I was about to take a shower, and for some reason, I looked at myself in the mirror. Rookie mistake. You see, I’ve gained 5.5 kilograms in the last year and, without access to my local gym and trainer for the past 13 months, I’ve lost some muscle mass.
As I gazed upon my reflection, I felt a surge of disappointment and shame. I exhaled a long sigh, slumped my shoulders and shook my head in despair at the discouraging image before me.
Then something surprising happened. I started dancing. I busted out moves I didn’t even know I had. I was really getting into it and suddenly I was smiling, confident and free, and enjoying myself.
It didn’t take long for my rational brain to try to shut this party down: “What on earth are you doing? This is weird. Why are you doing this?”
Then another part of me confronted my rational brain: “First of all, smarty pants, that’s a dumb question. What does it look like I’m doing? I’m dancing. It’s called having fun. You should try it sometime. You claim this is weird. Really? According to whom?
“In the broader context of human history dancing is very normal. It’s a timeless and universal human activity. Sure, some of my dance moves are unusual, but who cares? What’s so amazing about ‘usual’?
“Jesus was unusual. Winning an Olympic gold medal is unusual. The most delicious meal I ever tasted was unusual. ‘Usual’ is overrated. And you ask why I’m doing this? Because it’s fun. I’m enjoying myself. I went from feeling depressed about what I saw in the mirror to being delightfully amused. How is this a problem?”
Now I can only imagine what you might be thinking. You might be concerned about the extended conversation I had with myself. Truth be told, I enjoy dialoguing with myself. I find it helpful.
And I’m not the only one. In fact, it puts me in pretty good company. In a study printed in the Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, Daniel Swingley and Gary Lupyan concluded that talking to yourself is beneficial and a sign of being a genius. Apparently Einstein talked to himself all the time.
Maybe you’re concerned with the undignified image of me dancing. For those of you offended or repulsed by such an image, I wish you a speedy recovery. However, I would also reference what King David said to his wife Michal, who was offended by him disrobing and dancing mightily before the Lord: “I was dancing before the Lord . . . and I will become even more undignified than this.”
You may find the comparison of me dancing in response to seeing my body’s reflection in the mirror with David dancing in response to the return of the Ark of the Covenant as sacrilegious. The truth is, our bodies are sacred. They are the Holy of Holies. They are the dwelling place of God Almighty. Why wouldn’t we dance upon recognizing divine presence with and within our bodies?
I realize this is a weird story, but that’s kind of the point. You see, after this experience I realized I would never dance so freely in public. Why? Because I worry about what others—like you—might think. I tend to keep a tight leash on my “weirdness.” I try to “be normal.” But, as the prophet Bruce Cockburn reminds us, “The trouble with normal is it only gets worse.”
I’m starting to see the tyranny of “normal” for what it is. I’m beginning to accept that I’m “weirder” than I let on.
As I approach 50 I’m feeling an urgency to let my true unique light shine before I lose touch with my inner child altogether. It’s time to start dancing and let my weird self out and be seen. Because that is the Troy who God created. Who am I to second guess God?
My guess is that you’re weirder than you let on as well. Most of us are. I want to encourage you to dance and be your “weird” true self. Don’t be afraid. Yes, “haters gonna hate,” “mockers gonna mock,” “critics gonna criticize,” and “naysayers gonna naysay,” but you don’t have to let them control you or grind you down. Dance. Yodel. Whatever.
Be your “weird” true self. I think that is a significant part of what authentic worship is about: letting God liberate you to be who you really are.
Troy Watson will become even more undignified than this.