A big, smiling welcome to you! This post is part of a series I’m working my way through in the month of October, called Swim Your Own Race. If you’d like to start at the beginning (it is a very good place to start, after all) you can do so, right here. I hope you enjoy diving in!


How long has it been since you last danced your little heart out?

Like really, danced it out.

This is a serious question.

Sort of.

You see, we capture imagery at weddings lots and often, and I tend to simultaneously take pictures and study human nature.

And Watson, my dear fellow, I have an observation.

A lot of us take ourselves too seriously.



I know the world is full of different personalities. There are people that instantly shy away when a camera is pointed in their direction. There are people who do their best to put on a smile they might’ve practiced in the mirror. And, there are people who instantly move toward the camera and stick out their tongues.

{The latter are kind of my favorite.}

At weddings, there are people who get out on the dance floor when they know the song and feel certain they’ve got the moves for it. There are the people who only dance if they’re asked (or even dragged) to the dance floor. There are people who take themselves too seriously to dance at all. And, there are the people who will be on the dance floor, every song, all evening long.

{The latter are kind of my favorite… empty dance floors just don’t make for interesting photos.}

I can’t say that I’m out on the dance floor particularly often, seeing as though I need to be capturing imagery of what’s happening there, but I will occasionally photobomb an iPhone shot or two. So I guess I’m somewhere in the middle.

But sometimes I think I… and a lot of my fellow humans… are too stuffed full of our own importance to relax and just enjoy life. We’re stressed because we feel like the work that we do and the things that we accomplish each day are important — and hear me on this one, I’m not saying they’re not.

But here’s what I am saying.

When I have a dance party in the living room with my kids… that’s important, too. It doesn’t earn money or pay bills or help fix a meal or accomplish laundry or get the house one ounce cleaner. (It’s typically the opposite). But the attention and the fun of taking long enough to just search for Mike Tompkins on youtube and find what I can find is important to my children, and that should be a lot more important to me than it is.

We all have a race to swim. We are all on a journey in this world until we breathe our last breath.

But the people who are closest to the end of the line typically seem to have a different perspective on what’s important in life than the rest of us. Their bucket lists usually focus around making memories, choosing joy, and just enjoying whatever each day brings… living life to the fullest.

If I could draw a little line across your screen right now with “I’m buttoned up so tight a good sneeze might make me pop” on one end of the spectrum and “I’d have a dance party right now, in a parking lot, with a ton of strangers, in a polkadot leotard, while half my town watched” at the other end, where do you think you’d fall?” Quite a bit closer to buttoned up?

Is there a small possibility that you’re taking the things that you do each day a little too seriously? I do. Is there the potential that the world will keep turning if you drop a couple of the plates you’re spinning — and do you maybe need to be reminded of that? I do.

It doesn’t have to be dancing in a parking lot — or even in your living room — but what is it that helps you let go, feel humble and human and loosen up and just breathe? (That doesn’t involve drug usage or other actions that the Lord might not be such a big fan of? And is that perhaps a worthwhile question — do you have to have a beer in your hand to relax? Why? I digress!)

Yesterday at his soccer game, the Bear got hit in the tummy with the ball. When he told his coach what happened, his coach gave him some great advice: Shake it off and get back out there.

Sometimes life hurts big time, but our race is still happening. We have to be willing to dive in again, and keep going for it.

When we take ourselves too seriously, just about everything that happens to us, everything we feel we need to get done, everything other people might say about us that hurts or that makes us feel good, everything we do each day… it can all seem like such an overwhelmingly big deal.

But if we remember, in the span of the incredible vastness of eternity, that we are a tiny blip on the timeline, it’s easier to just hold onto the Truth that life is a fleeting and precious gift and we are the grass-like, fleeting, privileged recipients.

So, I have a little challenge for you. A little homework if you will.

When something happens today, as I’m sure it will, that just wasn’t what you wanted to happen, remember your place in the timeline of eternity. You are a tiny speck — but WOW, you are simultaneously so rare, and precious to the God who created it all.

Your assignment for today is to gather the kiddos (if there are any) in the living room, or a friend, or a hubs, or just go for it right by yourself (but don’t go solo because you’re too afraid to let anyone see you) — and just dance. This is an exercise in NOT taking yourself too seriously. Celebrate the gift that is today — your race is happening! Your life is here!

If you aren’t joyful yet, dance until you get there. And when that unpleasant thing happens, can you shake it off?

I’ve included a song below to start off your dance party.

Remember that an incredible, loving, unchanging God is in heaven above. He’s on the throne, He’s sovereign and powerful, and He is gloriously good. Let this Truth help you to shake it off – whatever comes to weigh you down.


Parents — I initially included Taylor Swift’s video to “Shake It Off” with this post, but there is a mild scene of “bootyshaking” in that video, so, wanting to not cause offense, I decided to post a video by Mike Tompkins instead, which my family likes to dance to in the living room, and which does not include “bootyshaking.” (I love the message behind the lyrics in Swift’s song though, so I still think it’s worthwhile checking out. You can read the lyrics here.)




Don’t forget! There are LOTS of other writers doing #31Days this October, too! One of my favorites is my friend Amanda at Seriously. You can find more 31 Days series by visiting write31days.com.