“Draw near to me and I will draw near to you."
Jesus is the Perfect Leader in this dance we call life.
In ballroom dancing a gentleman (the leader) invites the lady (the follower) into his embrace by raising his hand and waiting. It is the lady’s job to step into that embrace; and she is in charge of establishing her distance from the gentleman (according to what she is comfortable with). A good leader never forces the follow to have closer contact by pulling her in.
This reflects how Jesus invites us into a relationship with him. He waits, and is completely patient; that hand is always outstretched, because Jesus desires to dance with us, to lead us through this life. But we must choose to step into that embrace. As we draw near to God, he draws nearer to us.
In a ballroom dance such as waltz, tango, foxtrot, and Viennese waltz, it is much easier to feel and follow the lead the closer you are to your partner. In fact, the strongest partnerships are danced with body contact from the zyphoid (near your sternum), through the right ribs, and down through the right hip and thigh. When a gentleman and lady have this connection, they start to move as one. When the leader moves in one direction, the follower can respond instantly – seamlessly and gracefully.
Drawing near to God is a process, not an event – and it takes a lifetime. If Jesus’s invitation to us was depicted in terms of a waltz, it might look like this:
“Jessica, will you dance with me?” and Jesus holds out his hand.
I take a step in, but hold him at a distance.
Jesus is okay with this, he takes me where I am at, with my level of comfort, and he holds me; he is just excited to begin dancing. He introduces me to the basics, and helps me master the fundamentals. Like a good teacher, he corrects and refines my techniques at this early stage to keep bad habits from forming. Here Jesus clears out misconceptions about who He is, and during this time that I ground myself in the foundations of faith.
As my trust in the Leader deepens, my excitement for the dance grows. So grows my desire to love Jesus more, to do the things that would please God; and as I seek Him, I draw nearer. I spend more time in prayer, I talk to God, and I allow the wisdom and truth of the Bible to speak into the situations and decisions of my life. I become more adept at hearing His guidance, feeling His promptings, and following His lead.
You can recognize people who are following Jesus in “body contact” by the relaxed and unstriving way they live their faith. They are “in-tune” with the even the smallest promptings of the Holy Spirit and they follow his direction with trust and obedience.
When a leader/follower is first learning this technique of dancing “in body contact,” it is common to get the timing off. Either the lady or the gentleman will move too quickly, which causes small gaps (separation) or sometimes a mini body slam (collision). Fluidity and the ability to gracefully dance in such a close partnership takes LOTS of practice, years in fact.
You and I will make mistakes along the way, even when we are trying our hardest to follow Jesus. There will be mis-timing, mis-judgments, and missteps, which will cause you and Jesus to bump heads from time to time. All we can do in these times is humble ourselves, and remember the He is the Perfect Leader.
Psa 73:28 (AMP) But it is good for me to draw near to God; I have put my trust in the Lord God and made Him my refuge, that I may tell of all Your works.
Heb 10:22 (AMP) Let us all come forward and draw near with true (honest and sincere) hearts in unqualified assurance and absolute conviction engendered by faith (by that leaning of the entire human personality on God in absolute trust and confidence in His power, wisdom, and goodness), having our hearts sprinkled and purified from a guilty (evil) conscience and our bodies cleansed with pure water.
Psalm 73:21-28 (The Message) When I was beleaguered and bitter, totally consumed by envy, I was totally ignorant, a dumb ox in your very presence. I'm still in your presence, but you've taken my hand. You wisely and tenderly lead me, and then you bless me. You're all I want in heaven! You're all I want on earth! When my skin sags and my bones get brittle, God is rock-firm and faithful. Look! Those who left you are falling apart! Deserters, they'll never be heard from again. But I'm in the very presence of God - oh, how refreshing it is! I've made Lord God my home. God, I'm telling the world what you do!
What a dazzling portrait of letting God lead and enjoying the art of living life through the Holy Spirit! Thank you for sharing your heart and skills to invite others into such a creative, experiential art form! ~ Kristin L.
Amazing picture of our relationship with God through dance...you are not just an excellent dancer and teacher but you are an inspiring writer..God bless you Jessica! ~ Susan S.
What an honest and true portrayal of our relationship with Our heavenly father, it is truely a dance. Jess thank you for sharing this word picture/analogy, it brings relationship to life, gives it legs, steps and shows the motions that may be a part of our individual journeys! You are a blessing!! ~ Joy D.