I finished an absolutely beautiful and captivating book this week called Before We Were Yours. It’s painful and heartbreaking, especially when you learn that it’s all based on the true stories of hundreds of children who experienced a very dark childhood. But it’s also full of hope and a reminder of the power of love.
One part in particular really struck me, especially after some conversations I had recently with different friends struggling with big decisions in their lives.
“A woman’s past need not predict her future. She can dance to new music if she chooses. Her own music.”
I think too often in life, we all get caught up in the way things “are supposed” to be, or even just in the way things are, and we don’t allow ourselves to dream or change. We get stuck.
When opportunities arise, we greatly overthink every little thing. We’re afraid to take risks or try new things, because what if it doesn’t pan out? What if it ends up being a bad decision?
I think what we tend to forget is that it doesn’t matter if it doesn’t work out. Because if it turns out to be the wrong decision, then you make another choice. You may say, you know what, this isn’t for me. Maybe you go back to the way it was. Or maybe going back isn’t an option, so you go forward instead. But there’s always a next step, another option. We don’t have to be trapped in any one thing forever. And you don’t have to feel stupid if it doesn’t go as you’d hoped.
We can also change our minds and not have to care what other people think about it. We worry way too much about the opinions of others, don’t we? Not that we shouldn’t care about others or how our decisions affect them, of course. But that should never keep us from being fully ourselves.
Maybe you’ve been staunchly and vocally for or against something for years, and suddenly God lays it on your heart to reconsider that stance. You don’t have to feel embarrassed or ashamed. You are free to change your mind, embrace it, and move on. Maybe you choose to explain it to people, but you definitely don’t have to. You just get to keep living your life. Isn’t that something?
It’s taken me quite a while to realize this. That I’m actually free to grow and change. To try new things, to find new passions, to say no to things that no longer, or maybe never did, bring me joy. And that I’m not required to justify it to anyone. It’s pretty freeing once you realize it.
I’m so thankful I have a husband who embraces this outlook and is always challenging me and also willing to accept change. We have lots of things in common, but we’re also very different. And because of that, we introduce each other to new things all the time. There are so many things I love doing now that I never would have given a chance, just because he encouraged me to try them. (There are also things I’ve confirmed I very much dislike, and that’s okay, too!)
You should never have to change for someone else. But you should be totally free to change for, or even with, someone else if you want.
Don’t sell yourself short. Life flies by, and it moves quicker with every year that passes. That thing that sounds crazy and outrageous that you’ve always wanted to try? Try it. Quit the job that makes you miserable. Pursue your wildest dreams, even if you have to squeeze it into weird hours of your day. Discover a new passion and cultivate it. Dance to new music….to your music. We all deserve to live life to the fullest. The crazy thing would be not to.
P.S. Here’s a fun video to start your week off right and remind you to dance to your own music. I love this girl. She’s hilarious and carefree, and this video makes me belly laugh every time I watch. The real fun begins about 30 seconds in. 🙂
P.P.S. Here’s a video of me singing a little clip of an old gospel song I love. It makes me feel like dancing. And it definitely makes me feel free!