Thursday, January 26, 2012

A First for Me/Dancing with God

I am doing something that I never thought I'd do today.  I am actually writing a blog post! I never pictured myself as a blogger.  However, I am someone whose mind seems to always be overflowing with thoughts.  I've found that the best way to keep them from overtaking me is to share them in some forum.  Some get shared at Children's Corner in church. Some come out at SevenpointFive (our "Contemporary" service).  Others, my Sunday School class and Bible study friends have to sit through.  This blog will hopefully give me an outlet and a place to kick some thoughts around and maybe get a little feedback.  I kind of think of it as cyber-ritalin for a middle-aged ADHD sufferer.

Today, I'm writing about an image that I haven't been able to get out of my head this week.  Last Sunday night at SevenpointFive, several dancer from the Newport Dance Academy came and performed for us.  They did an amazing job and I was reminded again of the many ways in which we can express our worship.  During the time they were practicing before the service, I witnessed the teacher, a former youth of mine, speaking with one of the girls who was going to be doing a solo. The young girl was nervous and was very intent on getting everything just right. So much so, that it was apparent how much she was concentrating on her count as she was dancing.  The teacher pulled her aside and had a conversation very similar to this: "I know you're a little nervous but I want you to remember something. Who are you dancing for when you do this song?" "Well I'm dancing for my family and for God."  "That's right. You are dancing to glorify God. Now, I want you to try something a little different.  Instead of just dancing FOR God, I want you to imagine that you're dancing WITH God.  When you're reaching up, picture Him reaching down for you. Think about Him right there dancing with you.  It will change the way you move and people will be able to see Him in your face."  

When it was time for her solo, the young lady stepped out and danced in a way that was completely different than she had in practice.  The moves were the same.  The dance hadn't changed from a technical standpoint. But, the emotion in the dance and the song was very different and I know God was glorified.

The service that evening was talking about "Surrender" and  the necessity of giving up not only our own desires but also our guilt for things past to truly be able to experience the joy that comes from a life in Christ.  After I got home, I realized that I had already heard the key to making that surrender possible in a conversation between a dance teacher and her student. We can't go through life just dancing/living FOR God without the risk of being a wooden people going through the motions. True freedom and joy come from the realization that, through Christ, we are dancing/living WITH God. And when we are dancing with Him, just like that little dancer, the world will be able to see Him in our faces.

I look around me and see way too many people who seem to be bogged down in trying to live a picture-perfect life and who feel inadequate and unworthy when they fail to meet some arbitrary standard. I find myself in that position all too often.  I pray that I can begin to live a life that daily rejoices in that fact that for every move I make toward God, He is moving toward me as well.  To some, the thought of dancing with a holy, sovereign God would be unthinkable.  To me, it is one of the most amazing images of grace I can imagine.

The words to a song from my past keep coming back to me and I've been singing them all week, "Dance with me, Oh lover of my soul, to the song of all songs."  Thank you God that, through Christ, I can have the privilege of dancing with the King. Help me never forget that each day is a journey with you by my side. Pull me close and help me to surrender my desires and fears to you. Let me bask in the joy of knowing you. Amen