not to think any better of yourself than of someone else.
6. Take Risks as New Opportunities Arise: If a situation does not work out, keep looking for new opportunities.
7. Hope Against All Hope: Even when it seems impossible, believe.
8. When You Have to Choose, Don’t Let Fear Decide For You: Fear ends in failure; live your life in joy rather than in anxiety.
9. Don’t Fear the Future: Approach new situations with hope and excitement instead of fear.
10. Don’t Choose the Comfortable Route Just Because It’s Easier: Life is difficult; it is full of suffering and trials, but it is worth it.
So, if you’re OK, let your joy shine! I hope that instead of negativity, that you choose to dance in joy and freedom.