OK, so I’m stealing the title from my pastor’s sermon yesterday. But he stole it from Scripture, so I think that’s OK!

I’m not a big fan of the Message Bible. It’s usually a little too hokey for me. But read this passage:

Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real 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.
Matthew 11:28-30 (emphasis mine)

Tonight on “Dancing with the Stars,” several couples will dance the Viennese Waltz. It’s a beautiful dance with graceful swirls amidst the rise and fall of the dance. It appears effortless. It flows with the rhythm of the music.

“Learn the unforced rhythms of grace” Jesus tells us. Here’s the Sandy Hovatter amplified version: “Learn to dance with me to the music I’m playing as the backdrop for your life. The music will have it’s own tune, unique to your life, created especially for you with crescendos and decrescendos, measures to be lived quite softly and others to be lived with great gusto. I’m writing it uniquely for you, note by note, to lead you into and through the purposes I have for your life.”


Lessons from Ballroom Dancing
Phil and I have taken ballroom dance lessons periodically over the past ten years. We love it, but we’re really not very good at it. In all these years, we’ve barely progressed beyond beginner. But even a beginner learns a few things:

1) Only one person can lead! When two people lead you are constantly fighting one another and you’re likely to end up on the floor as you lead each other in opposite directions.

2) If the wrong person leads, the dance doesn’t flow properly. It just looks (and feels) wrong.

3) Find someone who knows more than you do and follow them.

4) Finding and following the flow and rhythm of the music covers a multitude of wrong steps.

5) Quit stressing about getting it perfect — you’ll get better each time, so enjoy the process and laugh at your mistakes. (Every teacher we’ve had has told us that we have to do every step a thousand times to really learn it — and they all suggest practicing the steps as we walk down the street! People who love to dance don’t seem to care if others laugh at them.)

I doubt that you need me to make the spiritual applications here, but how can I resist?

• When following Jesus, only one person can lead — the Lord! When I take the lead, falling is never far behind. At the very least, the flow of my dance (i.e., my life) disintegrates rapidly.

• I’ve always found that being around people who love God more than I do greatly enhances my love for God. I try to find these people and hang around with them.

• Walking in grace covers a multitude of mis-steps. Keeping my connection with the Lord strong allows me to flow in His rhythm, so even when I miss His lead, I don’t get far before sensing that He’s changed directions.

• A question I try to ask often is “In the light of eternity, how important is it?” Almost all the time, the answer is “not very.” So let it go. Don’t get angry because your husband is doing that thing that annoys you…again. Don’t be discouraged because you’re not the person you want to be yet. Keep practicing. You’ll get the steps down. Don’t give up. Laugh at your mistakes (not at your sin, at your mistakes, there’s a difference) and try it again.

I’m ready to treat life as a wonderful dance between my Savior and me. Who knows, it might end up looking a whole lot like a Viennese waltz.

An afterthought: When Phil and I are dancing, I am most likely to “steal” the lead when I become bored — when we’re not doing anything interesting. If I were to examine my life, I bet I’d find the same to be true of the times I’ve “stolen” the lead from Christ. As if I know what’s best for me, right? Wrong!

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