Analogies, Poetry, Thoughts

Learning to Dance

A few years ago I took a dance class at a gym that I quickly fell in love with.  Normally, if I’m on a dance floor or really anywhere that would require freestyle dancing, I totally chicken out.  But when I was in this class, I became free to dance because someone else was showing me exactly what to do.  So I got to experience the fun of dancing without the pressure to come up with my own moves!  So great!  Anyway… since then, dance classes have become my very favorite.  

During most of the class, I have to keep my eyes on our instructor to make sure I’m doing the right moves.  Don’t want to keep doing the monkey while everyone else has moved onto the kick, ball, change right?! So I keep my eyes on my teacher.  I feel like there are 3 major stages in learning new dances.  The first stage, I just try to learn the basic movements.  “Ok, four steps to the right, four steps to the left, now jump three times.”  Once I’m comfortable with the basic moves, the second stage is paying attention to the little details.  “Oh! She actually turns her hips to the left there.  Ok left foot goes behind my right not the other way around.  See the way her arms are held strong and not flimsy on that part?” and so on and so on.  This stage can last forever as most good teachers have so many moves and nuances to learn from.  However, this next and final stage is pretty darn critical to move onto.  It’s called the “looking in the mirror to make sure you really look like what you think you look like” stage.  The tendency exists to watch the teacher the whole time without looking in the mirror – similar to singing to the radio with the volume up so loud you can never hear yourself.  This can be super fun because it’s easier this way to pretend I’m the next reigning champion on “So You Think You Can Dance”. But, the mirror has a great way of bringing things back to reality.  This is where I get to see where I really am and make adjustments as needed.  

As I’ve been dancing the last few years, I’ve often thought about how similar this process of dancing is to the process of seeking to know and follow God.  And each step in the process is just as important as the next.  If I don’t show up to class or look at my “Teacher”, I miss the opportunity to learn from Him.  I miss the opportunity to dance in freedom while He shows me the next step.  If I stop there and don’t pay attention to the details of His movements,  I may miss the subtlety of His graceful ways.  And finally, if I don’t turn to look in the mirror, I’ll miss the chance to take an accurate account of where I am to make needed adjustments to my moves.  

And just when I think I’ve got the moves perfected, a new song comes on and I start learning to dance all over again.  

   

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Poetry, Thoughts

Give

The other day I was approached by (I assume) a homeless man asking for money. I rarely have cash but happened to have some that day so I felt compelled to give him $5. Someone with me made a comment like “ya we know what he’s going to do with that!” And it was said in a not so nice way.

I understand that thinking and I’ve struggled with it myself. But at the end of the day, I don’t know his story and I don’t need to. I’m just called to help others in need, not just with my money but with compassion as well.

The beggar is an opportunity for me

To offer my help to a person in need

Will I glance away pretending not to see

Assume the worst and count him undeserving?

Or will I give simply because he is in need

No judgement or condemnation, no expectation

Just help for a man life has knocked to his knees

Matthew 5:42

Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you.

Thoughts

When Faith & Feelings Collide

Journal entry from years past…

The first 10 years of my growing relationship with Christ was spent learning and absorbing.  I absorbed everything there was to hear or read about the Bible.  I learned lessons, I was fed spiritually, I grew in my faith by seeing prayers answered and I came to trust in God’s love and grace.  It was the time when every sermon on the radio filled my heart and head with joy and peace and my sustenance each day was hearing from the Lord.  I was blessed.  I was blessed with an abundance of answered prayers.  I was blessed with marriage and children and church and friends.  Sin still caused disturbances from time to time but God’s grace always prevailed.  I was forgiven, I was cleansed and I was held in his arms.

The next season began to creep in.  This next season didn’t feel quite as pleasant.  I became aware of 2 distinct parts of my life.  The one and most important part of my life rested in this bubble above my head.  This bubble contained everything I had absorbed in the last 10 years.  It was filled with biblical truths and godly wisdom.  I’d reach in the bubble and grab ideas out to use when appropriate.  I’d reach in there to remember God’s grace when it was needed.  It was an awesome and useful bubble.  But down below, I walked the plain of life in another category.  I walked in my emotions.  I saw life’s circumstances through my emotions.  I acted on them and looked to them for truth and for guidance.  The two bubbles, I thought, had always been aligned pretty well, co-existing in harmony until some differences began to appear.

My emotions began to lead me one direction while my Christian knowledge was leading me in another.  How could this be?  Can I no longer trust my instinct or emotion?  “Serve your neighbor” but “I don’t like my neighbor”.  “Be patient with your husband” but “he’s wrong!” and the list goes on…and on….and on.  My growing awareness of these two spheres of influence brought forth the question “which one do I now follow?”  Will I surrender all and follow Him no matter where He leads even if it is against my own desires?  Will I allow my faith to become victorious over my feelings?

Dear Lord,

You are Lord of the heavens and the earth and over this heart and life of mine.  I pray that You would wash away the parts of me that still fight You and oppose your leading.  I pray I would be surrendered completely to your guidance and your will.  Thank You for never giving up on me and always loving me passionately.  Thank You for making me your child, forgiven and free.  Thank You for having a plan for my life and the means to carry it out.  Thank you that your plan is so much better than mine.  Strengthen me to choose You every day.  Amen    

Thoughts

Get Higher

Several years ago I had a dream.  In my dream, I was kind of hopping through the treetops and I could see everything going on down below from a higher vantage point.  What I saw below was like an obstacle course.  It was very very busy and noisy.  There were swinging ropes and tunnels and mazes.  It was nighttime but bright neon lights were everywhere.  It looked exciting and fun but also potentially dangerous.  And as I was looking at it all, I wondered how I would ever know which course to take.    

Some dreams, and I have a ton, just stick with me and that has been one of them.  And often times I can see the parallels between my life and that dream.  It is so full of activity and choices.  It is full of possibilities, both good and bad.  But when I am walking the ground down below and all I can see is the obstacle right in front of me, I lose sight of the bigger picture and have trouble deciding which way to go.  So maybe that is when I go to the treetops.  Get up higher to see the bigger picture.  Get to a place where the noises are quieter, the lights are softer and the perspective is bigger and clearer.

So how do I get to the treetops?

Mark 1:35

“And in the morning, rising up a great while before day, he went out, and departed into a solitary place, and there prayed.”

Psalms 91:1

“He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.”

Isaiah 55: 9

“For as the heavens are higher than the earth, So are My ways higher than your ways And My thoughts than your thoughts.…”

Isaiah 30:21

“Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, “This is the way; walk in it.”