We must keep our eyes on Jesus, who leads us and makes our faith complete.
~Hebrews 12:2 (CEV)
I love to dance Salsa. Whether I am at a ballroom dance studio’s weekly dance party or at a venue with a live salsa band, I enjoy dancing enough that I dance with everyone regardless of age or experience. I admit that I do love to get in at least one or two salsa dances with a really good lead. A good leader will challenge my body and my mind to its limits.
Salsa is Latin jazz, so the music is complex by nature, and very fast. The basic foot rhythm is constant, but when you add turns, spins, walks, hand changes and fast music it gets really interesting! There are also plenty of opportunities for individual styling and expression. All of a sudden, as a follow, my reaction time to whatever is led is whittled down to a fraction of a beat. I have to be so aware of my partner, that I rarely look my partner straight in the eyes; instead I literally stare at his chest - because then I can use my peripheral vision to see everything he is trying to lead. I also have to tune out everything and everybody else around me, which is usually a bit of a blur, and my partner becomes the only constant in the room. I have this saying when I teach salsa and other Latin dances: dance heart to heart. This puts you directly in front of your partner and helps keep your frame and your connection. No matter how many times he spins me, I have to come back and find him with my eyes and end up facing him – heart to heart.
This concept of dancing heart to heart can also apply to how we can relate to God, especially when the rest of our life seems to be spinning out of control. Keep your eyes on God at all times. If you are spun around, come back to find him! No matter what is going on around me, what circumstances are trying to distract me, the only way to navigate the course is to focus on the heart of Jesus.
When the tempo of a song gets faster it can become much harder to follow. In dancing I sometimes miss the signal the gentleman gives that tells me what move I am supposed to do next. If I am dancing with a really good leader, he might be able to compensate for my mistake – by picking me up, or changing the move halfway through into something that will work.
God does this with us all the time. We miss his cues, we wander off, and we refuse to follow very clear directions. But Jesus, he is so patient with us! And he always gives us another opportunity: He will catch us if we fall, redirect us if we fail to turn around, re-present the door of opportunity we refused to go through the first time, and then He will celebrate our success when he complete the step he asked us to take.
Dancing, salsa dancing especially, forces you to stay in the present. This isn’t the kind of dancing depicted on the popular TV shows “Dancing with the Stars” and “So You Think You Can Dance.” In those shows all the dances are choreographed, both dancers know the particular song and know what moves are coming next, which in turn allows them to look very polished.
I find it more fun to watch really good dancers in a social setting where everything is lead and follow. The lady typically has no idea what move is coming next, and the gentleman rarely has planned out more than three moves in advance. It can be absolutely amazing to watch the transitions, with hand-offs faster than an Olympic relay team! It is super-dramatic and entirely dependent upon the lady trusting the gentleman and instantly responding to the lead. And ladies get into BIG trouble if they
try to anticipate the guy’s next move. A lady can through the entire timing off when she “guesses” what the guy is going to lead – she either moves to early, or starts doing a move the guy never intended to lead in the first place!
Side bar –Ladies, let me just lay this one out there….you can’t and never will be able to read the guy’s mind or his next move just by looking into his eyes. ;-)
When we follow Jesus it is also important that we stay in the present. Take for instance how God inspires a vision for your life and reveals how you should take steps toward accomplishing that vision. My experience is that He might give you an overall vision (i.e. we are going to dance a salsa), but the steps to execute that vision (a salsa basic, a underarm turn, a cross-body lead) are given one at a time. And there is no rushing of the song allowed (the song being the journey toward accomplishing your vision) – because each song, and each vision, has a set tempo and timing. So, you don’t get to do the last move….until
you reach the end of the song. Your job, throughout the song, throughout the journey of your vision, is to keep your eyes on Jesus, and to respond to each lead, each direction, each step, AS HE LEADS them.
How should we respond when the pace of our life gets fast and furious?
One step at a time, keeping our eyes and our heart focused on the heart of Jesus.
Lord keep my heart tuned to your heart, to your passions and your will for my life. Keep me in step with your pace and tempo and not my own. When I have a choice, help me to pick the path that keeps me close to you. Remind me that even if I feel like my world is spinning out of control around me, that You, Jesus, are the only constant in the room! Help me to always focus and find you at every turn. You are my grounding influence, my guide, the perfect shepherd, the perfect lead. Help me to be responsive to your direction and guidance.
Show me how you work, God;
School me in your ways.
Take me by the hand;
Lead me down the path of truth.
You are my Savior, aren't you?....
Forget that I sowed wild oats;
Mark me with your sign of love.
Plan only the best for me, God!
God is fair and just;
He corrects the misdirected,
Sends them in the right direction.
He gives the rejects his hand,
And leads them step-by-step.
From now on every road you travel
Will take you to God.
Follow the Covenant signs;
Read the charted directions....
My question: What are God-worshipers like?
Your answer: Arrows aimed at God's bull's eye....
If I keep my eyes on God, I won't trip over my own feet.
~Psalm 25:4-5,7-10,12,15 (The Message)
Do what God tells you. Walk in the paths he shows you: Follow the life-map absolutely, keep an eye out for the signposts, his course for life set out in the revelation to Moses; then you’ll get on well in whatever you do and wherever you go.
~1 Kings 2:3 (MSG)
Seek the LORD, and his strength: seek his face evermore. ~Psalm 105:4 (KJV)