I can’t dance. I was born, as they say, with two left feet, and the moves that look good in my head don’t seem to become reality in my body. That doesn’t mean I don’t love to dance (especially if it will embarrass my kids 😉), but fancy footwork is not my thing!
If you know my husband, you also know that dancing is not his thing either, as proven by our attempt at learning how to “floss” last fall:
When Tim and I were planning our wedding many (many!) years ago, we understood there would be dancing. Neither of us had a problem with dancing in a group where you can blend in, but we were slightly intimidated by the required “first dance as a married couple”. Trying to coordinate our uncoordinated selves in front of an audience seemed impossible!
So we did the logical thing and signed up for “Ballroom Dancing Lessons”. As the token “young engaged couple” in a class full of senior citizens, we were taught the basics of the Fox Trot and the Waltz. Tim learned to “lead” and I learned to “follow”. And though we may have spent more time laughing than dancing, we walked away feeling semi-confident we could pull this off.
When the big moment came we used none of the formal steps we learned, but that “leading” and “following” thing came in very handy. After all that practice I had learned to sense Tim’s motion and then take my next steps in accordance. Our Ballroom Dancing instructors may not have been very impressed, but we certainly were!
God is always on the move and our relationship with Him is a dance. We sense His lead and take steps in response. His action demands re-action!
Psalm 30 describes it like this:
I will exalt you, Lord,
for you lifted me out of the depths
and did not let my enemies gloat over me.
Lord my God, I called to you for help,
and you healed me.
You, Lord, brought me up from the realm of the dead;
you spared me from going down to the pit. (v. 1-3)
What did God do? He listened, He lifted, He protected, and He healed. What did David do in response?
Sing the praises of the Lord, you his faithful people;
praise his holy name. (v. 4)
David praised. He worshipped God and invited others to do the same.
You turned my wailing into dancing;
you removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy,
that my heart may sing your praises and not be silent.
Lord my God, I will praise you forever. (v. 11-12)
Again, God initiated by doing the “turning” and the “removing” and David responded with active praise.
In her article, “Lead and Follow – The Secret to Dance Partnering,” writer Kate Swanson states that, “As you progress, you’ll learn that partner dancing isn’t about set routines… If you’re following correctly, you won’t take a step until your partner tells you to. He may do that by pressure with his hand, by shifting his weight or even by making a hand signal – but whatever the signal is, you must follow it instantly. Practice and you’ll be able to respond in a split second.”*
It’s tempting in our “Learn Anything In Five Easy Steps” culture to think of our relationship with God as a formal dance, where we simply practice the right routines until we’ve mastered them. But a relationship with God is not a predictable, pre-choreographed routine. Instead, it’s a practice of praise. He moves and we respond with worship. And the more we practice the praise, the more we’ll sense His movements.
This spring, I had the pleasure of attending a youth group student’s spring dance recital. I sat there mesmerized at the ability the human body has to move in ways that move our souls. Dance can move us to ecstatic joy or deep sadness. It can take us to a place of peace or an area of anger. Dance can be simple and silent or chaotic and complicated. The emotions may vary, but the movement continues.
There are moments in my dance with God when I am ecstatic with joy about what He is doing. There are moments when I’m mourning what He didn’t do. There are moments when I’m going with the flow because we’re good and moments when His silence frustrates. There are moments of slow and moments of fast, moments of close and moments of far. And in every moment, praise can be my response.
God is moving. He is leading and waiting for you to respond with worship. Your relationship with Him is a beautiful movement – so dance on!