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I have struggled with this so much - see, I weigh around 17½ stones (almost 250lbs) and feel that it is a barrier between me and my worship expression. I don't let it stop me in the least when it comes to worship or doing workshops. I take on a kind of "what you see is what you get" attitude.

But inside I'm soo conscious of my weight. I know it would be sensible to do the obvious and lose some, but it's easier said than done. I've always been 'big' and somehow that seems to make it harder to lose.

I would so love to do more 'up front' and want to ask the pastor and the worship leader if I may but I keep thinking what kind of example am I?

I was watching "Songs of Praise" on BBCtv this evening, a programme famous (or should I say infamous) for sticking to the old traditional hymns and Psalms Anglican service. But today they were at the Spring Harvest Festival and Tim Hughes was leading worship.

And they had almost half the stage given over to a group of wonderful flag worshippers! It looked so great but then I found myself thinking how I would love to be 'up there' with them but ..... no way. Dancing elephant, know what I mean?

Sorry for the whinge - just wondered what y'all think.
This really is a loaded question...

We understand that the calling & anointing from God is not based on our own talent, skill, or physical appearance.

We also understand that in the natural our bodies are the temple of God and we must keep them healthy so God can use them as living instruments. Our size can limit what we are physically capable of doing in the ministry. About a year ago I ministered this 3 minute piece at a dance conference in Dallas. I was 170lbs at the time, and I thought I was going to fall out by the time I finished. I am now at 150lbs (spread over 5'10") and went 20 minutes in high energy dance with some other young adults at our church youth service yesterday. What a difference 20lbs can make! I am now focusing more on building up my cardio and less on weight lose.

I am transitioning from my work with the adults at my church to work with the youth, so I will need a lot more energy to keep up with the other youth dancers.

Peace & Blessings
Jireh brings up a really good point.

Energy and stamina are really the major issue in the body size question, IMO. There are things that an overweight body just cannot do gracefully or completely. I think you just have to adapt what you do to the condition you are in at the moment, and go from there. There are pieces I have done at a thinner body size, or when I was healthier, that I would not attempt now because of those issues.

The physical appearance thing is less important I think. With proper garmenting and judicious choreography, a large dancer can appear just as graceful and minister just as effectively as a lithe one whose body shape fits the accepted dancer image. And in a way, those of us with non-standard dancer bodies can be SO encouraging to others in the same condition who really want to be physically expressive in their worship but are self-conscious about their appearance. That example is a real ministry in itself.

I can also see why a large person wouldn't want to position themselves in a troupe of many other dancers who are all fit and slim. It's not completely a matter of self-consciousness. It is also a matter of not wanting to be a distraction. If people are concentrating on how out-of-place you look in a group, then you are diverting their attention from the message of the dance. It's crummy that it would be a consideration, but because of human nature it really is, and a valid consideration.

However, if you have something to do "up front" and it truly is a message to the congregation, not just an out-pouring of personal worship, I would get yourself up there and ask, girl! The message will transcend the limitations of the messenger. You just have to trust that that is true and go for it.
This issue is very difficult, and doesn't go away. It's special when a pastor "gets it" and quits barking about overweight or underweight issues, and begins to speak about how anointed, how powerful, how meaningful the presentation was. THAT speaks volumes.

Flaglady, let me share a few particular scriptures with you. I think it's one that's critical to good mental health for those of us who are "plus-sized". First, we know that Jesus lives in us, "in our hearts", right? That's a good thing to remember. We're taught over and over again to learn to see things as GOD sees them, not just how our own eyes in our time frame see things. "How LOVELY are Thy dwelling places, Oh Lord." Because I am His dwelling place, that makes me LOVELY! When I have spoken that often enough to get it from my mouth to my mind to my heart and receive it, I can move without inhibition.

Mind you, I am not going to try to place my 4X frame into an XL garment and draw attention away from Him to my frazzled frame. I'm not going to try to perform something that challenges my body beyond any hope of being able to pull it off. I don't do mayim steps right now. If I do, I'll be on the floor with parts of my knee all over the place! You might see me do other things, though. Even dancy kinds of things that don't run the risk of my being the floor show--or the on-the-floor show! Blush
Thanks all for your comments - very thought provoking and uplifting! And Dean, loved the notion of your knee being "in parts... all over the place"!! As an orthopeadic nurse, that really had me chuckling!

However, funnily enough, that's a problem I'm struggling with at the moment. I'm waiting for a knee replacement and am always a bit nervous about overdoing it.

And yet, as I believe Helena and I shared somewhere recently, it's really awesome how God gives you relief and release for the period os worship.

Last Sunday we started worship with a very Jewish song (I think) "When the Spirit of the Lord is Within My Heart (I will dance as David danced)".

Do you know that one? I have heard/sung it frequently in the past but quite forgot that it ramps up the tempo with each verse!

So I started with my flags at a fair clip only to be going along like an express train by the end! It was a wonderful worship moment, the whole church was bouncing and singing and it was almost electric. And I was bouncing too and dancing and thinkig "I'm going to really suffer for this tomorrow!" But I kept it up with the band every beat, and through about at least 3½ runs of the song!

But when we stopped, it was like watching a paddock of race horses after a race! Everyone puffing and panting but with HUGE smiles on their faces! Especially the band! And the keyboardist was rubbing his wrists like mad!

And me? I was sitting on the steps of the podium, out of breath, heart going like a jack hammer - better than aerobics any day! But my heart was back to normal within about 3 or 4 minutes which is pretty good considering I'd been a total sloth this past 2 weeks.

Not bad for an overweight 65 year old, huh?

God will provide - and how!

BTW, didn't suffer for it a bit!
<QUOTE author="flaglady,Oct 10 2006, 11:22 AM">
flaglady,Oct 10 2006, 11:22 AM Wrote:And me? I was sitting on the steps of the podium, out of breath, heart going like a jack hammer - better than aerobics any day! But my heart was back to normal within about 3 or 4 minutes which is pretty good considering I'd been a total sloth this past 2 weeks.

Not bad for an overweight 65 year old, huh?
My view has always been that getting hot and sweaty is good for you, so why not in church!
Oh, I always do!
OK...somebody reconcile for me the scriptures about the Levites wearing linen so that they would not sweat. Hard to believe they could do some of the heavy lifting and other activities they did (not to mention dancing!) and not sweat.

The only thing I can figure out is that they did sweat, but because Israel has such a desert dry climate, it evaporated immediately. No such luck in humid Missouri, I'm telling you.
I dunno...I got pretty hot AND sweaty dancing in Israel.

I do have to echo something Helena said about appropriate dress. The worst thing I've seen in dance troups is where everyone tries to dress in a leotard and a dance skirt. Might look okay on a 12 year old who weighs 90 lbs. but not on a middle aged top heavy woman. Yet I've seen it over and over. While the dancer's heart may be right before Him and her movements graceful, I find myself looking away in horror. Definitely not bringing the Lord any glory. Blush
The nearest thing I've found to "leveling the playing field" for a mish-mash of body types in a dance group is the Dance Oval. It is truly forgiving to larger bodies. And I have seen people who have had issues with dancing at their body size be completely released when wearing them. You really do feel graceful when you are wearing a dance oval, and the fears about revealing buldges are quickly forgotten in the joy of freely dancing before the Lord.

[Image: DanceOval4.png]
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