“Shall We Dance”

 

Shall we Dance reminds me of a very significant and life-changing time for me 41 years ago (wow)! 1976 was a time when Rocky became a hit, when Robert De Niro famously said, “ You talkin to me?,” and Jimmy Carter was on the cover of Time magazine as Man of the Year. Apple Computer was formed by Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak and the first computer was sold for $666.66 (interesting). VHS was released and the ink-jet printer was invented. My have we come a long way!

That year on New Year’s Eve 1976, I was watching the classic Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers in Shall We Dance, (one of their many movies that night). I remember how in sync they were as a team dancing. Every step, every beat, and every movement was something of beauty and harmony. Their partnership and trust was very obvious and evident along with their enjoyment of dancing right into our hearts (or at least mine).   As they danced they mirrored each other’s steps, they knew when to lead and when to follow, and they knew the beat and rhythm, making it look effortless and painless, as well as allowing the other person to look good. Ginger Rogers once said, “We weren’t born Siamese twins, but sometimes you’d think we were.”

For Astaire and Rogers dancing wasn’t just about the right steps or music; it was the perfect combination of moving with your heart, hearing the melodies in your spirit and releasing yourself to risk the steps in motion and, of course, intentionally positioning yourself to learn, grow, and develop. Their dance routines where truly a work of art in motion; they swept across the dance floor with such elegance, grace, and beauty. It was once said by Martha Graham, “Dance is the hidden language of the soul.”

Crossroads

So getting back to 1976, New Year Eve’s the turning point in my life, at 17 years old I wanted something different in my life, something more and something substantially real. I was at a crossroads in my life, desperately needing more meaning and truth. As 12 o’clock midnight approached, I remember getting two champagne glasses and a bottle of champagne. At the stroke of midnight I raised my glass to the Lord, and invited Him to be my date that night and the rest of my life. That New Year’s Eve night I felt the Heavenly Father offering His Hand to me and asking – “Shall We Dance?” From that night forward, I have been in the Father’s arms learning the music of His love, learning and leaning in His ways of surrender and trust, and hearing the rhythm and tempo of His Truth.

Throughout these years there have been many trials and errors, many clumsy steps, mishaps and even at times, feeling awkward and out of step. The Holy Spirit wanted to lead me one way and I wanted to go the other way. Metaphorically speaking there have been sore muscles, many stubbed toes and many tears, feelings of wanting to give-up because the pain seemed unbearable, and feelings of awkwardness in my own skin. I didn’t know my ability and capability yet in the Lord; I didn’t recognize my true self—who the Lord made me to be with my identity and individuality. I wanted to find my own unique and distinctive style and personality according to God’s original design. I so desired to cultivate a renewed mind awakened by His truth according to how He sees me.

The Dance of Life

As I continued to grow and heal, I felt it was becoming easier to surrender and trust my Dancing Partner—My Heavenly Father. Consequently, through the Holy Spirit’s guidance His ways of truth and love were giving me new movements to dance in life, a reservoir of hope, which ignited my little mustard seed of faith to truly grasp the reality of the indwelling Christ. It was thrilling and exhilarating as I danced with the Heavenly Father because I didn’t focus on missed steps, mistakes, or off beats; however, I started to feel the rhythm of His music of His heart towards me.

God told them, “I’ve never quit loving you and never will. Expect love, love, and more love! And so now I’ll start over with you and build you up again, dear virgin Israel. You’ll resume your singing, grabbing tambourines and joining the dance. …” (Jeremiah 31:3b-4 The Message)

As the Dance of Life continued, I felt the Holy Spirit’s compassion, His non-judgmental corrections, and His ability to be sincerely patient and encouraging. I was beginning to learn my own unique style and was learning who I was with and in the Holy Spirit as my Instructor, Teacher, and Tutor. The Dance of Life was starting to become more enjoyable, more familiar to me and the gift of Christ gave me greater dimensions of grace and defined my individual value. The Dance of Life was always moving but the transitioning became smoother and easier to accept new steps, new rhythms which lead into new expressions of creativity. I also began learning the art of being flexible (I’m still learning this) and bendable so when the Teacher gives me instructions or directions and tells me to rethink or redo something, I can restfully yield to the fact He has my best interest at heart. I dared to risk new adventures of the Dance because I am safe in the arms of His love.

Will You Take This Dance?

My question to you, do you want to dance a new Dance with your Heavenly Father? Do you desire to be held in His arms of love, His arms of strength and safety?  Do you long for enjoyment in this Dance of Life? Please know my dear friend, He’s inviting you to Dance with Him, He is presenting Himself to you and He is saying, “Shall We Dance the Dance of Life together?” Don’t hold back; don’t be afraid to step out with your Heavenly Father, for you will be pleasantly surprised with how comfortable you will fit in His arms. He longs to romance you with His love, His joy, His strength, and His leading. He is wanting to introduce to you a brand new way of living life and it’s through the Dance of His Spirit, because His love kindles faith and faith opens the horizon to explore love’s mystery; it’s the work of the Holy Spirit to guide, to lead us to the top, and then move aside to let us see the tremendous beauty of who we are in Him. His Divine intimacy is what we are all longing for—The romance of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. I leave you with this scripture which sums it up beautifully:

From the Shadows to the Substance

My counsel for you is simple and straightforward: Just go ahead with what you’ve been given.

You received Jesus Christ, the Master; now live him. You’re deeply rooted in him. You’re well constructed upon him. You know your way around the faith. Now do what you’ve been taught.

School’s out; quit studying the subject and start living it! And let your living spill over into thanksgiving.

– Colossians 2:6-7, MSG

A Prayer

Dear Heavenly Father,

I thank you for the very moment when you called me to follow You. You called me by Your grace into a whole new sphere of living. Help me Lord to realize this new sphere isn’t a new place to live BUT a new WAY to live. Help me Lord, to join You in this Dance of Life, trusting, surrendering and celebrating life with You.  Father, let me praise Your name in dance. Father, strike up the band of Heaven and let us make great music and harmony together on this side of eternity.

In Jesus Name. Amen!

 

– Mari Anne Andersen

mari-ann-bw

Write Mari Anne Andersen with any thoughts, questions or comments you may have: marianne@freedomhouseministry.net