About the Author

Angela Nazworth is a shame-fighting storyteller who writes mostly about the beauty of grace, faith, friendship, vulnerability and community. She is a wife and a mother of two. Angela's also an encourager, a lover of good books, coffee, girl's night out, sunshine, and waterfalls. In the 15 years since she...

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  1. Angela, thank you for your sharing this part of your story. It resonates with me, as for so much of my life I have tried to chase down freedom through control . . .And I could never find freedom–freedom to be myself, freedom to not be so self-conscious, freedom to take a deep breath and be willing to do something where I may fail and people may see me do it, even though it is so much what I want to do–by striving for it, rather than surrendering to what has already been given to me, so beautifully. You help me breathe here, and relax a bit more, reminding me who has me, who loves me, and how loosening control of things I cannot control helps me grasp more readily to Jesus’ hand. Thank you.

  2. Angela,
    This makes me think of a song that my daughter came back singing after a Christ in Youth (CIY) conference ten years ago. It basically said, ” I will dance, I will sing, I will become undignified…”
    At first I kind of wondered, is this appropriate? But, then I was reminded of how David danced before the Lord. He did it with wild abandon, love and joy and was not afraid of becoming “undignified”. Sometimes, as you say, we need to put our pride aside and throw a dance party in the living room. My kids are grown, and these, the “undignified” times are the ones I remember most with my kids…and it did my heart good as well. The years have taught me to take myself less seriously 🙂
    Blessings,
    Bev

  3. It’s nice to know that there are others out there who need to lighten up. It’s hard when the world seems too light already… maybe we overcompensate for that:)
    I will use that today: He does hold our present and tomorrow – and He loves it when we laugh!
    Thanks for the insight:)

  4. I love that scripture you posted…for me its a reminder that God is a God of extremes. Like Bev said above…in our 21st century American church we are nervous about being undignified…but God says “it’s ok… to love, to mourn, to hate, to rejoice…and all things in between.” He gives us liberty to live. For me…it means learning to silence the voices and be who God wants me to be…not who I think the world wants me to be. It also means walking wisely and with eyes open-so as to experience the present time. PS I’m a control freak, too.

  5. Great post! I married my husband because he laughed and played so much. He has helped me to lighten up – and to be part of the fun factor in our family. I call him my “fun insurance” for parties and vacations. Living in the moment with our five senses all active can definitely lead us to more joy.

  6. Oh my sister, my sister, my sister, my sister………I am right with you on so many counts here this morning! I, too, need to remind myself to have fun, to lighten up. With myself, especially. I love laughing and enjoying things and have a good time, but I honestly do need to remind myself often of these things. Thank you for this reminder, and I pray my heart is light as I take on this day of students and tasks and schedules to be kept at school.

  7. I need to lighten up as well. When did life get so serious. Thank you for this. Its nice to know im not the only one. I dont want to hurt my kids by this either. I can hear myself telling them to stop playing and get the chores done…instead of helping them find away to get them done AND have fun. Im so critical of myself and im afraid that has translated to my kids. Lord help me to lighten up in life with my self and my family.

  8. Thank you for this gentle, transparent reminder, Angela! I’m normally the first to laugh and love to have fun, but lately the doing of life has gotten in the way of having fun for the sake of having fun. Not to please someone, but instead to go with the moment freely. I think when I walk today I’ll listen to the Archie’s on my Nano. Yes, I’m older. . .but what fun music. I wonder if I’ll get caught dancing in the hallway – I hope not, but I do hope do dance when no one is looking. 🙂 I’m old – it’s better that way.

  9. Yep, I’m in that same boat. It’s not that I don’t play well with others (grins), I just don’t play well. Responsibility was forced on me way too early, and its hard to let go of it.

  10. Oh, yes. Absolutely. And marrying my exact-opposite-of-me, fly-by-the-seat-of-his pants husband has tremendously helped me learn to let my hair down. Even in spite of myself, at times. 🙂

  11. Oh I do believe you’re in my heart and head with this one. I spend far too much time focusing on the perfection, the flawless that I am missing moments for joy. Thank you so much for these words today. A good reminder to find the courage to play. Blessings!

  12. I am so inspired by your words but even more so by the picture attached! It really made me want to do something FUN!
    Our Father really is about that!
    Thanks!

  13. O this is so for me. I had to control that ball. And I was trained to be an ambassador for my country and talked and laughed with everyone I met.
    O but now, I just want to relax and enjoy the LORD in the confines of my home sweet home. In the silence of it all. Hear HIS voice and the songs HE sings to me. And just bask in the Presence of the LORD. And just do nothing of any great importance.
    Just enjoy life in peace and happiness and joy and lovely lovely time.
    This is for me.
    I could so easily be a this person as well. 🙁
    Lovely time for thought.
    🙂

  14. As all of us were searching for our one word 2014 a fellow blogger chose, what some might think as an odd, un-spiritual word, FUN! She is determined to have more fun in 2014 because she takes herself way too seriously. She even asks others for “having fun ideas”. I love her honesty in her request to help her find fun. I think we all should (gasp) lighten up!!!!

  15. As I saw your picture I am reminded of the little girl who would always get teased because she would stand in the line waiting for the bell to ring and was asked why she always stood so straight. Or why are you so snobby? Or smile…Yes I too don’t like the “lighten up” phrase because it reminds me of those times. The man I married showed me how to laugh and let go of the pretense and let my hair down. Nothing warms my heart more now than sitting on a swing and being pushed so I feel free. BUT more than anything GOD has showed me that I am loved regardless of how others might see me and he loves me just the way I am. Thanks for sharing…

  16. I have always struggled with being the ‘serious’ one. I feel like I don’t have the capacity to be fun. But I want to be. Having kids helps – they have a lot of fun, I just find it difficult to join in sometimes.

  17. Oh I can SO relate to this Angela. But for me, it’s been a journey LEARNING to laugh since I grew up in such oppressed and abusive home(s). There is nothing more that I am drawn to than laughter in others, so it stands to reason that when I choose to play and laugh, others are also drawn to me. Thanks for this. It’s a good day to practice playing!

  18. What a much-needed reminder! I have noticed lately that the days when I’m most on-edge, debating with my husband over trivial things, raising my voice at my kids, etc. are the days when I’m so focused on the tasks at hand and being “on my game” as you called it…rather than enjoying the pleasures of life. When I tell myself that my to do list can wait and I instead have a dance party with my kids or make up songs and stories with my 3 year old…those are the days when the fruits of the Spirit truly shine through me (joy, peace, kindness, self-control). Thanks for the encouragement today!

  19. I get this. Too much. I like to be in control because it makes me feel safe. And in that I forget to just simply be. Thank you so much for this reminder! (And we could seriously have been twins back then – haha!)

  20. During this past weekend, I was just thinking about ….”He makes everything beautiful in its time”, relating it to my life now walking by GRACE and not by perfectionism/ fear. It IS a beautiful thing to see and experience the treasures of an ordinary day through a carefree lens. I believe God longs for His daughters to truly enjoy our lives ( to laugh, dance etc.) more and our families will appreciate it too.

  21. Control has always meant safety, security, to me. If I could control the situation, I could make things work out the way I knew they should go. I have been mastering situations since I was in early elementary school. Managing the mood of the household, with an alcoholic father, became my “job.” Along the way I learned to trust myself, and no one else, to take care of things. The other side of control, though, is blame. I became responsible for everybody’s moods, their actions, their behaviors. If they were unhappy it was because of me. It reached a point where I could hardly move, could hardly breathe, from bearing the weight of all the responsibility and blame that I had placed upon myself. Not so long ago, it was like God lifted the veils from my eyes and I could see what I had done to myself, what I had become by trying to control everything. I wish I could adequately describe the great joy that found my soul when I let go of that need to control, that responsibility for every body else’s lives. My heart is free, and my soul dances in that freedom. I’m so thankful that God loves me enough to keep after me until I finally understood the beauty in His control.

  22. What and encouraging post! I am going through something very similar right now as I try and live in the moment, rather than for what I can control. A devastating church “break-up” has opened my eyes to the frailty of human nature. We can’t control much of anything, but that doesn’t stop us from trying.

    Thank you for your encouraging words today. Your story means something to this girl.

  23. Oof. This is a message God has been trying to get through my thick skull lately. My life is busy and often feels out of control, so I try to assert control where I can. My husband is playful, and I can tell that he feels hurt and even annoyed when I rebuff his attempts to help me lighten up. This is sweet and beautiful. Thank you.

  24. I was once told by a boyfriend that my house was too clean and that somehow tailspinned into the exact opposite of what you experienced. It’s like i went from this person who was in control of their life to someone who had no clue, trashed house doesnt begin to describe it, maybe house after a frat party? No schedule or structure, often sleeping through the day and being up all night just because and spending my money on silly things, like this week i bought snails because they were cute… I wish i could regain that control over myself that I had but words cut deep and they are really hard to bounce back from. Even when they weren’t meant to hurt at all.

    • Oh Marissa … your comment really struck a chord with me … there have been times when even well-intended words smacked into a stupor of sorts and kept me from being the person whom I was created to be … I’m praying for you tonight … not because I want your house to be clean (mine is not, :-)) but rather praying that Gods Words of love will give you freedom from the hurt caused from the careless words of man.

  25. Angela you are so in my head with this one! Instead of lighten up I’ve always been told You just don’t know how to relax. Yup, this is a true lifelong learning process for me.

    I too like feeling like I’m in control. Thus my college years were spent NOT getting drunk, NOT experimenting with smoking, NOT doing any of the other millions of activities that would force me to NOT be in control.

    As I’ve matured, yes, I’m learning through God’s Word that it is okay to sometimes take a break. I really really loved this article!

  26. I never thought of myself as needing to be in control, but perhaps that’s exactly what it is. My grandmother called me an ‘old lady’ when I was only 7 or 8. My son tells me that I worry too much about what other people think. I love to act, but I find when I’m cast, it’s in the mother role – while some of that has to do with age, I think there’s another reason. I have a friend who also loves to act and when I watch him on stage, I’m always jealous – he has complete abandon up there. He doesn’t care if he looks silly, he just has fun! I seem to have trouble letting go -and I’m acting!! Thanks for the great reminder that it’s okay to play 🙂

  27. I can soooo relate! I take myself way too seriously, and it’s also been something my hubby comments on alot. Although I love his reminders to have fun, lighten up, etc…it also irritates me and makes me feel worse! Haha! Funny enough the word PLAY has been the very word God has been laying on my heart the past few weeks- with a toddler running around I have ample opportunity to bring back intentional times of play into my day! I know I need this and I have so much to learn in this area 🙂

  28. Angela,

    Lately my hubby has taken himself to seriously. I think we have lost the art of having fun! I know work worries, economy, not sleeping, etc. can take its toll on a person. I wish & pray that we could do something fun for a change.

    At times when I truly feel the need to lighten up I may start a good old fashioned pillow fight. It seems to get us both laughing and back in good moods!

    Thanks Angela Blessings 🙂