My fellow bridesmaids, the groomsmen, and the wedding guests had all been bopping around for hours straight to JT’s “Can’t Stop the Feeling”, V.I.C.’s “Wobble” and the like when the DJ finally toned it down with a slow song. A handsome, funny groomsman asked if I would like to dance and I, of course, said yes because he is handsome and funny, and I like to dance. Soon after we started and it became clear to me that he actually knows how to dance—like literal waltzing maneuvers. Despite how difficult it was to walk much less dance in my 4-inch wedges and floor-length dress, this amused me. I (unknowingly) began trying to anticipate the next steps. “Oh, opps. Was that your toe?” I asked, more than once. To my dismay, I was not an impromptu Waltz master. Eventually I stopped asking if it was his toe and he said kindly with a confident smile, “Let me lead.” This surprised me. Had I been trying to take over!? I said something super-humble like, “Fine, but actually lead me. And whatever you do, don’t drop me.” I accepted that I am not a suave dancer and did my best to let him guide me. I wanted to dance; I just didn’t know the steps. Rather than continuing to awkwardly fumble along attempting to help us waltz, I let his comment remind me that he is the one who asked me to dance. And I had accepted.
I think we do this a lot to God as well. We accept His invitation, but then attempt to take over as soon as we have the gist of the moves. Tonight my bible study discussed Acts 19: 8-21, which covers the nonchalant topic of exorcism by proclaiming the name of God. Stay with me here. Acts 19: 11-12 says, “God was performing extraordinary miracles by Paul’s hands, so that even facecloths or work aprons that had touched his skin were brought to the sick, and the diseases left them, and the evil spirits came of them.” Verse 13 continues, “Then some of the itinerant”—aka roaming— “Jewish exorcists attempted to pronounce the name of the Lord Jesus over those who had evil spirits, saying, ‘I command you by the Jesus that Paul preaches!’”
Notice the subjects of or actors in these two passages. Who is doing the verbs? In Verse 11, God is performing miracles through Paul for His own glory. But in verse 13, the exorcists are attempting to use God’s power by calling on His name—not even through their own faith, but Paul’s—for the benefit of performing a miraculous exorcism. The evil spirit answered the Jewish exorcists, “I know Jesus, and I recognize Paul—but who are you?” (Acts 19: 15). The evil spirit overpowered the exorcists, and they ran out naked and wounded (Acts 19: 16). This is an odd example because most of us are inexperienced and a touch uncomfortable with exorcism. But essentially, the difference in results between these scenarios seems to come down to who was leading and for what purpose. Sometimes we call on God’s name for help but we have improper motives or perspective. Sometimes we maneuver His offer to dance with us and His power for our own benefit, for our own sense of being in control, though His glory is all that will ever be enough for us.
I wasn’t in control of the next steps, but somehow wasn’t falling in my wedges or over my long dress either. Before I knew it, Groomsman and I were waltzing across the dance floor, bent elbows up high and everything (just like the cover photo). We were dancing with a design other than “just wiggle around,” and it was a good time! Likewise, God knows we often have no idea what we are doing despite our best intentions to connect the steps. He’s a gentleman so He politely asks us to move aside and let Him lead like He’d asked to in the first place. When we accept His invitation to dance, we must simultaneously relinquish control and invite Him to work in and through us. Our role is to consult with Him on whether to step or dip or twirl or shuffle, not simply to insist on being repeatedly twirled and dipped just because these are the fun moves. We need to actually go where He directs us in order to receive his blessings, to live our best life. God knows the whole sequence. He’s the perfect choreographer.
When the Lord asks us to dance and we accept, He is asking to lead us the entire time, not for us to take control when we think we have the hang of it or we can do better. Galatians 5:1 says, “Christ has liberated us to be free. Stand firm then and don’t submit again to a yoke of slavery.” Don’t take back the reigns, the wheel, the (insert method of control here). You don’t know the next steps! You’ve never even heard the song before. Trust who God is and His ability to guide you. Ask Him to take over whatever you’re going through right now, to act by your hands, as He did with Paul’s, for His glory. James 4:15 puts it this way, “Instead, you should say, ‘If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that.'” All we have to do is move freely in the direction of the Holy Spirit’s cues. Our God-given, signature move is “the re-surrender“. If this were yoga —I’m a little better at yoga than dancing—it’s Child’s Pose or Downward Facing Dog. It’s pausing to admit you don’t know what comes next, to check in with the One who does.
So if you’re reading this, Groomsman, thanks for being a gentleman and asking a lady to dance. Yes, I am aware the cover picture is the Chicken Dance not the Waltz, and I won’t be offended if what we did can’t even officially be considered the Waltz. I’m still learning here.
Thank you, God, for revealing Yourself through simple moments and comparisons. We are amazed You invite us to dance with You even when we haven’t the slightest clue how the steps will come together.