Dancing. Not that I know much about it.

But I love dancing. Apart from some dancing lessons either from private or school program I attended during my childhood (ballet, tari Jawa, modern dance, Poco-poco), I naturally love moving along the rhythm and the melody of a song. Growing up in an artistic family allowed me to express my art side, though somewhat selective, since I can’t really draw no matter how many drawing teachers and packs of crayons and paints I’ve gone through.

When we started dating, I was quite delighted to find out that my hubby’s uncle and aunty dance a lot; ballroom dancing, as a matter of fact. Often we mentioned to each other that we would love to ask them to teach us some ballroom dancing someday, yet it took almost 2 years till we finally took the step (literally) and started learning from them. Yes, some of you who’s known my hubby for a while would not simply believe that he can dance. But o yes he can; ‘Andro loves to boogie!’, his aunty said. We’ve been learning for two months now, every Thursday night after the cousins’ dinner at Uncle’s house. And what a hard work! All three of us (me, hubby and uncle; since aunty’s usually busy with tidying up the kitchen and cooking for tomorrow’s lunch) would be catching our breaths and gulping on glasses of water by the end of it.  But it was good fun, too!

On one fine, cold evening in August, me and hubby had a disagreement. It was over something simple, but sometimes the simplest thing can lead to something ridiculous if we don’t see eye to eye. If I may be jayus here, it is kinda difficult since hubby is way taller than me, but you know what I mean. After the ‘temperature’ went down, hubby softly reminded me that I have to trust him, just like when he leads me when we dance.

And I think I had a lightbulb moment right there.

After hubby reminded me about trusting him, I brainstormed about the similarities in learning to dance and in walking with God in our everyday lives. And how I was amused at how God taught me through simple, daily things. Let’s see if you agree with me 😉

He asked for our hands first.
If you’ve ever read or watched a classical love story situated in Europe circa 18th-19th century, you’d find that it was the norm for the lads to come to the ladies and ask for their hands for a dance – not the other way around. It goes the same with our God. He chose us first, not because of who we are or what we’ve done. He initiated the relationship first because He knew we did not have the power nor the will nor the condition to do it first. He won’t leave us on our own, simply because He loves us [Ephesians 1:4].

It takes two to tango.
Or to do any couple dances, generally. This one is quite straight-forward, I think. There’s no way that we are going to perform any good number if Andrew had to drag me during our session. Both of us would be exhausted; him from hauling me, and me from being hauled. We’re not gonna get anywhere, and there’d be no point in doing it in the first place. It is imperative to understand that for us to get somewhere with God, we need to move, too! Could God drag us? yup I bet He could. Would He be tired from hauling us to our destination? I don’t think He would. But what is the point of getting to our destination without understanding the reason why we need to get there? Our journey with God requires our willingness, our participation, our agreement, our openness, where God as our Great Teacher, our Maker will show us why and how to ‘dance’ correctly. And it is important to remember the keyword: together, because that’s what makes all the difference. [Amos 3:3]. This also reminds me on whom we choose to walk together with. Our spouses, our close friends, our partners. Will God find delight in our ‘dance’ with them?

When we are agreeing with God on the destination that He has prepared for us, it is natural to be enthusiastic to ‘dance’ together with Him. But I believe we need this one thing that will guarantee our willingness and enthusiasm:

Trust.
The first two, three weeks of our dance lessons, the most comment you heard from me was, “what are you doing??”. Poor Andrew – he was still counting the steps in his head, and he had to lead me.  And he’s got me nagging on his tail, counting loudly. I thought I was helping him by doing that, which I might be at some point but certainly not all the time. Uncle taught us the basic steps and a few variations, and that was when the chaos started. I didn’t trust hubby on his counting and which variation he was about to perform, so I was so stiff because I didn’t know what will happen next. So many times we ended up bumping into each other. One time he had to twirl and tug me as part of the routine, but since I wasn’t sure which variation he was about to do, I wasn’t ready when he tugged me. Since I wasn’t ready, his tug was too strong for me and I lost my balance. Good thing patience runs in the family. His family, because the Uncle just laughed it off and asked us to start over. It took some more weeks till I grew more comfortable and trusting my hubby. Why? Because I knew now he could do it. He could pull off some fancy movements; twirling, tugging, zig-zag, scissor style, cross-hands, whatever they call it, without bumping into me. And I’ve learned to listen to him, to his cues and his nods on which routine we would do next.

We need to remember that God is the lead, God is the ‘guy’ in this dance. The more we surrender ourselves to be taken by His movements, the more comfortable we will be. We will grow more familiar to His voice, His cues, His next moves, His plans. And naturally, because we know Him so well, our trust in Him will also grow deeper and stronger. When things don’t go our ways, when it seems that everything is against you, remember that God knows what He’s doing. Our ‘Lead Guy’ knows exactly where He’s taking us, and believe that we are safe with Him. My hubby might be super iseng, and he’s pranked me lots and lots of times, but I know he is serious when it comes to my safety. He won’t purposely twirl me and didn’t catch me, or slam his boxy shoulder on me. I know that for sure, because I know Andrew loves me. The more true it is with our God. The sacrifice of Jesus on the Cross, the blood He shed; God the Father let that happened, though it crushed His heart. Why? Because our safety is no laughing matters for Him. He had calculated every moves He had to take to save us, and He doesn’t stop there. He’s never stopped since, and He’s still doing it now, at this very moment [Jeremiah 29:11]. When we feel that God doesn’t seem to care, when we start to question, “what are You doing??”, maybe.. just maybe, it’s because we don’t trust Him enough.

Get to know Him. Spend time with Him, a little bit more each day. Have a quality time with Him, and from that we will see that trusting Him is the most natural thing to do.

learn the basics.
Every time Uncle was about to teach us a new variation, he reminded us, “don’t forget the basic steps! It’ll be a waste of time to teach you more moves if you can’t even remember the basic steps”. Harsh, you may say. But he’s absolutely right, and meant well. If we can’t even remember the simple ‘slow-and-slow-and-quick-quick’, we will be in deep trouble when we’re trying to execute ‘slow-and-slow-and-twirl-tug-switch hands-quick-quick’, and so on.

I’m sure that’s what God also wants us to do; learn the basic, learn the foundations. Read His Word, meditate on it. Take His Word as the sovereign ‘manual’, the ultimate foundation of our daily lives.

I am no expert when it comes to Biblical knowledge. Heck, sometimes it took a while for me to find where the book of Isaiah is; is it before or after Psalms? But there are so many times when I was weak and clueless, His Word, His Truth set me back up on my feet. When I was worried, I’d read Matthew 6:25-34. When I was hopeless and afraid, I’d drown myself in Psalms 62:5-8. When I don’t know how to pray, or how to express my requests to Him, He taught me how in Philippians 4:4-7. When God answered my prayers, or when He asked me to wait, I’d be holding on to Jeremiah 29:11 and Isaiah 55:8-9. Yea yea, I know, Isaiah is after Psalms.

Slowly, as I learned about His Word, reading and meditating on His Word was not an empty slogan anymore; it was the anchor of my life. It’s alive, it’s powerful, it sets me free, it brings me to knowing God even more. Because honestly, how are we going to know about God and His plan for us if we never read about Him? When everything is explained and answered right there in His Word? As our faith is strengthened and edified by His Word, won’t we be more confident no matter what ‘variations’ life may bring?

be humble.
don’t rush. Listen to the Instructor when He corrects you. It is better to slow down and revise and get it right before moving on, rather than end up with a messy ‘choreography’. Since He knows us best, He chooses the ‘song’ for us; the speed, the steps, and with everything else to compliment and encourage our abilities. Don’t compare ourselves with others; don’t force ourselves to do rhumba or tango if we can’t even do a simple cha-cha. Don’t envy the portion that God has set for someone else; He knows what He is doing, and learn to be thankful for whatever He has given us. Do it right with God, don’t get easily offended. He only means the best for us, though sometimes He can be stern and discipline. Believe that in all that He does, He does it with love [Hebrews 12:5-7].  Be humble, let Him mould us into a great piece that will bring glory to Him.

look up.
“don’t keep looking at your feet! chin up!”, that’s what Uncle said. But of course it was easier said than done. Every time he taught us a new variation, I’d be counting out loud and looking down at my feet and Andrew’s, making sure that we were doing it correctly. That reminds me about something else. I also did that when my driver in Surabaya was teaching me on driving a manual car. I kept looking at the pedals and the shifting gear and didn’t really pay attention to where I was going; I just had to make sure that I didn’t stall the car. Hmm.. no wonder my driver looked a bit sick and refused to accompany me the next day.

But anyway. You get what I mean, right? We can’t focus on our situations all the time. We can’t always look down and pity ourselves and mourning our conditions when all that God wants us to do is to look at Him.

What if we make mistakes? In my opinion, God doesn’t mind if we make mistakes, as long as it is genuinely unintentional. He knows that we are not perfect, He knows we still have a loott to learn. It’s okay to be tired, it’s okay to want to stop for a bit. This is when it’s important to always look up to Him. Because despite all that we’ve done, He’ll still be holding our hands!

We learned Waltz last week, and boy what a mess we were. Andrew kicked my shin a number of times, and I kept on stepping on his right foot. It took a while before we could actually dance with the music. And though we did make some mistakes, Uncle quickly encouraged us, ‘go on! keep on dancing, no one’s going to mind minor wrong footing anyway!’. I can imagine that’s what God also said to us whenever we made mistakes; “Go on! keep on going, I got you!”.

When we choose to focus on Him instead of our selves, that’s when He will work mightily through us [2 Corinthians 12:9-10]. Look at His love, look at His guidance. Look up!

And… last but not least,

don’t forget to have fun.
So many times we forget that we are going through lives together with God. I remember last week I literally whined and complained to God that everything, – well, the answer to my prayers, specifically, – took really long, and I don’t know how long I could stand this. He gently reminded me, “but dear, I am also waiting with you.”

That’s got me thinking.

God loves us. He created us because He longs for a loving companionship, a genuine relationship with us. And I don’t think He’d purposely deprive us of something that is good for us and our relationship with Him.

If… it’s good for us and our relationship with Him.

I know for sure that a loving Father as He is will put His children’s wellbeing a first priority. So when He knows that something is not right, however good it may look, there’s no way in the world or heaven that He’s going to give it to us. And when it is actually good for us but we are not ready yet, He would put a halt on it. I can imagine that He’d be brimming with excitement, waiting for that moment when we are changed and ready so He could finally answer our prayers. So He is also waiting.

So, rather than whining and complaining and sulking and wringing God’s hands to give us what we want, I’d say we enjoy this journey. Sometimes we are so focused on the destination, causing us to be completely oblivious to our surroundings. When we decided that whatever road God is taking us, whatever dance God is leading us on, we will do it with joyful hearts, I’m sure we are living a fruitful life. This is our testimony, when we are living our lives in the fullness of joy from God. Joy is highly contagious, and isn’t a joyful heart the best medicine for all situations? [Proverbs 17:22]

Before I end this, I just have to ask this question;

Who are you dancing with right now?

*****

Alright. I didn’t know this one would be this long. But anyway, this is what God taught me for the past month. It might be different from what you have experienced, but I believe all that comes from God will be truly inspiring. I love how God works differently to each of His kids. And as we are dancing through life with Jesus, may we all be a living testimony to God’s love and glory.

that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. [John 17:21]

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