By Lisa Noroña

Let's start at the beginning...

Before we become anything in this world we are first a daughter or a son. You are the child of your Heavenly Father and then He gives you to your earthly parents. What a great beginning: to be loved and adored by your Creator. Then life begins to happen. Some carry their identity of being a son or a daughter with them but for some it gets lost along the way.

Whenever I was asked,  "What do you do?" my response was always intertwined with who I was. I would reply, “I'm a dancer”. Being a professional dancer was my identity. It was what I poured my everything in to. Training for long hours turned into training for years. Dance was my savior. I knew at a very young age that if I wanted to rise up out of my current situation, where I didn't have much hope, dance was my ticket out. With amazing training, passion and a tough exterior, at 19 I went off to New York to pursue my career as a professional.

Now I'm going to fast forward many years to just 3 years ago, when I was here in First Year BSSM. I had an encounter that unraveled me. It unraveled me because it separated my identity, who I was, from what I did. God asked me to lay down dance before Him, and when I heard those words, a rush of anger went through me, my stomach twisted. In that moment I realized that at my center my identity was still that of being a dancer not being a daughter.

This is what He whispered to me, “Dance is a gift that I’ve given you. It's not who you are. It's a part of you that expresses me." The moment I laid down my gift, there was an immediate separation of identity from career. He realigned me with who He had created me to be: His daughter. Having the understanding that dance was no longer my identity, no longer my savior, brought me freedom and clarity, so that, my Heavenly Father could give me His gift. His gift is far more extravagant than I could ever dream of, far more than I could ever accomplish on my own.

No matter what your gifts are, if you are holding on to them too tightly -- out of fear, disappointment, pride, hurt -- I encourage you to lay them down before Him. By doing so, He aligns His dreams with the gifts that He has poured into you, and that's an unstoppable combination. Rest, knowing that from the beginning, you were first a daughter, a son. Then and now, He loves and adores you.

Redding Performing Arts