"All the men come in these places And the men are all the same You don't look at their faces And you don't ask their names You don't think of them as human You don't think of them at all You keep your mind on the money Keeping your eyes on the wall
I'm your private dancer, a dancer for money I'll do what you want me to do I'm your private dancer, a dancer for money And any old music will do" . . . the lyrics from Tina Turner's Private Dancer.
I'm a huge Tina Turner fan. In fact, when I was a little girl, I would dance and sing to her music all of the time. Of course, I had no idea what this song meant when I was singing it at such a young age. It wasn't until I was in my early 20's that I considered dancing for money. I thought about this song. I thought about what it would be like moving and grooving my body to music in front of strange men. Men who were only looking for a good time. Men who were looking for ways to celebrate their last day of "freedom." Men who had no respect for women or the struggles we go through. Men who are looking for sex. Men who are having trouble at home with their wives or girlfriends; longing to get away for a moment yearning to feel the touch of another woman because any woman besides his woman will do.
I thought about what it would be like to have plenty of money in the bank to pay my rent and utilities. To be able to buy my daughter some clothes without using my credit card. To have money left over after all of my bills were paid. To be able to go out to eat without eating off of the $1 menu at Wendy's. I thought about what it would be like to get my hair and nails done at the salon faithfully every two weeks. What it be like to have all that I wanted. I thought about how great it would be not to struggle. The struggle was real. The struggle was hard. The struggle was all I could think about most days.
Then, I thought about the shame I would feel. I thought about how I would hurt God once again if I chose to do things my way. The hurt and embarrassment I would cause my parents if they found out. The shame it would bring to my daughter if she grew up to know it. The legacy I would leave behind if I died in that sin. The possibility that it could somehow alter the course of a better and brighter future.
I was the single mom of a beautiful little girl back then. I was trying to be a mother she could be proud of. But, I was also struggling to make ends meet. Part of that struggle was because I was doing it all on my own. Another part of the struggle was because I mismanaged the little money I did make from my two jobs. Where did the mismanagement come from? I'm a stress-shopper. Some people eat when they're stressed. Some people go work out when they're stressed. Some people meditate when they're stressed. I'm not one of those people. I shop when I'm stressed. Retail therapy has always been a friend of mine. I'd hang out with her when life got tough. I hung out with her even when I didn't have money in the bank. She was the one who convinced me to get a credit card. When I maxed out my first card, she convinced me to get a second and a third card.
We all know that when we get a credit card, there is an extra bill to pay. After I paid my rent, light bill, cable bill, and phone bill, I still had to pay the credit card bill. After all of those bills were paid, I was basically left with nothing! I dug myself into a financial hole because I was stressed out. I was stressed from being a mom in college while working two jobs. This girl was tired! When a strip club opened in Clay County, I considered going there to dance. A friend of mine at the time was a stripper. She traveled a lot and she said I could go with her. She told me the money was good. She told me I'd make so much that my financial woes would be over. I must admit, I was tempted. I could still go to school because we would travel on the weekends and come back on Sunday in time for me to be in class on Monday morning.
Before making the decision to do this, I knew I needed to pray first. I'd started going to church and working on my relationship with God during this struggle. I was in the college choir at church, going to Bible study sometimes, and just really focusing on being right with God. After choir rehearsal, one evening, our choir director, Chris, prayed before it was time for us to leave. As he prayed, I prayed. I was asking God to help me because I really didn't want to start stripping. I had less than $1 in the bank. I had a bill due that I couldn't pay with my credit card. I really needed God to show Himself strong in my life, right then, at that moment. As I lay down on that alter crying in prayer, I said, "Lord if you provide for me, I know you've heard me, and I know you'll always be with me. But, if You don't, I gotta do what I gotta do." When prayer was over, I started walking out of the church as I dried my tears when another choir member, Angel, pulled me to the side. She looked at me and said, "God told me to give you this." She touched my hand and discreetly put something in my grip as she held my hand. She said, "God says everything is going to be alright." I looked down and in my hand was a $100 bill.
I cried all over again, knowing that God had heard me. Knowing that God had used Angel to be a blessing to me. Knowing now that more than ever, I could trust God to come through for me. I could trust God to meet my every need. Even if I didn't have my daughter's father helping me, God would help me. God would make sure we had everything we needed.
I learned some lessons the hard way during this struggle. I learned not to spend money I didn't have. My credit cards were a blessing and a curse for me. A blessing because I had them in case of an emergency. A curse because I mismanaged them. I also learned to trust God with my whole heart. I learned to lean and depend on Him like no other. I know $100 might not be a lot of money to some, but it meant a lot to me. I could have been blessed with $1000 or even $10,000, but I dare to say that the $100 was a test to see if I would trust Him because of the $100 or say, "No thanks, Lord, it's not enough" and do things my own way. I had a decision to make. . . trust God or trust me. I chose to trust God. I chose not to be a dancer for money. God knew where that road would take me. It would take me somewhere I was never meant to go.
What is your decision on today? What are you believing God for? Are you going to trust Him and do things His way? or Are you going to make things worse by doing it your way?