There’s this thing that takes Samford by storm every year. Talk begins late fall and by Christmas break anticipation starts to rise.
Fast forward just a bit to February and all anyone can talk about is Step Sing.
“How are you?”
Literally, that happens. A lot. And that right there is a full conversation because we’re all flat exhausted, running on coffee and excitement and the hope that we’ll remember our dance moves come showtime.
I’ve been dancing and singing on stage since 3rd grade but only because people are kind enough to let me go up and make a fool of myself. There will be no solos coming out of this mouth and you won’t find me in a dance break. Most likely I’ll be the one in the back corner belting her heart out and trying to smile as I jump and leap while staying in character.
I love every bit of it. The background, the crazy costumes, the 40 hours of practice, the atmosphere in the balcony as students cheer each other on.
But there’s something risky about being on a stage – whether dancing, singing, speaking, playing, whatever-ing.
You’re there to entertain, to play a part, to give something of yourself… but who are you giving it to? Who are you doing it for?
I didn’t get it at first, if we’re being honest about that whole shindig. I wanted to look the part and act the part even if it meant faking the part.
I wanted the audience to love me and if that was too much, I simply hoped I wouldn’t fall flat on my face.
(I did, by the way. Fall on my face. But that’s a story for another day.)
(Actually I may not share that story because hashtag embarrassing.)
Here’s what I’ve learned: The audience will ooh and aah. They’ll cheer and scream and compliment you but ultimately it won’t be enough. Someone will be better or funnier or nail it when you slip up. They can’t be why you give yourself to the show.
The same goes for your family and friends. More than anyone else they will shower compliments and praise but I promise it will fade.
Don’t do it for yourself, either. Because you’ll always be able to do better, leap higher, hit the notes louder.
I’ve been a cop (2014), a farmer (2013) and an Olympic athlete (2012).
That time we were farmers? It was just the most fun, but here’s what I remember: the first two nights the girls in our show teased their hair and wore pigtails. I didn’t.
I was too scared.
To wear pigtails? Yeah. It’s a weird fear, let’s be real. But it wasn’t about the hair-do or my face shape . . . it was about what people would see. Or, to be more accurate, what they wouldn’t.
Running from the base of my neck up the back of my head is a scar where no hair will grow. The removal of a brain tumor at 17 left behind a scar that remains at 22.
I love it. I love it so fierce. But two years ago this week, I was embarrassed of the scar that told the story of pain. It didn’t look like what the world declared beautiful.
I was wearing overalls and fake freckles and on the outside I was confident in my silly outfit. Inside I was crumbling. But Saturday night came and I heard it tugging inside…
Who are you dancing for?
Me? Or them?
He made the scar. He allowed the scar. And when we get down to it, that scar is one of the most beautiful, precious gifts I’ve been given in my 22 years.
So I danced. For Him. In pigtails.
Who are you dancing for? Because the only one in that audience who deserves your worship in the One who created your limbs to move and your mouth to sing.
Give it to Him. Every twist and turn, every note that rises as you sing out, every last ounce of energy when we’re halfway through the show and you’ve gone numb from giving every step your all. Hit the notes, strike the poses, give your very best, but make sure you give it to Him.
Last week I walked a sidewalk and could barely see where I was going; I was completely enraptured by the trees dancing in the wind. Without thinking about it I found myself whispering out loud, “God, I want to dance for you like that. Without a second thought or a worry in the world, I want to dance with you. To dance for you.”
Tonight I get to do that. Dressed up like the Queen of Hearts, I’m going to mess up, slip up, sing a wrong note or two, and probably stand on the wrong part of the stage. I won’t be anywhere near perfect but I promise there won’t be a second that is anything less than my best.
I hope that the audience enjoys the show but I’m not there for them. I’m dancing for Him.
More on the story of dancing in pigtails here :: When Scars Become Beautiful
Journal thoughts from that dance two years ago :: Pigtails and Joy
Samford Step Sing 2015 is going to be amazing. If you’re a little bit cray and want to watch the show, it will be live streamed Thursday-Saturday night for ZERO American dollars. All info is right here in case you’re interested.