Keeping in Step

Since we are living by the Spirit, let us follow the Spirit’s leading in every part of our lives. 

— Galatians 5:25

He woke me up early. God did. I knew it was him because why else would I be awake an hour earlier than usual? My kid was still sleeping and I knew that was a gift in itself.

I sat down in the loveseat with a blanket over my knees, eyes closed, head filled with white noise of beating heart and faithful ticking clock.

The quiet soaked into me, mind and body still soft from sleep. A steaming cup of coffee stood by. Lord this time is a gift, help me to hear your voice and be attentive to your word. Show me your heart, God.

Presently my thoughts bumbled along, chasing dreams just awoken. My thoughts replayed a conversation with a friend who had begun taking ballet. I recalled my doctor’s instructions to begin getting more exercise, like walking. My mind’s eye swept up to the main road just above our neighborhood, the one I enjoy traversing because of the view of our town. The valley bellow leading to a far horizon of rolling wild grasses, untouched by progress. I imagined myself running along the upper road overlooking that view.

He set my feet on solid ground and steadied me as I walked along (Psalm 40:2b).

The lens of my vision shifted, and I stood posing at a ballet bar, feet in first position, knees dipping into a grand plie then releve en demi pointe. I jolted back to alertness, shaking off sleep. Folded hands prayed while ticking hands advanced.

My hand clasped the book on my lap. Walking fingers through pages to find my place I landed on words that danced off the page: 

“Stay on the high road with me…I have called you to walk ever so closely with me…What I require of you is to do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God [Micah 6:8]–wherever I lead.”
(Sarah Young, Jesus Calling)

I have heard it said that even all the good things can keep us from doing God things. So often we pull against his lead and try to step in our own way. But we can get so busy with striving to keep in step that we stumble over our own two feet. It’s not about what we do or don’t do so much as it is about the attitude of the heart.

For we walk by faith, not by sight (2 Corinthians 5:7).

In ballet, the position of the leg is important in preparing the body to move in a certain way. A leg in attitude is slightly bent at a particular angle. It displays beauty and form, posture and poise. Whereas a bent working leg may be ready to move the dancer into a graceful pirouette. So it is with the heart.

What is my heart’s attitude? Is my heart positioned to move wherever God leads? Am I ready to step into what he has prepared for me? Am I available to be used by God to love on my family? Or minister to others whom he brings into my path?

My little girl just completed another year of dance classes. At this level it is fun to see the kids learning to develop motor skills and discipline (like standing in one place for more than like 2 seconds). They learn about rhythm and movement and how to follow simple choreography. It is not about being precise–goodness, my little one can barely walk from point A to point B without ping-ponging off of everything–but it is about the sheer delight of the dance.

As I learn to tune-in to God’s gentle nudges, I must be willing to let go of control and trust him to take the lead. I must be able to relax my shoulders and take delight in his process. By stepping in with joy and thanksgiving I can say yesto God when he asks for my hand and allow him to sweep me into his choreography of grace.
My dreamlike prayer that early morning had been a vision of God’s purpose: to walk closely with him, trust him above all circumstances. And when exercising faith there’s walking and there’s dancing. Let him lead in this dance of faith and he will enable you to do beautiful things. 
For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them. –Ephesians 2:10

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