(Ancient swing dancing photo: circa 2007. Also, proof that I was once short!)
In dance, there are two very clearly prescribed roles: the leader and the follower.
When you’re out on the dance floor as a woman, more than likely you will find yourself in the role of the follower. When you’re the follower, you don’t get to plan. Instead, it is your dance partner that leads you in every step, twist, and turn that you take.
The gentleman in the pairing has to have a plan for the dance in mind, and it is their job to execute said plan by gently leading you, one step and squeeze of the hand at a time.
As the follower, if you try to anticipate the step or move that is coming next, you can almost guarantee that you will screw something up. You might step on your partner’s foot or maybe you’ll just trip both of you up… Either way it’s awkward and the only thing you can really do is apologize, try to get your rhythm back, and dance on.
As I was being twirled and whipped around the dance floor last Sunday night, by a partner far more experienced that I, I couldn’t help but see the similarities between swing dancing and my walk with God.
I tend to get too far into my own head while God is twirling me through life and whenever possible, I try to anticipate the next step in our dance together.
Then, lo and behold, I somehow screw up the dance every stinkin’ time with my anticipation and tendency to try to lead.
Always trying to anticipate God’s next move not only makes our dance a bit more clunky, but it makes it nearly impossible for me to enjoy what is happening here and now. I trap myself in the anticipation of what is coming next and struggle to see all of the beautiful things that He is doing in my life in that moment.
As an independent, mildly stubborn, day-dreamer and “go-er”, I’m always pumped about what God is going to do, where He is going to take me, what the next step is going to look like… and I don’t necessarily think that any of those qualities or thoughts are bad in and of themselves.
But as one of my beloved friends recently pointed out to me, my anticipation becomes a hindrance when I begin to miss out on what God is doing here, today because my eyes are always focused on tomorrow or the day after that.
It’s no great secret that I’m sort of in a season of transition right now. Being technically homeless, single, and relatively underemployed isn’t exactly where I want to be for the rest of my life (Shocking, I know.) and therefore some days it is hard not to look expectantly at the future.
I have full confidence that this is simply a season, and just like in swing dancing, God is teaching me to be present where I am and cherish this season, instead of trying to rush our dance by taking the next step on my own.
So while I royally suck at seasons of rest, I have realized that this summer is beautiful for a multitude of reasons:
Since I’m not working full-time or living in Vail like I had planned to for the summer, I get to nanny this absolutely precious little cupcake and continue deepening my friendship with her momma on a daily basis.
Because I’m single, my priority for relationships gets to be in deepening my relationship with God through our morning coffee dates and singing worship songs at the top of my lungs in my car all afternoon.
Since I’m nomadic, I have the opportunity to travel where ever He takes me. In just the first three weeks of summer, I’ve been able to go home to southern Colorado, to camp with my students, backpacking with friends, and I leave for Alaska in less than two weeks to volunteer at a summer camp there for a week.
This season is beautiful simply because it has been given to me by God. Period. Not just because it is leading me to something else.
God knew that I needed rest. He knew that I needed to be here near my family for the summer. He knew that I was struggling with being present… and therefore He is placing me in a season of quiet where I can learn to do nothing but look at Him, take a deep breath, and smile.
So, with that being said, I am laying here on a park bench by Sloan’s Lake, watching the boats sway in the harbor, learning to do nothing but lay here, on a park bench, and watch the boats sway in the harbor because this is exactly where God has put me for the summer, and it is magnificent.
Are you a sucky follower in swing dancing or just in life in general? An over-ambitious go-er struggling to be present? Let’s have coffee & form a support group.
“The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.
He makes me lie down in green pastures.
He leads me beside still waters
He restores my soul.
He leads me in paths of righteousness
for his name’s sake.
Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil,
for you are with me;
your rod and your staff,
they comfort me.
You prepare a table before me
in the presence of my enemies;
you anoint my head with oil;
my cup overflows.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me
all the days of my life,
and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord
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