Welcome my friend, Cheryl Robinson, whose story I’m grateful to host here. By sharing her pain and her process for healing, she invites us to walk with her as a woman of God, seeking Him to help her see her body as a gift that is meant for praise!
Going on this journey with you leads me to think about my childhood as a young girl. All I wanted to do was dance. So, my parents laid out the rules. God first, family and school second, and Vera’s School of Dance third. I took classes in tap dance and ballet. Later, I learned to twirl a baton in 7th grade; I joined and performed with the “Dallas Metropolitan Twirlers” until high school, where I became a majorette. This led me to my last remaining goal for dance (or so I thought), which was to dance with a collegiate dance team while I earned my degree in Social Work/Humanities.
Little did I know that continuing dance in college would result in a silent and long-suffering struggle with body image. The first year I tried out, I was selected as an alternate dancer. Although devastated, I was still happy with my accomplishment. So many other young ladies were simply turned away at tryouts. One of them, my dearest friend to this date, was turned away and she was a better dancer than I was. She was the Captain of our high school majorette team for four years. Nevertheless, she was told her hips were too big, (but they were not!) She had a great shape, but besides that, she was a phenomenal dancer. Every year I begged her to try out again, but she wouldn’t. This also devastated us both.
I was pulled out front after tryouts and given a compliment, but it seemed two-sided. The judge panel informed all the young ladies remaining after tryouts, that I’d out performed all of them and the only reason I was selected as an alternate, was because I had a “Pot Belly”. This was said to to caution me to lose weight and for others not to gain.
As a result, I began to take notice of my waistline; it wasn’t as small as most of the other girls, but I wasn’t overweight. I remained very active right up until college. My body was simply shaped the way it was. I believe I just didn’t have what was considered a “dancer’s figure.” It didn’t take long for me to realize I had to work three times as hard to maintain an acceptable weight to dance throughout college. So, I lost the tummy, and I made the dance team. But I also formed a negative self-body image without realizing it, which resulted in over a decade of painful, silent suffering.
What I didn’t realize then was how detrimental engaging in negative self-dialogue regarding one’s body could be, and how the negative impact could steal joy from living your best God-given life.
So, lets ’s fast forward to my happier ending. As I grew in my Christian walk, God helped me realize I was hindering my life with my own thinking. He helped me do the work of correcting my negative thought pattern, which had robbed me from fully enjoying all the precious moments He was blessing me with.
This scripture, from God’s Word, helped me begin processing my negative thoughts. After learning from it, I began to see and understand my body, regardless of what form it may take on, was, and will always be a gift from God to be a blessing to others. My body also receives His blessings for me, which is a gift for me. Basically, my body is the vessel in which God chooses to bless me and do His will.
2 Corinthians 10:5 says,
Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ.
Today, I am part of the leadership in our Praise Dance Ministry at my church, and I’ve been serving there for over 15 years. I also started the Praise dance segment at a local city-wide youth revival, known as “Youth for Christ”.
So, to you Lovely and to my beautiful Goddaughter and and my wonderful niece, I caution you and encourage you: Dance! Dance (to live life) free of negative self-chatter and accept healing as you journey with God.