Musings on the Dance of Life

There’s a practice in ballet and other kinds of dance called “spotting”. During spins, it is used to prevent dizziness and when standing on toes, it is used to keep steady balance.  Basically, the dancer chooses a spot on the wall she is facing, or the wall she is heading toward and keeps her eyes fixed on that spot. On stage during my ballet days, it was usually the Exit sign! The idea is for the dancer to keep her eyes on this spot until the last second before a spin and snap her head around back to that spot again after the spin. In this video, you will see how the dancer’s head is the last thing to leave before a spin and the first thing to arrive back to her spot again after the spin. When balancing on toes, it is essential to focus fully and sharply on one spot or the dancer will lose her balance.

I was a slow learner in ballet, but I learned this practice very quickly out of necessity. It’s difficult to describe the dizziness that results from not spotting while spinning, or the lack of balance that occurs without focus. If I took my eyes off of my spot for just a second, I would start to wobble and sometimes even fall. And wherever I was looking during a spin was where I was headed. If I was looking at the floor, I was headed for a fall. If I was looking at the wrong spot, I would veer off course into the path of the other dancers, causing them to stumble. But if my eyes were straight ahead, I could not go wrong.

ballet

Yep, that’s me in the picture. And I guarantee that I am focusing hard on something in order to remain still and balanced or this picture would have had a much different story to tell.

Sometimes the world feels like it’s spinning out of control and I’m barely hanging on by my tip toes. The only way to keep from falling is to focus hard on my Source, my Creator, my Anchor. When I try to hang on myself, I take my eyes off of Him and careen out of control. My heart gets bruised and battered from the falls. I’ve lost my Anchor, my God, in the spin. And once I’m off balance, it’s very difficult to get back on. Fixing my eyes on God keeps me steady. I need my Source to be more important to me than anything else or I am going to fall. I am going to veer off course and potentially take others with me on this dance of life.

I am reminded of A. W. Tozer who said in his book, The Pursuit of God, “Make heaven more real to me than any earthly thing has ever been.” Amen! How I long for that to be true! I think one of the purposes of this life is to work for that to be true. I want God to be more real to me than anything on this earth because this earth is only temporary. If I keep my eyes on my Source, my God, He is where I am headed. But if I take my eyes off of him for just a second, earth becomes more important than him and I am falling. I am careening off course and finding it even more difficult to get back on.

I was sitting in my favorite spot awhile ago, overlooking an absolutely breathtaking view. The leaves were bright and falling softly all around me. The sun was glistening through the trees as they swayed in the breeze. I watched as butterflies played next to me on the flowers. I was in awe and at peace. Suddenly, I was distracted by the blisters on my hands. It’s hard not to be distracted when they start popping out everywhere and itch terribly during a flare. Then I started thinking about the rest of my illness and wondering if I will ever be well. Pretty soon I was so inwardly focused that I was ignoring the beauty all around me. And I do this so often! It’s difficult for me to focus on God when the physical is just so real and painful! Right about that time, God smacked me in the head with an acorn! He snapped me out of my downward/inward spiral and reminded me to keep looking up at him so that I won’t fall into the darkness. I thank God for steadying me with his love. I thank him for being so real in my life! Even if he has to smack me around a bit to get me to focus, I’m OK with that! I am so thankful for the experiences I have that make him more real to me than anything on earth, and I look forward to the time when he is ALWAYS more real to me than anything else.

This life gets in the way. I allow it to get in the way. I allow it to disturb my focus and throw me off balance. The physical and emotional pain take my breath away when that astonishment should be reserved only for God. He is my Source and my Anchor who keeps me balanced. There is nothing more beautiful and wonderful on which I could fix my eyes. We are so blessed to have the most beautiful ‘Spot’ on which to focus!

And there are times when it is OK to fall because God is our dance partner. Falling is an act of trust, knowing that we will be caught by the steadiest of hands. When we are in God, we fall into his arms. He is our Anchor and our Safe Place. We can stop focusing on the things of this world that only throw us off balance, and we can fall into the loving arms of God. Stop clinging to it all, and fall.

Fall

Peace, My child, I am here.
Calm, My child. I hold it all.
Be still, My child and do not fear.
Rest, My child. I won't let you fall.

Except into my loving arms
Just fall into my saving arms
My arms are there to catch you
Don't be afraid to let go
And I'll keep you soaring higher
Stop clinging to it all, and fall.

Strength, My child for my glory.
Be brave, My child. I walk with you.
Sing, My child. I gave you my story.
Trust, My child. There's nowhere to run to.

I know right now you don't understand
But I've got you held in my loving hands
And I'm always working my perfect plan
So I'm waiting for you now to run...

I am blessed that God gave me a new song called Fall. You can listen to it here.
Join me in the Facebook group, Beauty in the Rubble, for more encouragement.
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I’ll Go Walking, and Leaping, and Praising God!

There was once a man who was born crippled. He was now over forty years old so he had been living with a broken body for many years, begging just to eek out a living. Can you imagine just sitting there, day after day, unable to move while people pass by? I would not be surprised if there were times when he just wanted to give up except that his life depended on the alms for which he begged.

One day, this man begged from someone who gave him something far greater than money. You likely know the story from Acts 3, and perhaps even the Bible School song that goes along with it. “Peter and John went to pray. They met a lame man on the way. He asked for alms and held out his palms and this is what Peter did say. ‘Silver and gold have I none, but what I have I give you. In the Name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk.’ He went walking, and leaping, and praising God!”

You want to know the irony in this story? The gate that this man sat in front of day after day in all of his brokenness was called… Beautiful. This Temple gate was likely called Beautiful because it was made of Corinthian brass. When the City of Corinth was burned, many statues of brass, gold, and silver melted and ran together forming what was then called Corinthian brass. This metal was valued even more than gold or silver and was used to construct the Beautiful gate. The gate was likely the largest and most ornate of the Temple gates, some say requiring the strength of twenty people to open and close it (Ellicott’s Bible Commentary). Just imagine something that grand. It’s not a wonder the gate was called Beautiful. It lived up to its name. Can you imagine sitting in front of something so exceedingly beautiful with such an exceedingly broken body? I can.

Day after day, I sit in this broken body with its broken heart and broken dreams. Sometimes I do feel paralyzed by suffering. I beg for a few alms of hope. Hope to survive, hope for healing. And the whole time. THE WHOLE TIME, I sit in front of the Beautiful. When I am looking for it, God makes it clear that I am never removed from His Beauty. I am broken, crippled so that I can’t move away from the Beauty even if I try. That is the biggest gift my God has given me through this illness. He’s halted me so that I am able to just sit and stare at his splendor. Opening my eyes to God’s beauty sure messes up my pity party!

God has given me eyes to see the gifts that are all around me and even in my illness. I have the gift of time. I am able to focus on the things that matter most in this life, rather than pouring myself into the things that he’s teaching me just aren’t that important. I’ve been given the gift of re-aligning my purpose with God’s purpose for me. Amazing! I’m a slow learner but he is revealing to me more about my purpose as we go along on this journey together, which is how he meant life to be from the start. I have been given the gift of appreciation. I appreciate the ‘little things’ so much more than I used to, and have realized that sometimes they are actually the big things. My illness has given me more opportunities to learn about myself and who God wants me to be. God is giving me His strength through this journey, which is an incredible gift in itself. Through this illness, he is giving me the gift of broken walls, opening my heart to so much that I had closed it to in the past. I believe that God has given me new eyes to read this story in Acts, and new eyes to see his beauty in my life. I can’t help but wonder if the man in the story noticed the beauty or if he was too consumed with his brokenness. I want to keep searching, moment by moment, for beauty in my brokenness. So, day after day, I sit in front of the Beauty, I bask in the Glory, I soak in the Presence, I adore my God who sits with me.

And then one day, my persistence and faith will be rewarded. “By faith in the name of Jesus, this man whom you see and know was made strong. It is Jesus’ name and the faith that comes through him that has given this complete healing to him, as you can all see” (Acts 3:16). I get chills when I read that! In the Name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, I WILL BE HEALED. The Name of Jesus Christ will give COMPLETE healing to me. So. Much. Emotion! And when this happens, I promise there will be much walking and leaping and praising God!!!!!! In the Name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, I WILL RISE UP AND WALK. Once I have learned to appreciate true beauty, which can be found even in brokenness, once I can see God in my rubble, never taking him for granted, I will be blessed with true healing, a healing that is far greater than health. Hallelujah.

I’ll go walking, and leaping, and praising God…..

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