Remembering How to Dance

You will show me the path of life; in Your presence is fullness of joy; at Your right hand are pleasures forevermore.  Psalm 16:11

Be glad in the Lord and rejoice, you righteous; and shout for joy, all you upright in heart!  Psalm 32:11

His Lord said to Him, “Well done, good and faithful servant…Enter into the joy of your Lord.” Matthew 25:23

Tonight while working out, I was reminded of how God can use the oddest things to help us grow in Him.  There was a long period in my life when I lost sight of these verses and others like them.  I was more inclined to work at living soberly, earnestly, righteously.   This was my focus.  What new thing was I doing wrong and how could I live a more righteous life?  What else did I need to cleanse from my life, my home, my heart?  Which type of music should I now forgo?  How many more yards of cloth did I need to add to my attire?  How much was left of me and how could I get rid of that?  Where else did I fail God, my husband, my children, my friends?  I was to be serious minded in all things and at all times.  I was to concentrate on following this rule and that regulation. 

During this long, miserable, dry period, I was actually engaging in one of the few guilty pleasures I allowed myself.  I was watching a favorite TV show.  One of the characters said, “My shoes are too tight…but it doesn’t matter for I’ve forgotten how to dance.”  At that moment, I remembered how much I used to enjoy the physical act of dancing.  How I used to dance almost every day.  I would even wear headphones and dance around the house as I did my work, cooking and cleaning.  I loved to move to the music and always felt so joyful and free while I danced.  It hit me.  Not only had I given up the physical act of dancing, I had given up the joy of life, the humor in every day, the sense that life was to be enjoyed.  I, who had always loved to dance, who had always been able to find the joy in life, who had always been able to keep things in their proper perspectives was walking around in shoes that were much too tight… but it didn’t matter for I had forgotten how to dance. 

Laughing is an expression of joy that comes from the heart of God Himself.  Humor is encouraging and edifying.  Col. 3:23 says “Whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men.”  Laughter comes under the category of “whatever.”  As Proverbs 17:22a says, “A merry heart does good, like medicine.”  Humor demonstrates the joy, the passion, the great adventure of the Christian life.  Laughter and music are two of God’s greatest gifts.  They give us the ability to express our innermost feelings, desires, dreams, even life itself.  I’ve found the best source of humor is looking back at me in the mirror.  The ability to laugh at myself and not take myself too seriously is an indication to me that I’m growing in maturity and healthy self-esteem and learning to set my priorities straight. 

It’s difficult at times to walk out of bondage and dryness – difficult to remember how to dance.  But each day God is showing me more and more, step by step how to dance again.  How to move as He leads.  How to hear His music and feel His beat.  I’m learning that the beat I hear is slightly different than what others may hear and that’s okay too.  I’m learning that it doesn’t matter if I’m the only one in the room dancing.  God is there with me.   I’m taking off my too tight shoes and exchanging them for shoes that fit me.  I’m remembering how to dance and to do it joyfully.

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6 thoughts on “Remembering How to Dance

  1. Lynn says:

    Well, tonight I cried, watching “American Idol.” My opinion is Dave A. had the better, more versatile voice, but I am still glad for Dave C., who won. His tears, and his obvious love for his family, won me over. Also his brother, who is battling brain cancer.

    I also just adore the smile on Brooke White’s face when she sings.

    Although there were a couple songs and a few outfits I didn’t approve of, by and large I saw people having fun and America joining in the party, and I enjoyed watching it. And I prayed for the people on that show, too.

    But getting to your point . . . a few years ago I would have been a fire breathing dragonnette against that show being played in my house. But I have learned I don’t have to absorb or approve of everything, and if there is a lot of wholesome fun and good music going on, I can join in, too, and just ignore the rest.

  2. RichardD says:

    I received an interesting email from my sister about a year ago. She and her husband are missionaries in Bangladesh. She and I grew up in a staunchly conservative Fundamental Baptist pastor’s family. We were taught the list of most despised sins – drinking alcohol (ever, including Nyquil), going to movies, coloring your hair, and the worst sin ever: dancing. These perceived sins are, of course, completely extra-biblical and are derived from our culture rather than from the Bible.

    So my sister wrote this email to me to tell me about a sermon preached by one of the native Bangladesh pastors. He preached about “What distinguishes the Christian from the world?” He used as his text 2 Samuel 6, where David danced in joy before the Lord. The thrust of his sermon was that the thing that distinguishes Christians from the world (the world in Bangladesh being a Muslim world with a smattering of Hinduism) was that Christians dance.

    Imagine my sisters enjoyment of that message after having been raised under the teaching that one of the worst sins you could ever commit was to dance.

    I have a great joke about Baptists in this regard, but for the sake of your reader’s sensibilities, I’ll refrain from telling that joke just now.

  3. Sandy says:

    Richard,
    About your sister… real LOL!!! But seriously, don’t you think that our joy in the Lord should be one of the things that distinguishes us from the world? Gotta love that independent fundamental Baptist teaching. Thank God He freed me from that!!!

    I may know the joke to which you’re referring. Josh McDowell told me one a couple of years ago in FL which was funny but may offend some readers! 🙂

  4. Lynn says:

    Oh . . . is that the one about why something should never be done “standing up?” 😉

    Sorry, couldn’t help myself!!!

    (Sandy, I won’t be offended if you delete this.)

  5. madame says:

    Ok, you all, you can’t do this to me. Somebody tell me the joke!

    Sandy, it’s so true, we often get so tangled in the musts and thou shalts and thou shalt nots, that we miss out on any joy.
    Thanks for the reminder. I needed it…

  6. Sandy says:

    Lynn, yes, that was the one to which I was referring. 🙂 I was just coming out of fundamentalism and was talking with Mr. McDowell when he told me the joke. Too funny!

    Madame,
    How about I email it to you? 🙂

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