This week in our church’s Renewal sessions, Rev. Mark Nysewander talked about life in the Holy Spirit. He said that life following God’s will is not so much a structured rigid “blueprint”, as it is leaping into a river and going with the flow, allowing it to take you where it will. Then he likened it to a dance in which one follows closely the cues and lead of the other. It reminded me of a couple of things seen and recorded in my journals years ago about dancing with God…….
“Imagine you and the Lord Jesus walking down the road together. For much of the way the Lord’s footprints go along steadily, consistently, rarely varying the pace. But your footprints are a disorganized stream of zigzags, starts, stops, turnarounds, circles, departures and returns. For much of the way, it seems to go on like this, but gradually your footprints come more in line with the Lord’s, soon paralleling His consistently.
You and Jesus are walking like true friends! This seems perfect, but then an interesting thing happens: your footprints, that once etched the sand next to Jesus, are now walking precisely in His steps. Inside His larger footprints are your smaller ones. Safely, comfortably, you and Jesus are becoming one.
This goes on for many miles but gradually you notice another change. The smaller footprints inside the larger footprints seem to grow larger, too. Eventually they disappear altogether so that there appears to be only one set of footprints. You and Jesus have become as one.
This goes on for a long time, but suddenly the second set of footprints is back. This time it seems even worse that at the beginning! Zigzags all over the place. Stops. Starts. Deep gashes in the sand. A veritable mess of footprints all over the sand! Your are amazed and shocked. Your dream ends.
Now you pray: Lord, I understand the first scene with zigzags and fits. As a new Christian, I was just learning. But you walked on patiently and helped me learn to walk with you. “That is correct, “ He says. “… and when the smaller footprints were inside Yours, I was actually learning to walk in Your steps. I follow you closely.” “Very good. You have understood everything so far.” “….. when the smaller footprints grew and filled Yours, I supposed that I was becoming more like you in every way..” “Precisely,” He replies.
“So, Lord, was there a regression or something? The footprints separated, and this time was worse than the first.” There was a pause as the Lord answers with a smile in His voice. “You didn’t know? That was when we danced.”
“When I meditate on the word guidance, I see “dance” at the end of the word. I remember reading that doing God’s will was a lot like dancing. When two people try to lead, nothing feels right. The movement doesn’t flow with the music, and everything is quite uncomfortable and awkward. When one person relaxes and lets the other lead, both bodies begin to flow with the music. One gives gentle cues, perhaps with a nudge to the back or by pressing lightly in one direction or another or by glancing in the direction he wants you to move. It’s as if two become one body, moving beautifully. The dance takes surrender, willingness, and attentiveness from one person and gentle guidance and skill from the other. My eyes are drawn back to the word guidance……… When I see the “G”, I think of God, followed my “u” and “I”. God, you and I dance. This is what guidance means to me. As I relax and lower my head, I must become willing to trust that God will give guidance to my heart and mind, and thus my life.
I must be willing to let God lead.”
The pictures featured here are of our daughter, Charlotte Byrd Donlon during her years of dancing with The Montgomery Ballet. She told me once that dancing was a spiritual experience for her, that in the movement, she sometimes felt the presence of God right there with her. There are times now in my life when I believe I experience the same feeling that she must have felt at those times!
You may not be proficient at ballet, just as I am not. You may prefer ballroom dancing, square dancing, or disco. You may just sit and wave your arms or sway to the beat of the music. Whatever your style, the Lord is capable of leading you into a more complete and satisfying relationship with Himself. You may find that the style of your “dance” with God will even change from time to time. The goal is to continue to offer Him your heart, soul, mind, and strength each day. You will find that His steps will become your steps as you grow in the relationship.