I usually don’t dance.
At weddings, I’m the one sitting demurely in my seat on the edge of the dance floor smiling as people twirl by. My dad always tries to get me out there and I go because what girl doesn’t want to dance with her dad? However, I eventually end up just giggling like a middle schooler at my terrible attempts to keep up with his wonderful rhythm. Scott, bless his wonderful heart, gives me my space in this area and only claims the slow dances, cause hey, I can manage to sway in circles with the best of them. That’s it though.
My sister and a few of our friends persuaded me to join them at a Zumba class on Friday’s and, in some out of body experience, I agreed. The only thing that makes me feel comfortable there is the knowledge that nobody is looking at me. Their eyes are on the instructor (who is amazing!) or themselves in the mirror. I on the other hand, have a strict don’t-look-in-the-mirror policy. I know that if I did, I’d see how awful I am and promptly quite. I’m even considering not wearing my contacts next week in an effort to further hide my ineptitude from myself. We’ll see…
No, I don’t usually dance. Unless it’s with my kids. I make an exception for them. We like to have dance parties in the kitchen all of the time. I crank up some worship music and we go to town. We jump, we spin, we clap, we shimmy and jive, letting our whole being respond to the prayers put to music.
I know I look ridiculous but my kids don’t care. I know I’m no good. I know that the moves aren’t right and they’re nothing special but I also know that my body language is communicating something to my kids. With each jump or spin, I’m communicating joy. And as I dance, I sing the words to the songs we’re listening to.
“You will never fade away! You’re love is here to stay! By my side, in my life, shining through me everyday!” Hillsong’s “Wake”
And I want to jump higher and clap louder.
There’s something about declaring the goodness of my God that makes me forget that I look ridiculous. There’s something about spending time with Him and my kids that makes me want to jump high, sing loud, and spin fast.
King David knew what I was talking about. He danced naked to celebrate the Ark of the Covenant, the presence of God, returning to Israel. His wife scoffed at him but he didn’t care.
“I will celebrate before the Lord. I will become even more undignified than this and I will be humiliated in my own eyes.” 2 Samuel 6: 21b-22 (NIV)
Undignified. A perfect way to describe how I look dancing barefoot in my kitchen with my three year old son jumping behind me and my baby girl smiling in my arms.
But we are celebrating before the Lord. We are letting the joy of his presence of His goodness wash over us.
My hope is that my kids take this to heart, that they learn how to celebrate before the Lord, to find joy in His presence, and to seek it out. I hope that they learn that life with Jesus is a narrow road, but He danced the steps before we did. I hope that they learn that Faith ought to be lived out, danced out, visible, loud, and beautiful in all of its imperfections.
They’ll mess up sometimes as they strive to follow Him. We all do. They’ll take the wrong step, or turn to the left when they should have turned to the right. They’ll sit down when they should stand up. But the grace of God is a song that never ends, constantly on repeat, giving us every chance to join the dance again.
I pray with my whole being that they do.
I hope that when life is crazy and when life is calm, they celebrate before the Lord. His love, His faithfulness, His forgiveness, His generosity, His very self, come together like an orchestra to make one toe-tapping rhythm.
Let your heart respond to the song of His. Listen to it, let it wash over you, wrap around you like a ribbon and bind you to your Savior; the Lover of your soul. Let Him lead you out onto the dance floor and celebrate before Him.
He is worth celebrating.
If you’re having trouble finding where to start, read this out loud. It was written by the very same David that led the charge in undignified, good for your soul, celebration before the Lord. It’s sure to remind you of the goodness of our God.
Psalm 145 (NIV)
A psalm of praise. Of David.
1 I will exalt you, my God the King;
I will praise your name forever and ever.
2 Every day I will praise you
and extol your name for ever and ever.
3 Great is the Lord and most worthy of praise;
his greatness no one can fathom.
4 One generation commends your works to another;
they tell of your mighty acts.
5 They speak of the glorious splendor of your majesty—
and I will meditate on your wonderful works.b
6 They tell of the power of your awesome works—
and I will proclaim your great deeds.
7 They celebrate your abundant goodness
and joyfully sing of your righteousness.
8 The Lord is gracious and compassionate,
slow to anger and rich in love.
9 The Lord is good to all;
he has compassion on all he has made.
10 All your works praise you, Lord;
your faithful people extol you.
11 They tell of the glory of your kingdom
and speak of your might,
12 so that all people may know of your mighty acts
and the glorious splendor of your kingdom.
13 Your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom,
and your dominion endures through all generations.
The Lord is trustworthy in all he promises
and faithful in all he does.c
14 The Lord upholds all who fall
and lifts up all who are bowed down.
15 The eyes of all look to you,
and you give them their food at the proper time.
16 You open your hand
and satisfy the desires of every living thing.
17 The Lord is righteous in all his ways
and faithful in all he does.
18 The Lord is near to all who call on him,
to all who call on him in truth.
19 He fulfills the desires of those who fear him;
he hears their cry and saves them.
20 The Lord watches over all who love him,
but all the wicked he will destroy.
21 My mouth will speak in praise of the Lord.
Let every creature praise his holy name
for ever and ever.