Saturday, February 14, 2015

Valentine’s Day Special: Relationships, Marriage and Dance (Part 2)

We’ve talked a bit about how the married ladies are making it work in love, life, and dance. What about the single ladies?
On Dancing
Though many bemoan their single relationship status, being single as a dancer definitely has its advantages as well. Senior company member Emily moved to Houston specifically to dance with Ad Deum, and she is one of many company members who has done so.
She said, “I love the freedom I have as a single person to make my own decisions. Dance presents so many opportunities to work with different dance companies or travel the world and being single gives me the freedom to take advantage of each opportunity that comes my way without having the complication of factoring another person into decisions.”
For Shannon, who also moved to Houston to dance with the company, being single gives her a “sense of boldness” to pursue different opportunities like moving cross-country, explaining that “the challenge of coordinating another person’s life and goals could become a deterrent to exploring various opportunities.”
On Time and Busy Schedules
While being single as a dancer may seem easier and more natural -- since most start dancing as young kids who are, well, single -- the balance between the comfort found in being single and the desire to be in a relationship headed toward marriage can be a hard one. How do you find time to pursue a relationship with someone while maintaining a busy schedule? Does that relationship have to signify the beginning of the end of a dance career?
Neither Emily nor Shannon have definitive answers for this challenge. Shannon even admits that her busy schedule can actually become her comfort zone, saying:
“It has been great to watch other dancers prove that it’s actually possible to be married and continue dancing. Personally, however, I have not figured out how to prevent my schedule from getting in the way. Instead, I think I fall back on being busy as an excuse to keep myself off the “playing field” in dating and relationships because I am afraid that it will mess with my carefully laid schedule and my emotions. And my schedule doesn’t allow time for my emotions to go haywire. Haha”
On Contentment
While enjoying the freedom that often comes with dancing as a single person, there are also times when disappointment may try to creep in and spoil that phase of life. Emily has been encouraged by married friends who remind her how special that time of singleness is.
“When you are single, your journey is just with you and the Lord as your first love, but when you are married your relationship with God changes because you are now one with another person,” she stated.
Through this time of being single Emily has learned valuable lessons, saying, “The Lord has taught me how important it is for me to really know my identity in Him before I unite with someone else. When you are secure in who the Lord says you are, you don’t have to rely on someone else to give you worth.”
She added, “The Lord has also taught me so much about love, and through growing in knowledge of His love for me, I am better able to love others.”
Shannon echoed those sentiments as she reflected on lessons God has taught her during this time.
“His timing is perfect,” she acknowledged. “Though I may have my own ideas and proposed timeline, God has definitely shown me that He is teaching me lessons now that are preparing me to become a wife. Lessons like learning my identity in Christ, which is often hard to remember in the dance world… I’ve also learned to be honest before the Lord in both my frustrations and my fears, which has actually led me to become more vulnerable and open in other relationships as well as in my dancing.”
What advice do they have for others learning to be content as a single person?
“Don’t get too far ahead of yourself and take for granted the time you have as a single person, free to fully invest in whatever the Lord has placed on your heart whether it be your friendships, your family or a people group on the other side of the world,” Emily recommended.
Shannon offered advice of which she often reminds herself: “Seek the Lord first. He promises that when we do, He will add “all these things” (Matthew 6:33). To me, that includes relationships and finding a future spouse as well as career, finances, etc. In those times when I am able to keep my focus on the Lord (which is a constant decision), it is then that I feel I am better able to take advantage of the single life the Lord has blessed me with without falling into bitterness or watching life on the sidelines through the eyes of Hallmark Channel heroines.”
Remember our chocolate scenario from “Part 1”? Romantic relationships bring about different phases of life for different people. For some, a relationship that leads to marriage is the beginning of a new phase in which dance is no longer a career goal. For others, it begins the tango of fusing together two lives in which dance is a major part. For still others, relationships play a valuable role, but do not lead to marriage.
One thing is clear: God loves relationships, marriage and dance; and they can, in fact, go well together. Indeed, it seems like when it comes to the three, the saying “where there’s a will, there’s a way” is quite applicable. The key is to be careful that it is God’s will for which we are making a way rather than a battle of the wills. Then He takes care of the timing, the contentment, the scheduling, the traveling, the dancing.

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