The art of dancing has always been an enigma to me. On the streets I'm not exactly known for my ability to keep time while moving my legs back and forth and when you throw in trying to move my hips and do something productive with my hands ALL at the same time? Let's just say, I was not blessed with the Fred Astaire or even a Michael Jackson 'anointing'! (but just between me and you, in my own mind, I'm better than Usher any day of the week! ha!) Dancing to me has always been something that I've admired from afar (and safe) distance. Now, I'm about to expose my age a little here, but when I was a kid dancing wasn't as intricate as it is today; I'm talking fox trot, simple ballroom, the cha cha, jitterbug, swing dancing and the masterfully complex form known as the twist, haha! (just to name a few). Compare those with the moves that happen each week on 'So You Think You Can Dance' or the 'Step Up' franchise and you won't find a whole lot in common, other than the fact that dancing takes people places that they just can't seem to go, leaning up against a wall. There is a freedom that is found inside of dancing that liberates people, and when you throw in a dance partner, it becomes quite exhilarating and limitless.
The other day I was meditating on the basic principles found within the art of dance, I'm talking BASIC. Steps. Back and forth, back and forth, back and forth. Even if you throw a secondary forth, you still need to take AT LEAST one step back in order to COMPLETE the cycle that we know as dancing. In this 21st century fast paced GO GO GO GO GO GO GO until you need to keep going and going and going going and going; we can tend to lean a little too hard on the dance steps that lead us forward, often times thinking that taking a step back once in a while will either set us back or slow us down (we can see it as a form of weakness), but in the grand scheme of this delicate journey that we call life we are greatly amiss. For some reason we think that as we charge ahead in life, like the running of the bulls in Spain (where they seem to have no pause or reverse) that this will get us to our desired destination in 21st Century style, but this isn't the case.
In the book of Ecclesiastes the writer poetically covers the many different seasons that we (as humans) go through; and a good while after this passage was written a band called 'The Birds' wrote a melody that these words flowed with (it's one of my favorites). When you read chapter 3 of Ecclesiastes you will find a beautiful ebb and flow that is not only melodic (in and of itself) but is actually necessary to heed throughout every moment of life; and as you dig deep into the various movements (seasons) that the author of Ecclesiastes speaks of you begin to realize how each season (movement) looks a lot like the art of dancing. The laughing, the crying, the living, the dying and so on are very similar to taking one step back and two steps forward, two steps back and one step forward etc. Ultimately, the longer that you look at the various movements (seasons) the more understanding you will have of the way in which your own life's pattern has gone (and is still going). You will begin to see just how important backward steps are in order to gain enough speed that is essential to the catapulting of your future steps (leaps) forward.
This line of thinking is not one that we can immediately get excited about, after all who likes going backward (unless you are an Olympic level ice skater working up the moment to do a triple sou cow)? Backward motions don't give you a whole lot of visibility to work with, in fact, of all the directions backwards is the one that makes you feel most out of control; but maybe that's just the point. When we are constantly on the go moving forward and doing whatever we need to do to maintain a fierce speed, we don't have much need for anymore input, so where does God fit into our GOGOGO lifestyle? Recently in my own personal life I've been faced with a few major decisions, as well as decisions that I make weekly on behalf of what God wants for Destiny House and I will be the first to admit that TIME is something that I don't want to lose out on. There is always an urgency when it comes to helping people and the last thing that I (or any pastor) want to be careless with is opportunity, so making a decision to take a step back is always a difficult task, but if I've learned anything over 35 years of ministry experience it would be the balance between the seasons (movements) and the speeds with which I must transition into the next.
So here's the lesson of the moment... invest the time and effort into understanding and learning your specific dance that you and God move MOST efficiently in. And even if you are like me (lacking in the 'dancing with the stars' level of coordination) trying to find the right beat, just take that next step and leave the beat and style of the dance up to your dance Partner. God is gentle, patient and delicate with His dance partners and when you let Him lead, He will always make your moves look good! Dance on dudes! I Love you!
Larry Matteson is the lead Pastor of Destiny House, Director of Praxis Academy, teacher, author and mentor.