Ever felt a roughness in your spirit? How about your emotions wound so tight you fear you may snap like a rubber band. Or your mind packed with tangled thoughts and it would take a convention full OCD participants to align them all for you. A few years ago, I was in such a place. Knowing I needed to do something; I went to visit two dear friends on their 113 acre cattle farm in Western Washington. Getting out of the city and to the quiet of the country is exactly what I needed. Sitting in the backyard, the clouds caught my attention, white and fluffy, moving ever so slowly. What rhythm I thought, they were peaceful, going in the direction they were created to, beautifully orchestrated.
Later I drove to a nearby small town; I walked down to the docks where the sea water comes into the bay. Contemplating, I sat and watched the seagulls this time. In the distance I saw a kayak approaching with two people in it. There it was again … rhythm; they lifted and set down, lifted and set down the oars with such grace. This is when it dawned on me, what it was I had been sensing that last couple of weeks. Rhythm. My rhythm with the Lord (if you will) had somehow gotten disrupted, whether by lack of focus or disobedience. This affected my perspectives, attitudes and responses and yes, my emotions.
The Lord gave me a picture of dancing. Slow – graceful, elegant unity, like that of ball room dancing. Yet to have the smooth rhythm and glide across the floor, there can only be One who leads. This is what the Father wants from me, that my walk with Him be a graceful dance, He as the leader. He places pressure on my back so gently, I know to move forward, or to the left or the right. Remember when Israel stepped away from God, AGAIN, Isaiah spoke on God’s behalf, “O people of Zion, who live in Jerusalem, you will weep no more. He will be gracious if you ask for help. He will surely respond to the sound of your cries.” Isaiah 30:19 He continues with “Your own ears will hear Him. Right behind you a voice will say, “This is the way you should go,” whether to the right or to the left.” (v21)
Up until this moment I had only been able to squeak out an “O God!” Now I knew what I had to do. Early the next morning I took my headset of worship music and Bible and headed down to the pasture. I was going to seek out my dance Partner. The grazing land follows the river down and around a bend. To get to my favorite spot, I had to walk through the tall wet grass and um … cow… ‘stuff.’ As I stepped over and around these spots, I thought, if we want to meet with the Lord bad enough, sometimes we have to go through the stuff to get there.
Still learning the skill of the dance, I began to pray, I felt much more pressure on my back than usual. But that is what practice is for. I was practicing the presence of the Lord. There was a lot of crying on my part, crying out for God to take over.
I was regaining my rhythm, but to do so I had to stop, confess and acknowledge that I had been trying to lead. Putting my hand in His, He again took the Leaders stance. Jesus spoke to this, “Come to Me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Walk with Me and work with Me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with Me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.” (Matt. 11:28-30 MSG, emphasis mine)
Nearly two hours later I was back up at the house completely worn out, but a good tired! I was soaked from the wet tall grass. But I wouldn’t have missed my dance lesson for anything! I do not want to “sit this one out” with the Lord, or make excuses to miss a lesson, though there have been (and will be) times I am tempted to do so.
Does reading this help identify what you may be experiencing, have you lost YOUR rhythm? When was the last time you went to dance class? Make time to get away, just you and your dancing Partner, and focus on Him. Do as He says, grab your Bible, perhaps walk through some muck, allow Him to put His arms around you and lead you gracefully. It will take a lifetime to learn the skill of the dance, but to sense and obey His word and touch can be beautiful as we follow along in the music of life.
In Him, DeDe (“Let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love & good deeds” – Heb. 10:24)