Skit night is a tradition at Michigan Christian Youth Camp, where I have been counseling most of my summer. Over one hundred campers and staff gathered into the large, wooden pavilion and chose seats facing the stage ahead. Christian pop music blared from speakers before the event began.
Some staff danced in front of the crowd on and near the stage enjoying themselves. The rest of us sat in our chairs. I watched them and laughed with them. I skimmed the lake of people around me and found Al Bastyr dancing his heart out with a grin on his face.
Al is a middle-aged man with a heart of gold. He travels the world and serves God with his testimony and love for others.
Al is blind.
I first met Al during a mission trip with my youth group last summer. He is a friend of the youth minister at my home church and visits as often as possible. (Read more about Al and his story here).
I’ve never seen Al dance before. He has never seem himself dance before. He has never seen anyone dance before. How does he know what dancing is or what it looks like?
While he was bopping along to the music, I couldn’t help but note how much fun he was having, and as I sat in my chair watching, I couldn’t help but wish that was me.
You see, Al doesn’t know what the latest dance trends are. He couldn’t see what the staff members upfront were doing to follow along. He was just doing his own thing. He didn’t know whether or not people were looking at him or how many people were around him.
What prevented me and the others from dancing like Al? Why didn’t we budge from our seats? Was it the fear of “not knowing how to dance,” the fear of looking awkward or being embarrassed?
I wonder if Al is ever embarrassed or if he hesitates to put himself out there. He is one of the most humble men I know, and he probably has more fun than a lot of others I know.
All of the campers and staff began cheering him on as he continued to have his own dance party. People clapped for him and encouraged him.
Later in the night he preformed a skit. He played his guitar and sang two songs he wrote. The campers were shocked to hear how well he can play guitar despite never seeing where his fingers are placed or reading music. The audience roared.
I want to dance and preform like Al. I want to be unafraid of the opinions of others or let their thoughts determine who I am.
Our theme for summer camp this year is “identity.” We learned that “identity determines functionality.” In other words, who we are defines what we do.
Being a child of the King gives us value, purpose, and a Love beyond all comprehension. Being identified with Christ means not being identified with or by anything or anyone else because nothing else matters.
God loves us despite our awkward dance moves or tone-deaf voices. He loves us for our willingness to be ourselves and unafraid in doing so. After, He created us. We are “fearfully and wonderfully made” (Psalm 139:14). We don’t need to worry about what others think of us because It really does not matter!
How great is that!?
Don’t be afraid to hold in your voice when you want to belt out a song or bust a move when you’re feeling the energy, but be more like Al. As a camp counselor, I’ve learned to be unafraid of embarrassing myself and more accepting of acting like a child on a sugar high. Kids love it when someone older has high energy and sings and flail their arms around. They feed off it, having more fun themselves.
God created us to have fun and embrace who we are, not to be afraid or embarrassed.
So go ahead, dance like Al, as if no one is watching.