by Joanie Butman
I received some distressing news recently. My long-standing Pilates partner informed me she would not be returning in September. Upon hearing her revelation my first thought was, “You’re breaking up with me?!” Finding another partner will be like a new season of Dancing with the Stars. I’m currently auditioning potential candidates, if anyone’s interested.
All kidding aside, it’s not easy pairing up with someone for synchronized anything. I have a newfound respect for dancers – especially since watching Dancing with the Stars. There are so many factors to consider: different schedules, ages, abilities, body types, tempos, and personalities.
It took some time for my current partner and I to develop a comfortable rhythm. We didn’t know each other well when we started. In fact, we didn’t pick each other but were assigned, much like the teams in DWTS though neither of us can claim celebrity status. It wasn’t smooth in the beginning, but as we became accustomed to the exercises and each other, our efforts began to flow, effortlessly in sync, even when one of us was in pain or just feeling sluggish. In fact, it was at those times that the value of a duet class became obvious. Her presence spurred me on despite how I felt. As our instructor always reminds us, “Energy creates energy.” I admit there are days when I just don’t want to get out of bed, but the fact that I would be letting my partner down and that the classes are prepaid, is all the impetus I need – most of the time. I still have a few unexcused absences on my record.
This type of partnership is exactly what God wants with all of us. Much like my rapport with my Pilates friend, it doesn’t happen overnight. It takes lots of fits and starts in our attempts to sync our lives with the Divine. Our initial efforts feel clumsy and awkward. Too often, we stubbornly insist on leading when in reality we should be taking our cues from Him. And who isn’t tempted to give up on some days when the routine seems forced and onerous? On the days I just don’t feel like participating in the dance called life, the fact that Jesus has already paid the cost for my failures is the only motivation I need to get up and show up. I simply put my feet on His, the way little girls do with their earthly Dads, and let Him do all the work. Even with that said, I have to admit that I have a spotty record of unexcused absences on that account as well. As with any team, the more you practice the easier the rhythm becomes until your connection is seamless, and your steps lighter, more joyful and infinitely more fun.
Like I said, I didn’t choose my Pilates partner any more than the most recent winning team of DWTS. She was chosen for me. Spiritually speaking, God chooses us first, but we still have to make the ultimate choice to surrender to His lead. When we allow Him to be our choreographer, instructor and partner, we all become winners despite our ‘dancing’ abilities or lack thereof. He may assign us certain moves unique to our S.H.A.P.E., but He always allows free form in our decision to perform, and in the style we execute the dance should we choose to do so. Finally, the DWTS results announced this week may have been determined by public opinion, but the only vote we need to be concerned with is God’s. And from His perspective, we’re all a 10.
Will you choose to dance with THE Star?
Dancing With God
When I meditated on the word Guidance,
I kept seeing “dance” at the end of the word.
I remember reading that doing God’s will is 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 jerky.
When one person realizes that, 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.
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 drew back to the word Guidance.
When I saw “G” I thought of God, followed by “u” and “i”.
“God”, “u” and “i” dance.
As I lowered my head, I became willing to trust
that I would get guidance about my life.
Once again, I became willing to let God lead.
My prayer for you today is that God’s blessings
and mercies be upon you on this day and everyday.
May you abide in God as God abides in you.
Dance together with God, trusting God to lead
and to guide you through each season of your life.
Dedicated with love and appreciation to Roberta and Robin:
*S.H.A.P.E. Your Spiritual Gifts, Heart, Abilities, Personality, and Experiences (Rick Warren)