Friday, July 1, 2011

Salsa With God: Who Is Leading?


"The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want."
Psalm 23:1NKJV

Okay, I'd like to start out by saying one thing: I LOVE SALSA! It has been a dream of mine to learn partner dancing, and after becoming a faithful watcher of Dancing With the Stars, I decided to take a leap of faith and sign up salsa lessons. I just couldn't live vicariously through the series any more, I had to get on my feet and channel my inner dancer! Of course, this meant automatic recruitment of my dutiful husband. And so it is, we are in our fourth week of salsa lessons.

The great thing about this style of partner dance is you can actually go out and practice the dance for fun. So, we have to practice- a lot! Don't want to get on the floor and shame our teachers. Now I, being the in-charge lady I am, just knew I would take the ballroom by storm and take right to it. And embarrassingly, I did without realizing one little caveat to this dualistic deal- I am not in charge. Every move I make is dictated by none other than my very capable partner on life's dance floor, John White.

Week after week, instead of salsa being my lesson of choice, I have received a good dose of "follow your leader", for my one job on the dance floor is to follow my mate. There are several lessons as it relates to this humbling experience we can all use to strengthen how we see God and our own desires:

#1 Relinquish Control: There is Only One Head

The sooner we accept this, the better. We cannot lead God, He must lead us. Even the desires we take before God in prayer are a regurgitation of what he has already placed in us. I Timothy 2:5 states "For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus." The majority of our time on the floor has been spent with him taking control and me giving it up. I no longer see it as robbery to let go, but am learning to respect the "let go" process. For the dance to be as fluid and graceful as possible, knowing my role has been key. If John pushes forward, I will go back. If he decides to raise my arm slightly, I turn and fall into step. Now that I'm learning to let go, I move on to my next feat.

#2 Remember the Steps but Wait: We Can Only Move When He Moves Us

As I stated before, in whatever direction he moves us in, that is the direction I must go. However, I have to remember my steps. In trying to recall each position the teacher gives, I had to fight the urge to move when I got ready. Learning is invigorating. A learner is the essence of what God created us to be. Although this is true, we must not use what we know to step before God will. Isaiah 40:31 states "But those who wait on the LORD Shall renew their strength; They shall mount up with wings like eagles, They shall run and not be weary, They shall walk and not faint." As long as I waited on my partner to move me, I never got out of step. My foot memory was solid, but my real confidence came when I waited for my cue. When I was asked to shift, transition, and balance, it was second nature. This brought me to the biggest challenge of all.

#3 Revel in His Guidance: He Always Gets Us Where We Both Want to Go

There is a specific place God would like to take us. In this place He longs to dwell with us, and when we relinquish control and remember our steps, we want to be there too. Psalm 91:1 states "He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty." As I danced with John, submitting to his will for our dance experience, I felt as if my youth was being renewed. I recalled treasured, protected embraces by the elders in my family. I felt covered and graced with each turn. There were moments I remember closing my eyes and thinking, "Yes, this is where I want to be. I am accomplishing my goal". I thought of all the lovely ways God creates hiding places for us in the midst of a crowded life. I began to marvel in the understanding that although there were many couples surrounding us, this security assured me no one would enter our shared space; for we both had decided we were in this together. He as head and I as helper.

No one gave us a mirror ball award for our ballroom accomplishments, but I received a greater compensation. By accepting who my shepherd was, I wanted for nothing. In Christ, we want for nothing. In the end, I could not rely on my skill, but was forced to remember my calling. It was my calling to dance that eventually one me over. It is our calling to Christ that wins, above our will.

Know who is in charge of your life, it will make all the difference!