Valor in a Leopard Print Unitard


My daughter recently earned a spot on her club’s gymnastic team.  Today I sat through the first of many three-hour practices.  After witnessing dozens of flips, spins, and upside down thingys; I decided that gymnasts are the bravest human-beings on earth.  Forget the two-inch beam and ten-foot-high bar.  Who else in the world willingly stands before thousands of people, all alone, and in a leotard?  Who even dares to stand in a dimly lit closet, all alone and in a leotard?

I am not brave at all.

God knew better than to give me the perfect body.  He knew that, with the right proportions,   I would prance my life away in a leopard print unitard.   I won’t even wear one in a dimly lit closet.

A former fat kid turned fitness instructor, every mirror in my life might as well come straight from the Fun House.   The bottom’s too big, the top too small, and everything in the middle reminds me that children sometimes add things to your life you never asked for. 

Despite the promise of waterbras, fanny lifting underwear, and tummy slimming camisoles; nothing could coax me into a leotard and on to a giant blue mat. My guts are somewhere in WalMart next to the leopard print unitards.

To my surprise, however, marveling at my daughter’s courage I realized that her bravery did not come from how cute she looks in a leotard.  Today, after every completed skill, she glanced up at the observation gallery,  her eyes locked into mine, and she waited. She waited for me to smile, wave, and give a thumbs up.  Her courage came from my approval. 

Even if I never own that leopard print unitard, maybe I can still be courageous like my daughter.  Maybe I just need to remember that God did not give me the perfect body, but He never withholds His approval.  I am His child, and He is pleased.  I have a fan in the observation gallery that makes all the other faces in the crowd fade.  One thumbs up from Him might just get me out of the closet, on the mat, and flipping  out  . . . figuratively speaking, of course.

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