The dance of ever increasing intimacy with God
The vitality of our relationship with God is the foundation upon true worship in movement dance rests and is expressed. A worship dancer with an unhealed heart may dance a beautiful dance, but her dance may be resting upon a foundation characterized by competition, jealousy, and a longing for the approval of others. It is fine to start off doing worship dance on this kind of foundation for we have to start somewhere. It is not alright to continue on that foundation. If we want to experience a greater freedom in dance and a deeper intimacy with Him, then we have to CHOOSE to go deeper into Him. He has done his part. He waits for us to respond. We must, by a deliberate act of our will, chase after our Healer and Lover. He promises that He will reward those who eagerly seek Him. Over time and through many storms, our worship dance slowly shifts from a performance, for others, to dancing purely for the pleasure and love or our Heavenly Father.
On May 3, 1999 a tornado called “The Big One” touched down on Oklahoma soil laying flat everything in its path. Few people were prepared for it. Some just sat and watched in on TV never believing it would be arriving at their doorstep that very hour. When it came all they could do was climb under a bed, into a bathtub, or lay in the closest ditch. Only a few had built storm shelters in the ground and were able to find safety there. Although the wind howled like a freight train overhead, those few were secure below in the shelter. In Psalm 91, that place is called the “secret place”.
But how to we find that secret place in God? How do we deepen our relationship with a God who can seem so far away midst all the distractions and responsibilities that are part of our every day life. Should we give more time to reading our Bible, pray harder and longer, and go to church more often. The mere thought of having to add even more to our busy schedule can overwhelm us. Who has the time? In the end we can end up going through these spiritual disciplines but still seem to get nowhere closer to our Father in Heaven.
It was in the storm that people ran for refuge and it is in the storms of your life that open up doors of opportunity for you to “experience” the love of Your Heavenly Father. It is in the lonely, anxious, hurtful, discouraging times that we are more inclined to pursue God with pure desperation. We are living from our heart at this point. In Psalm 62:8 it says, “Have faith in Him in all circumstances dear people. Open your heart to Him, the true God shelters us in His arms”. (The Voice)
However, the storms that blow into our lives don’t always drive us into the arms of the Father. If we don’t prepare our hearts to trust God during the calm, then we will not instinctively cling to God during the heart times. We will be caught off guard like those people in the Oklahoma storm. Just like them, we will tend to cling to the closest thing we can find. That might be food, drugs, the approval of others, gossip, bitterness, etc.
When I first began worshipping in dance, I was a very wounded man. The approval of others was paramount to me. As I danced I would watch to see if others were watching me. I so wanted to be the center. People’s encouragement so blessed me. My dance deeply touched many. However one wrong word could fill me with rage or deep discouragement. I remember the time someone merely complained that my flags made too much noise. Another time, I was asked to not throw my flag in the air…something I loved to do. Or there was the time church leadership shut me down because some in the congregation were drawn to my worship in dance and the pastor felt I was having too much influence beyond his control. In such times I wanted to put down my flag and never dance again. Yet it was in those times that God’s compassion would descend on me and through others, scripture, and His voice speaking into my heart, I would get up and dance again.
Slowly but surely God’s love for me became my shelter and not the approval of others. Years later, I was dancing in a church and an usher came up to me and told me that my dance was a distraction to the worship service. I felt no anger, but simply did what was asked of me and that was to go back to my seat. Our Heavenly Father has become my refuge so now when the storms come, I am safe, loved, and hidden in that secret place in Him.
Get alone with the Lover of Your soul, the One who knows and cares about what You are going though, thinking and feeling…to the smallest detail. Pour out your heart to Him about everything. You will discover the secret place Him and there you will dance! There in His embrace, He will kiss your tears, pour ointment over your heart, and call you His child. Slowly but surely you will stand up tall and know that you are deeply loved by Him. Then you will dance with abandonment…even if you’re told to do it sitting down in your seat.