The more I think about it, this metaphor of our Christian walk, as a “journey” seems to fail. A journey has a final destination. Does my walk have a destination? Is there a specific place I am to end up? When I get there, will I approach the finish line with the rest of the journeyers?
Any journey I have been on ends when I reach my destination, and the point of the journey was ultimately the destination. Sure, I had memories of showers at truck stops and peanut butter and jelly at rest areas, but the destination was the goal. As I look at what it means to really, truly follow Jesus, I wonder if He really emphasized the destination as much as we do.
I was talking to a friend the other day, and she made the comment that her walk is more of a ballroom dance than a journey. She began to tell me about what she meant and it clicked with me.
Make no mistake, I cannot dance. I religiously watched The Wade Robson Project while in college. I would then emulate those moves in my friend’s apartment, but it usually resulted in a hard fall after tripping over strategically placed cords from the PS2 followed by a complete awareness of my inability to control more than one limb at any one moment. As my friend explained her theory, all that was in me realized that I was in a dance with my Savior, and the goal was not the destination, but the beauty of the dance.
In ballroom dancing, the man is the lead. He learns the dance first and his knowledge of the dance allows his partner to simply follow his lead. There is always the awkward few sessions where the female is just learning the steps of the dance and she is stepping on her partner’s feet or forgetting what to do when. As that happens, it is only natural to get frustrated and try to fix it. Isn’t that a picture of our dance from time to time? All we really have to do is trust our leader, because He knows this dance far better than we do, but as we learn it, we screw up and we try to fix it on our own…instead of just resting in His arms and moving with His steps.
The male lead desires to have his partner enjoy the dance. Why? Because it is then that she dances most beautifully. Not to mention, if she is dancing well, it makes him look good, too. Just like our dance. God desires us to be joyful about our dance. Why? Because it is then that we are dancing most beautifully, and it is then that He is glorified. The goal of our dance is to glorify the Leader.
My friend was telling me that when she is first learning a dance, her partner talks her through each step and gently, but forcibly moves her from step to step. Slowly, as they dance, she is able to feel him move and his vocal cues become less and less often until she is finally able to read his slight movements or shifts in weight, and she is able to follow and they float across the dance floor.
What a picture of our continuing dance with our God! Early in our dance or even as we learn new steps, He leads us loudly and with forceful movement. As we learn His ways we are able to feel Him move, and we naturally move with Him. He still leads us, only now more subtly. And the result is a beautiful dance.
The more intimate the relationship with the Father, the more beautiful the dance. The enjoyment does not come from reaching a destination, but in the beauty of the dance and in the relationship of the dancers.
There is something about watching dancing that makes any woman want to get out and try it. Even that stupid “Electric Slide.” As simple as it is (to most people, myself not included), the more enjoyable it looks, the more people get involved. Isn’t that the point of our dance? To make it so beautiful that people are drawn to give it a try? To learn it, too? To cut in and Dance?
If we are not enjoying our dance, the end becomes the goal and when we reach it, we feel relieved. I want to love the dance so much that I never want to stop. I want to dance so beautifully with my Savior that others want to dance, too. I want to be in His arms so securely that I feel Him move and I naturally move with Him, that I naturally follow…not out of a head knowledge of the steps, but out of a total submission. I want to be in rhythm with my Savior. From my heart beat to my steps.
That is only done when I allow myself to give Him the lead. Until then, we are just stepping on each other’s toes.