Thursday, October 23, 2008

Free Spirit

At 4:35 a.m. the average teenager snores as she enters the middle of her sleep cycle, wrapped in blankets and visiting dreamland. However, at 4:35 a.m. I throw off my blankets as Christian music hums in my ears and rush downstairs to toast my bagel. I prefer to head off to school with a feeling of accomplishment and exhilaration, due to practicing dance, not a feeling of tiredness and gloom like many classmates exhibit.

When I started ballet almost four years ago dancing changed from a fun way to exercise into a passion. I am not blessed with athleticism or flexibility, so striving to improve my dancing is my greatest challenge. Some people like to remind me that I started too late and will never reach the level of excellence I aim for. I just smile and say to myself, “All things are possible through Christ who strengthens me,” and “If there’s a will there’s a way.”

Along with dance, another passion occupies an equal portion of my heart: photography. Both elate my spirits more than anything else. I dream of not only elating my spirits but of touching many hearts through these art forms. I see myself using dance and photography in my ultimate desire to spread God’s love to others.

Currently I attend a Christian dance school where we worship God through dancing and share His message with audiences. I hope to teach others how to worship through dance and to inspire people through my passionate movements. Dance will always be a part of my life, through either teaching or taking classes on the side of my other occupations.
As well as inspiring people through dance, I anticipate touching people with my photographs. I believe photography provides a glimpse into another’s heart. Photographs open our minds to others’ feelings in a beautiful and powerful way. I will stir others’ emotions with photographs either by working for a newspaper, studio, or teaching photography.

Currently as Editor-in-Chief of our yearbook, I help tell stories within our school. My goals to use the most emotion filled and highest quality photographs often conflict with designers’ goals to keep the action looking into the page or to keep the design consistent. No other Editor-in-Chief before me has striven for the amount of coverage we are trying for or has gotten to know each staff member on a personal level as I have. Because my staff listens to me and respects me, we are placing much more emotion filled photographs on our pages. I do not want another mediocre book but want to soar ahead, covering all the nooks and crannies of our school and filling the pages with the highest quality design, stories, and photographs.

When I crawl into bed at 10 p.m. I like to know my dreams are coming true because I dared to give people a glimpse of another’s heart through photographs and dared to share God’s love through dancing.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Forever dancing for Jesus in my heart

(May 25, 2011)

Back in 2008 I danced too much. Was way too hard on myself. Wouldn't always let myself just
let go, relax, and dance not for anyone and not for myself, but for Jesus.

... But even back then, I knew that. And for a lot of the time I truly
would let go, completely enjoying the glorious, glorious time with Him.

That is why I danced.
That is why it felt wonderful.

It was like
a glimpse of Heaven. A glimpse of dancing with Jesus.
Praising Him,
thinking about His great love.
I danced to give others a chance to see His love and beauty.

To praise and worship Him for all to see!!!

... With every limb of my body, and every ounce of energy (which was A LOT of energy), I put my all into glorifying His name through my movements.

... And now today, I am so thankful for all those hours I spent with Him. With the beautiful beautiful songs about Him. I would spend hours upon hours deeply thinking about all the words of Christian songs as I danced to them. I still hunger to listen to, sing, and dance to more and more beautiful Christian songs.

... Lately I am going back to my old CDs to listen. The lyrics fill me with so much joy and peace. There is no room for any anxiety or fear.
It all melts away. Thinking about His grace and giving Him all my stupid fears whenever they try to consume me seriously makes me feel like I am on anxiety medication, even though I haven't taken any kind of medication for a few years!! I feel filled with an overwhelming, lasting peace beyond my understanding.

And a few times this summer, I have danced.

Danced around the apartment.

With everything I have.

Not for me.
Not for anyone else. But for Jesus.
Loving every precious moment with Him.

No matter where I am, when I think about this song I used to dance around to back in 2008, my heart swells with joy and love for Jesus. I loved Him back then, but
now I have been captivated by His grace. Every song I used to dance to and sing means more and more every day, as I fall harder and harder, deeper and deeper, in love with my Jesus. As I read His Word more and more.

overwhelmed by His forgiveness. For me, a selfish, horrible sinner.

His mercy is

Here is a song I danced to back then. The words came strait from my heart to Jesus then, and mean
even more when I sing them in my heart to Jesus now.

"I will understand
If they can't comprehend

All of the time we spend

'Cause it's beautiful

When You speak to me

Whispering softly

Love sweet melodies
That are beautiful

I'm in love with You
So in love with You

And they just don't know what You do to me

I'm in love with You

So in love with You

And they'll never know

What You do to me

Clothing me in righteousness
Lord, I must confess
I hold You to Your promises
That are beautiful

You've become my everything
Your presence makes me weak
'Til there are no words to speak
But "Oh so beautiful"

I'm in love with You

So in love with You

And they just don't know what You do to me

I'm in love with You

So in love with You

And they'll never know

What You do to me

They don't really know what You do to me
They don't understand how You make me free
When we're all alone and it's me and You
There's not enough expression for the things You do

I'm in love with You

So in love with You

And they just don't know what You do to me

I'm in love with You

So in love with You

And they'll never know

What You do to me


Right now, I am so happy with where God has me at MSUM, out living and loving instead of in dancing all the time. But no matter where I am and what I am doing, I am often dancing in my heart for Jesus...

And one day we will dance in Eternity. :)

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

mission statement

I see someone walking toward me, about half a block away. There’s a hop in her step and her head’s held high. Her hair is tightly pulled back in a round flat bun atop her head. She’s wearing a mini green sweater and bright purple leg warmers. There’s something familiar about the “Dance 24/7” bag she’s waving in her arm. Seeing my strange glance she puts out her hand, “Hi I’m Abby Paul. I’ve been a trainee at Ballet Magnificat for two years now, and I’ve been enrolled in college for four years getting degrees in theology, education, and dance. How do you do?”

Looking into the future excites me. I can’t wait to see what my life will become five years from today. Not only do I want to achieve greatness in the future, but I also want to live each present day to the fullest.

My main goal in life is to reach Heaven. I believe loving Jesus and following His example is the one way to get there. Loving others, worshiping God, and helping those in need are important to me. I attend a Christian dance studio and dancing is my favorite way to worship God and share the joy of his love with others. I do this by practicing at home, dancing at the studio, or performing on stage, all while listening to Christian music and passionately giving my moves to Him. I love others by complimenting, encouraging, and respecting them, no matter who they are. Through volunteer work with Key Club and church I feed those who are hungry, visit the elderly, and help out in other various ways in the community.

An influential person, who has helped shape who I am, is my dance teacher Joni. She is faithful, passionate, joyful, confident, encouraging, and sometimes crazy. Joni is a strong female leader who started her own business, which is still thriving and growing. She is not afraid to share her faith with anyone she meets, and she shines with every move like no dancer I have ever seen. She controls her class in a firm but kind way and is an awesome example to girls by wearing stylish but modest clothing. By learning from Joni’s example, I have gained confidence in my faith and who I am. I am not afraid to show my faith in public because I imagine how Joni would not shy away from voicing her belief. Watching her dance always gives me awe and sparks the desire to put just as much passion into every move as she does.

Right now, as a daughter, sister, student, dancer, and friend, I can start using my talents to live the way I yearn to. I am a very motivated, hardworking, determined, and results oriented person. I became this way because of a new adoration of dancing in the ninth grade when I started ballet. Starting at such an old age, my desire to dance amazingly seems almost unreachable. I have learned to cherish every moment and make the most of my time in order to practice as much as possible. I use these traits in school to put in my best effort and as much time as I can to study and keep my grades up in order to possibly gain a scholarship in the future.

I am also faithful, passionate, encouraging, caring, conscientious, and trustworthy. My faith in God helps me to live joyfully and remember to think about the feelings of others. I try to show my love to my family by eating supper with them every night and thanking them for all they do. I love to encourage not only my friends and family but strangers as well.

To reach Heaven and best live the life God has planned for me, I can look at my personal mission statement each day. I created a personal mission statement in Youth Leadership last year. It states, “I strive to live a life full of faith, hope, and love and lead others to do the same. As Chris Tomlin says in ‘The Way I was Made,’ ‘I want to live like there’s no tomorrow. I want to dance like no one’s around. I want to sing like nobody’s listening, before I lay my body down. I want to give like I have plenty. I want to love like I’m not afraid. I want to be who I was meant to be. I want to be the way I was made.’”