Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Faith Dancing -- Gibson

“It’s time to get your faith dancing,” croons gospel singer Sandi Patty.

I’m sure she means the good days, when you live up to what you say you believe, and know you’d die for the same. When you sit slow at Jesus’ feet, and stand up fast for what you know is right. When you stay silent in the face of accusers, and speak up in the face of wrong. When you love the things God loves. Hate the things he hates. When you wake, stirred up to serve and fall into bed at night, thinking, “God and I were SO GOOD today.”

On those days, the music of life rings sweet, and the dance of faith feels graceful.

I’ve had some days like that. One, at least. I think I marked it on the calendar. I’ve had plenty more when it seems I can barely take a single step without messing up. When my walk of faith feels less like a dance than a series of bumbling missteps in all directions. Like trying to perform ballet while wearing clogs.

Then I have a father memory, and I remember what to do...

Years ago, I tried to show my visiting elderly dad a polka step I was learning for the musical production, Oklahoma.  I’d taken only a few steps when Dad grinned and cleared his throat. “That’s not the polka,” he said. His feet tapped the floor in front of his chair, demonstrating steps they hadn’t taken in a half-century, not since his youth. He was the most sought-after dancer on the barn dance circuit before his love for dancing out his faith overshadowed his passion for dancing a fine reel.

“You put this foot here, and that foot there, and your rhythm is all wrong—ya’ don’t do it so fast.”

I started over. A one, two, three…and a  one, two…trip.

He chuckled and shook his head. “Nope. Still wrong.”

I tried again. Tripped over my feet again. Messed up the rhythm. He laughed harder.

“Daddy,” I said, frustrated. “Just get up and show me!”

He grinned a boyish grin, as though he’d been waiting for me to ask. Then he stood up, took me in his arms and led me. As I leaned into him, I began to catch the rhythm. The pattern began making sense. And in my father’s arms, the steps came not perfectly, but at least more naturally.

The dance of faith is best done like that. In our Heavenly Father’s embrace, moving to the Holy Spirit’s rhythm and following the steps of Jesus Christ. That doesn’t mean the dance doesn’t get messy; that toes won’t get stomped on and steps missed. Or that you won’t fall.

None of that means failure. Failure is refusing to get up, to listen for the music of the Spirit, to start again.

How goes your dance? Get up. Start over. Father God is longing for an invitation to lead.

Kathleen Gibson ponders faith and life in her books, columns, broadcasts, and articles.

The lady still can't polka.


Peter Black said...

A thoroughly enjoyable piece, Kathleen. Warm, relational and inspiring. ~~+~~

Diana said...

I love that story... of your father-memory. What a beautiful picture of God with us, helping us, leading us. Thank you, Kathleen

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