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.