Guest Post: Unrestrained

You've already met Traci of Circular Praise and Tracings in a previous guest post. She hoops it regularly at her church for fun, fitness, and emotional and spiritual well-being. Also, check out her Zazzle shop. Thanks, Traci!

Hi, Kitchen Courage readers! Beth asked for guest bloggers to fill space while she’s away at Hoopcamp, and since I can’t be there with her (hoop one for me, girl!), I thought I’d help hold down the cyberfort.

As y’all know, Beth writes about her body image and eating issues from the perspective of someone who’s suffered from anorexia. I deal with disordered eating too, but because it’s neither starving myself nor bingeing and purging, most people wouldn’t call it a disorder. Poor food choices maybe, or “she loves her chocolate, “ but not what it really is – using food to stave off boredom, depression, rejection, etc., instead of simply to fuel my spirit’s rental car.

I know what the “right foods” are, and I do eat some of them; it’s just that I also like the “wrong foods,” the ones that lead to weight gain and metabolism imbalances. I acknowledge this, and I realize that for the sake of my health and quality of life, I need to make changes. Not to mention that as a Christian, I know my body is the temple of the Holy Spirit and I should be keeping said temple in decent shape…

And that brings me to the title of this post. Mandisa, former American Idol contestant and current contemporary Christian singer, has a song on her True Beauty album titled “Unrestrained.” It’s about worshipping God with everything in you, regardless of your situation. It beautifully illustrates the progression of a believer from an intellectual understanding of God to a fully lived relationship with Him.

I love dancing and hooping to it because like the lyrics, the music builds from a calm start to an unabashed lovefest by the end. It’s stirring and wonderful, and I wish I could dance it for my congregation, but I’d probably knock over one or both of the projectors we use to put songs on the wall for praise and worship. It’s not a song for small movements and small spaces…

But even if I can’t dance to “Unrestrained” for my church, I can dance. And for the first time in over two years, I did just that last weekend. We held a four-service, three-day revival, and I danced at two of the services.

The first time was Friday evening, to Casting Crowns’ “Who Am I?”, which was sung by two of our congregants. That meant I wasn’t alone on the platform, and I was dancing to a song I knew pretty well.

The second time was a bit different. It was Sunday morning in front of a full congregation. I was using a CD I’d bought on Saturday, and the song (“Beauty of the Cross” performed by FEE) was one I’d never heard until I found it in the local Lifeway store.

Also, I was on the platform without any other warm bodies, so my nerves threatened to take over in the form of an Elvis Presley-like leg twitch and lip tic reminiscent of his famous sneer. A few deep breaths and a quick prayer helped settle me, but it wasn’t easy getting through that mostly-freestyle dance.

It went well – I didn’t forget the lyrics and end up standing there doing nothing, or knock over the projectors, or pass out from overexertion. Best of all from the perspective of my body image issues, I didn’t receive any criticism, only comments on how beautiful and graceful the dance was. For someone who’s been on the receiving end of judgemental remarks about how overweight people shouldn’t be allowed to do dance ministry, hearing such encouraging compliments is not only appreciated, it’s actually healing.

Beth asked the other day if we were not-waiting-to-feel (insert arbitrary marker of goodness here) last week, and if so how. As I read that post, I realized the dancing was my “how.” Now I just need to do more of it (and keep hooping, of course), and allow God to take away the restraints that keep me from being fully alive in Him.

How about you? Have you had an unrestrained moment recently? What was it?

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