The Messy Dance of Grace

I learned a long time ago that it is never a good idea for me to tell myself that I'm going to commit to do something every day.  You see, I'm what I like to call a "recovering perfectionist," and the key word here is recovering.  I have learned that a part of my recovery process is giving myself space to set the bar lower than perfectionistic Miranda may desire.

Or at least I thought I learned that...

Enter the New Year 2015.

A week or two before the New Year, I began to think about what my goals and resolutions would be.  I picked my "mantra" for the year (maybe that will come up in another post!), and also decided on some of my goals, big and small.  And then…I did the unthinkable.  

I decided I wanted to dance every day.

You heard me, folks!  I said EVERY. DAY.  Perfectionistic Miranda was delighted by this high bar, while recovering perfectionist Miranda rationalized "Meh!  It's dancing!  It's the most fun resolution ever!  I CAN do this every day!"

Fast forward 2 weeks into the New Year… I am in that in-between stage right before I fall into a blissful, deep sleep, when all of a sudden, I sit up... wide awake.

I had forgotten to dance.

Immediately, I was scrambling to get out of bed and to do a few shimmies and jazz hands by my bedside table.  Forget the fact that I was exhausted and had an early morning ahead. (When perfectionism is in charge, you can forget about sanity, obviously.)

Yet, as I was scrambling with the perfectionist voice screaming loudly, I somehow managed to catch a hold of the whisper of my far messier, far truer self: choose grace.

With this soft whisper, I stilled.  The perfectionist whimpered in the face of possible failure. But the recovering perfectionist rejoiced at the chance for freedom… the chance for failure, and the chance to embrace grace and mess and authentic living.  

Perfection binds and constrains, while grace frees and dances.  I don't know about you, but I want freedom.  I want my heart to dance, even when my feet cannot.  I even want my messiness to leak out of the constraints, because that's where I can feel the grace that's waiting for me. 

This morning when I woke up, this post was basically already written.  But then this happened....

This sky, y'all.  Glorious.

This sky, y'all.  Glorious.

When I saw this, my eyes filled with tears at the newness and beauty of it all… all the colors imperfectly leaking and blending with each other.  The epitome of messy grace is a glorious sunrise.

 This may be a New Year, but every day is a new day. 

A new day filled with new chances. 

A new day to dance. 

A new day to make mistakes. 

A new day to make memories.

And always, a new day for grace. 

In the words of one of my favorite literary characters, Anne Shirley (I couldn't just let the nerdiness end with Elizabeth's Wicked post, now, could I?):

"Isn't it nice to think that tomorrow is a new day with no mistakes in it yet?"

Why, Anne Shirley, it is nice to think that!  And because I know that tomorrow isn't messy yet, I hope that can give me space to embrace my mess a little more today.  

In case you are wondering, I didn't dance that night.  And honestly?  It was hard not to.  It was hard to choose grace.  But I decided that grace was the braver choice for me in that moment, even with something so silly as dancing.  Grace was what I needed then, and it's what I need now, and it's what I'll need tomorrow and the next day and the next.  I want to always choose grace, even when I choose to dance.

Friends, let's choose to fill our new days of this New Year with messiness, beauty, dancing, and a whole lot of grace.