I was really inspired yesterday, as I spoke to one of my Joffrey Ballet School students about some of her challenges as a young dancer, and also her progress over the past school year. She was feeling a little down about her progress, and shared that her younger brother and sister, who are between the ages of 5 and 10 yrs old, had received scholarships for a dance program. She said that they were much more advanced than she was at their age, and that everything came so easy to them. She, on the other hand, had to struggle through many challenges, along with not having the typical “dancer body” (whatever that is).
I became very curious as we continued to talk, and as she opened up, I learned some things about her that I did not know, and that really shocked me! I gained a whole new level of respect for her, after hearing her story, and it really inspired me as well.
She explained to me that she was born with many disabilities, was made paralyzed as a toddler by a vaccination that she received, was autistic as a young child, and also had a deformity with her feet, which greatly affected her ability to walk properly. (Mind you, if you saw her today, in my dance class, you would never even believe that any of this was true, let alone possible!)
Through years of intense physical therapy, and being part of a successful clinical trial, she was able to overcome all of her ailments, and become what most people consider to be a “normal child” (and I use the world normal loosely here). Her parents then got her involved in Ballet classes as a child, to help her with her coordination. Fast forward seven or eight years, and here she is in New York City, as a Ballet trainee, at the world-renowned, Joffrey Ballet School! God is awesome!!
During our conversation, I told her that she has to remember how far she’s come when she’s evaluating her personal progress as a dancer. She beat the odds, and overcame obstacles that my other students couldn’t even imagine going through! She didn’t have the same natural flexibility, and talents that her siblings had, because she started out with an unfair disadvantage. But I reminded her that, her experience has helped to make her a very hard-working, focused, determined, and passionate young dancer. You can see how passionate and expressive she is when she dances, and now I know where that comes from. It comes from her appreciation and gratitude for even being able to dance, after having so many obstacles in her way. Of course, she had teachers that told her that she’d never be able to dance, based on her conditions and physical disabilities, but she sure showed them!!
The moral of this story:
- Don’t underestimate God’s power, and His ability to bring healing and restoration in your life. If you have the faith, the determination, and the spirit of perseverance, there is no challenge that you can’t overcome. You will have to work hard, but the end result will be totally worth it! My student is a prime example of this.
- Don’t compare your progress, success, or life to that of your friends, colleagues, or family members. Their story is not your story. They have not had to face the same challenges that you have. They have different strengths, weaknesses, talents, and a different history then you. Embrace YOUR story, and who YOU are, and celebrate it!
- Don’t listen to the naysayers. There will always be people around you that will be skeptical, and ready and willing to tell you 101 reasons why something won’t work. Don’t listen to them. Listen to God. What is God telling you to do? Focus on that. Even when YOU become your own naysayer, tell yourself to shut up too! Stay in a positive frame of mind, and always maintain a Can-Do attitude.
- Never forget how far you’ve come. It’s so easy to look at where you are today, and start to have a pity party about all of the things you have yet to accomplish, all of the mistakes you made, and how much farther along you’d hoped to be in your life by now. But hold on a second. Did you forget about where you came from? Have you forgotten about where you started? Take a moment to reflect and recognize just how far you’ve come, from where you used to be. That is an incredible testimony and blessing, and something that you should remember and give thanks for, every day!
No matter what you’re going through, or what you’ve been through, there is a purpose in your pain. God will take those things in your life that seem negative, unpleasant, or unfair, and use them for something good. If you trust Him, and allow Him to heal you, lead you, and guide you, you will find out that there is nothing too hard for God, and that he can turn ANY situation around, according to his perfect will.
Be encouraged today, celebrate how far you’ve come, and get excited about where God is taking you in the future!
Have you ever had to overcome really tough, life challenges? How did you do it? Share your story in the comments section below.
If you need help overcoming a challenge, post it in the comments section, and I will be sure to respond with my advice. 🙂
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