“In him we live and move and have our being,” (Acts 17:28, NIV).
Friend to Friend
Over the course of several years, my husband and I traveled many times to Sea Island, Georgia and beheld art in motion as seasoned couples graced the dance floor to the sounds of a Big Band Orchestra. Mirrored steps, swirling dresses, and graceful twosomes moved around the parquet in a kaleidoscope of colors. Watching them stirred up a hunger in me to learn how to do the same.
So Steve and I signed up for a six-week introductory Ballroom dance class at a local studio.
“Steve and Sharon,” the instructor began, “the first dance we will learn is the Fox Trot. Steve, extend your left arm. Now place your right hand on your wife’s left shoulder blade. Cup it firmly in your hand. Let her know it’s there.” Then she turned to me, “Sharon, you gently rest your left hand on your husband’s right shoulder and place your right hand into his left hand. Keep your backs straight. Taut. This is called your frame.”
So far, so good.
She then proceeded to teach us to make little boxes with our feet while counting one, two, three, four, one, two, three, four. This was not floating around the dance floor like the couples on Sea Island. This was not what I had in mind.
The instructor continued teaching as we marched in place. “Steve, you have the hardest part because it is up to you to lead. All Sharon has to do is follow your signals. With a gentle press to her back, she will know to move forward. With a slight release, she will know to move backward. When you raise your arm, she will know to turn under.”
Sounded easy enough, but it wasn’t. More than once, the instructor tapped me on the shoulder and said, “Sharon, you’re leading again.” The problem was, when I led, Steve wouldn’t follow. Imagine that. Now I know a train can’t have two engines, but I felt that I was the better dancer and that the lessons would go much quicker if Steve would just let me lead. But my tendency to take control only slowed us down and frustrated the entire process.
After we mastered tiny boxes, it was time for lesson number two. “Okay,” the instructor continued, “now you are ready to begin moving around the room. This will be like making small boxes with a flap open.”
We learned how to take two steps forward and two steps to the side, two steps forward and two steps to the side. Actually, Steve got to move forward, but I had to move backwards, which seemed very unfair to me. “I understood that we couldn’t both move forward, but why am I the one who has to move backward?” I complained. The instructor took a deep breath and assured me that this was the way God planned it. (She didn’t explain it exactly that way, but I knew that’s what she meant.)
So the three of us marched and counted: “Slow, slow, quick, quick. Slow, slow, quick, quick.” I felt more like a shopping buggy being pushed around the room than a dance partner. I was just glad no one was watching.
I had wanted us to be the next Ginger Rogers and Fred Astaire, but instead we looked more like Fred Rogers and Mrs. Frog dancing about the neighborhood. And all during our six week lessons, the instructor kept tapping me on the shoulder and saying, “Sharon, you’re leading again.”
Eventually, I did learn to trust Steve enough to let him lead. Did you catch that? I learned to trust him. As long as I didn’t trust him, I would never yield to his promptings. As long as I thought I could do it better, I would never follow his lead. But when I surrendered to his tender tugs and gentle releases, we began to glide. When I began to heed his cues, I knew when to spin, roll out like a casted fishing line and be reeled back in again like a prized catch.
Amazingly, when I relinquished control and followed Steve’s lead, I looked good. I was the one spinning, twirling, rolling out, and swirling back in. All Steve got to do was stay in one place and drive the machine.
And that is the joy and beauty of practicing a life of union with Jesus. In Him we live and move and have our beingbecomes a graceful dance in which we simply learn to follow Jesus’ lead. When we learn to yield to Jesus’ tender tugs and gentle releases, when we relinquish our tendency to take control, we move as one to the melody of heaven’s Big Band and God’s creative choreography designed uniquely for each of us.
Jesus, forgive me for trying to take the lead. I want to be a good dance partner who yields to Your tender tugs and gentle release. Today, I will relinquish control and follow Your lead.
In Your Name, amen.
Now It’s Your Turn
The next time you watch dancers, notice who gets to do all the fancy moves. At the same time, notice who is leading.
Is there an area in your life that you tend to take the lead rather than follow Jesus’?
If you are willing to stop taking the lead away from Jesus, log onto this post on my blog atwww.sharonjaynes.com and say, I’m letting Jesus lead!
More from the Girlfriends
Today’s devotion was adapted from my newest book, A Sudden Glory: God’s Lavish Response to Your Ache for Something More. Do you long for more in your relationship with God and in your life as a whole? Oh sister, God wants to fulfill that longing! He longs to lavish you with moments of SUDDEN GLORY where He makes His presence known. Life becomes a beautiful dance with Jesus when today’s truth becomes a reality in your life. Are you ready to join Jesus in the dance of your life?