Last week I attended an event that honored people with disabilities who had participated in an art competition. An organization asked people with impairments to send in their drawings, and the selected art pieces would be printed on the wrapping paper of granola bars. The event was organized to unveil and recognize the winners.
In retrospect, I can say that it was not only a beautiful and amazing occasion, but for the most part it was empowering. To say that I was glad and humbled to have attended is an understatement. The atmosphere was filled with strength, confidence and most of all love and all these had replaced the feeling of pity. Many aspects of the event were emotional for me because I was overwhelmed by how blessed those people were. The recurring phrase in my head was: "Just because people consider them different from the norm or incomplete, doesn't define who they really are. They are complete. We are complete. God created us completely." Colossians 2:10 (NKJV) says: "and you are complete in Him, who is the head of all principality and power."
There were performances by different organizations who worked with people with special needs - some danced, and others played the drums. Their joy and self-confidence were inspiring. It reminded me that many times we are quick to think that we or others are lacking something or are not up to par in a specific area - when it all depends on what you make of it. Do you focus on what people might think about you or fix your eyes on the prize? Do you allow others or circumstances break you or do you break through? The people I met didn't come across as if something was missing; they were embracing and celebrating life. Just because others might have looked at them with pity in their eyes that didn't have control over how they looked at themselves.
Quite a few lessons I took away from that event, but the greatest was "I am OK," which was the name of one of the dance groups that performed. Their dance was so beautiful and artistic that there was simply no room for pointing out imperfections. "I am OK." Wow! Seldom heard a statement that was so true. If you look around yourself, you will surely realize that you really are OK and I am too. We all are. In fact, we are even much more than just alright - we are tremendously blessed. Not because we are physically healthy but because we have nothing to fear.
I was deeply encouraged because I thought about how fearless these people were. Even though from the outside it may have seemed as if they lacked something, but a closer look revealed that they did not lack but had something in abundance, which weighed much more - and that was their confidence.
The reason why many of us restrict ourselves from stepping out, trying something new or leaving our comfort zone is simple: fear! And being in the midst of these beautiful people taught me that if you stop constantly obsessing about outward things, you are finally free to be OK. To be great. To be bold. To be fearless. Hopefully, this will encourage you to not only be grateful for who you are and the things you have but the things you are still able to do and accomplish. "Be bold to be yourself because all the others already exist!"