This week my daughter is headed to music camp. To be specific, SMACK (Summer Music & Arts Camp for Kids) Camp, hosted by the local church music and missions board. It's our first sleep-away camp. I, in my infinite wisdom, said to myself, "Self, you can't send your firstborn (she's a twin) away to camp in some foreign crazy land (an hour away at a Christian college) without someone you know as chaperone." 

Cause stranger danger, y'all. 

So I signed up to be chaperone for all the pre-teen girls at church. Cause stranger danger, y'all. And because no one else was crazy enough, I mean volunteered to chaperone a handful of giggly, wild and crazy girls for half a week.  

This week we'll be learning all sorts of artsy stuff like drama, and puppetry, and worship music, and singing, and dancing. All the things that kids think are super awesome and all the things that when you get 200 pre-teen kids together that are all doing that one thing, you are at the exact halfway point between setting up an Ibuprofin IV right in your arm, and watching them sing with joy and jubilation because they're having fun and worshipping at the same time. Ibuprofin. Joy. Ibuprofin. Joy. Ibu...

Where was I? Ahhh, yes. 

They're learning that bringing your shiny self doesn't require perfection to have fun and bring joy to the Lord and others. Man, what a lesson we need as grown-ups, huh?

Don't we hold back - sometimes - because that thing isn't perfect? Don't we give our turn to the next girl because we aren't good enough? Mama, let me ask you - who told you you weren't good enough? Who said you have to be perfect to sprinkle a little shine on the world? 

It wasn't me, that's for sure.

Gosh,  probably almost 20 years ago I remember not wearing sandals. I had crash-landed in the south where the women were ALWAYS pedicured, and having these big toes that look just like giant lightbulbs, and never having a pedicure in my entire life, I told myself I just didn't earn the right to do a cute sandal justice.

And then one day I threw caution to the wind, painted my giant lightbulbs, and went to church. Sandals and all. And you know what? No one cared. 

I had stressed myself out over nothing. These days, I look at my kids and my life and my to-do list and I guarantee you I am not concerned with you or your toes or what shoes you wore Sunday or if you came in with only a single toe polished and nine others naked. Shoot, you could have come in naked yourself and there's a pretty good chance I didn't notice that either. 

Because whatever. We made it and we were only 9 minutes late which is the equivalent of two hours early in the big book of how-often-Karen's-on-time. 

So here's what I'm thinking. If you're holding back your shine because you're waiting for it to be perfect, or because it's not good enough, or because you have lightbulb toes, DON'T.   

These kids at this music and arts camp - they aren't trying to be perfect. They're just going because they like to sing, or they like to dance (or their mamas need a few days of peace, let's be real), they want to have fun, and it's their time to shine!

And don't we all need less perfection? Less Pinterest-perfect? More shine-even-if-it's-not-perfect?

You know what else? I guarantee you that these kids and their singing - God doesn't want their polished perfection {no pun intended}. And He doesn't need yours either. He wants your scared-to-death, nervously-shaky-voice, slightly off tune, out there singing your heart out. Because you don't have to be perfect for Him, you just have to be you.

(^^^^My girl, all 4 ft 8 inches of her, shining, shaky, and nervous behind the microphone.) 

Don't be afraid to shine. 

Don't think that the only way you can shine is if your sparkle is perfect. 

See, your sparkle is perfect because you are sparkling. It's not perfect because it's perfect. 

Be YOU-tiful. 

But most important, just get out there. 

 

Shine On,

Karen
SHINEblog Editor