When I was little I remember hearing a few talks & sermons about success. About men often giving up their families & ministry time to work more. To climb the corporate ladder. To be more successful. Even at a young age, this was one issue I really thought about & understood. And I remember thinking to myself, "people who do this are just stupid. I know better. I know success is relative. I know this world thinks u need to get far with labels, but God has a whole different system for success & what it looks like in His kingdom. I'll never be that stupid. That shallow. I know better." And I've worked hard to maintain that mindset. I've often been full of pride over my resistance to the world's standards & to my continued commitment to ministry. And then, everything changed....
I don't know how it started. I don't know how I got so sucked in. I don't know how it happened so fast. But it did. And here I am. Climbing out of a pit & working hard to stay out. In case you haven't noticed, I've had a pretty crazy change of lifestyle lately. I eat well. I exercise. I've lost 60 pounds. I've become a Zumba instructor. And that's where the problem is. I got hooked on Zumba & it's been wonderful for my health. And becoming an instructor is literally a life-long dream come true. And I've been very involved in the Zumba world. I attend, teach, or practice Zumba on a daily basis. Before long, I started to see other Zumba people at the gym 7 days a week. More than church family. More than anyone. And then I dove into this world if instructing. Before a few weeks had even passed I was obsessed. Every thought, picture, conversation, status update, & profile was about Zumba. Was about becoming an instructor. I love being a part of the ZIN. It feels like a secret world. And I love talking about it & showing it off to friends & family. I've always struggled with feeling like I don't have a lot to show. And this makes me feel like I'm something. Like I finally have something about me that can be admired. Envied. Liked. For once I have a status I can take pride in. And then a few weeks ago I began looking around me. I began paying attention to other instructors I know. I started to notice things. They all have lost more weight than me. They all have found more work than me. Many are better teachers & dancers than I am. They are all better known and more sought out than I am. This upset me very much. Once again, I felt, for the millionth time in my life, that I'm not good at anything & I have failed at being the success I want to be.
Last week I went to a big Zumba event in SF. I saw some of Zumba's biggest names in person. The creator himself & all the ZESs. (Zumba Educational Specialists.) That day, the feeling of inadequacy overwhelmed me. I felt that compared to everyone there, I sucked. And there in the middle of a huge day and a huge crowd, with my group of friends who don't walk with the Lord, I cried out to Him. I asked Him to give me relief. And out of nowhere I saw it. I saw that all these amazing, ripped, beautiful, successful, sought-after instructors spent every waking moment, every thought, every day, living for that success. Every bite they eat, every activity. That's the only way to become that successful. To have it BECOME your life. And I saw in a Flash that this is what my life has become. I live for Zumba. How ugly! How selfish! How dreadfully horrid. How in the world did I get so wrapped up In this? I realize that I have wrapped my identity, my status, how I feel about myself, and even who I am up in the Zumba world. For months it's been all that's mattered to me. I've measured who I am and how good I am by my success in this industry. And I get depressed and angry and bitter when others succeed in finding more work and recognition that I do. Not only is this awfully ugly, but the truth is that I have begun to idolize this. I don't look any different that a normal American. I'm striving for success in a field of my Choosing. But, it's a dangerous road.
I have committed to a Healthier lifestyle. I have dedicated 2011 to finishing my weight loss. And i will still teach and love Zumba. But it hit me today that in order to get back to being just me, just a redeemed girl who's daily falling more head-over-heals in love with Jesus, I need to give up any hope of being the best. Of losing as much weight as everyone else. Of being the most successful instructor out there. I won't. It's not going to happen. I will always be less successful that most of them, because being involved in ministries will take time away from dancing. But that's okay. I need to learn to be just me again. My identity needs to be found in Jesus and Jesus alone. I need to daily lay the rest at His feet. All that should matter is whether my heart is in tune with His today. I need to learn to get back to that. See this whole world and all in it as temporary. Refuse to be "of" it. This is hard. And painful. And will require much stripping of layers. It's gonna take everything in me to get it. And it's going to be an on-going battle. But thank God He's given me all of His power to accomplish this. He is so good. All the time.