They had ballroom danced together in college; we had never danced any kind of ballroom. I was hesitant, so our neighbor (the husband - with his wife's blessing) danced with me to show me how "easy" it was - and it truly was easy with him leading. It caught me off guard a bit how he led me around the floor firmly and confidently executing each move and yet, although firm; it was not forceful.
It was simple to follow his lead and as we glided across the floor, I actually thought I was a better ballroom dancer than I had originally imagined...until the song was over and I danced with my husband (who had also never danced that way and had no clue of how to lead the dance.)
I resisted my husband's attempt to lead at first because I thought he was "doing it wrong." Which only complicated our lack of coordination and left us less then joyful with one another. Our neighbor (who I'm quite sure noticed the tension building) instructed that I just needed to relax and follow. "Trust his lead." She said. "Even if he doesn't do it completely right; just let him lead."
I'm sure we weren't awesome; but we were able to feel like we were dancing gracefully when I stopped resisting and simply followed my husband's lead. The irony; he became more confident in his own lead as I submitted and as he showed more confidence; I respected his lead more. It was humbling and such a powerful lesson for me even then as I reflected on how it related to our relationship as husband and wife.
"Trust His lead. Even if he doesn't do it completely right; just let him lead."
Last week my friend, Daveda blogged about a portion of the "Because of Jesus" Conference that she attended and in it, she mentioned how one of the speakers shared an example similar to my above experience (You can read her entire post, It's Not About Me, here.)
All of these years, I have never made the correlation of my ballroom dance experience to my walk with the Lord. Reading Daveda's post, it hit me in such a beautiful new way. The best part? God DOES know how to lead and He will ALWAYS do it completely right.
Yet here I (often) am; the dance partner that has experienced a little success (most likely by His hand in moments when I was walking in humility and allowing Him to lead), resisting His turns and movements. Why? As my Dad often said, "It's normally three things that stop a Christian from living the life God has for them. Lust of the eyes, lust of the flesh, and the pride of life." Basically, we (I) get distracted by things that we want, desire, tell ourselves that we need, and we're worried about what other people are going to think about us. We take our eyes off of God and His perfect will and put them on ourselves. But as Daveda so beautifully put it, "It's not about me" (us).
I'm still contemplating the depths of the symbolism in both relationships. But I want to encourage you to dance today! With your spouse and with your Heavenly Father.
"Wives, understand and support your husbands in ways that show your support for Christ. The husband provides leadership to his wife the way Christ does to his church, not by domineering but by cherishing. So just as the church submits to Christ as he exercises such leadership, wives should likewise submit to their husbands.
Husbands, go all out in your love for your wives, exactly as Christ did for the church—a love marked by giving, not getting. Christ's love makes the church whole. His words evoke her beauty. Everything he does and says is designed to bring the best out of her, dressing her in dazzling white silk, radiant with holiness. And that is how husbands ought to love their wives. They're really doing themselves a favor—since they're already "one" in marriage." Ephesians 5:22-28 (The Message)
"The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not be in want.
He makes me lie down in green pastures,
he leads me beside quiet waters,
he restores my soul.
He guides me in paths of righteousness
for his name's sake. Psalm 23:1-3 (NIV)
*For my male readers...I apologize if "dancing with God" isn't a great analogy for you...I'm sure my own husband could relate a bit better to God being his "trail guide" out in the wilderness somewhere when he is without a compass of his own...having to trust someone else to lead him in the correct direction.* : )