The seat I gravitate to in my church normally winds up being near front and center — a row or two behind the reserved front row where the lead pastors are perched. A few years ago, you would find me sitting in the back, tucked away in the corner, hands clasped together, maybe with my head bowed down, pretending I was in prayer, rather than in worship. Nowadays, worship is the fuel to my heart and soul. You will find my arms raised, singing at the top of my lungs, head tilted to the ceiling, maybe even shouting a “hallelujah” or two in between choruses.
Just when I thought my worship was in the right place with God, at one particular service, a red-haired woman in the next section over, caught my attention. She positioned herself several feet in front of her chair, eyes closed, head tilted, arms lifted high, flowing left to right, right to left. Her feet followed her, rhythmically flowing to the beat and melody of the music. If dance was a form of sign language, she was speaking to the Holy Spirit through fluid, spacious movements. I was mesmerized not by her dancing, but her confidence. I’d peek over her way, and it seemed she did not have a professional background in dance, but she offered a seasoned practice in her worship with God. I was willing to bet if my church had room for background dancers on stage, she would be set up perfectly.
My spirit sunk as I continued watching this woman, I heard the Lord say, “When was the last time you danced with me?” These words struck a chord, as I envision the words in bold, “…dance with me” and not necessarily “dance for me.”
My first thought was “Lord, in front of ALL these people?” My body wanted to inch out of my row, but it was stiff. Within moments, I suddenly found myself in my own comfort zone of worship. I was more concerned with the thought of embarrassing myself, than moving into deeper intimacy with my Father. I desired to be in that place, but jealousy grew as I continued watching this red-haired woman, I felt like Michal in 1 Chronicles 15:29:
“And as the ark of the covenant of the Lord came to the city of David, Michal the daughter of Saul looked out of the window and saw King David dancing and rejoicing, and she despised him in her heart.”
This red-haired woman possibly one upped me when it came to worship and frankly, I was left jealous. I wanted more, yet I was unwilling to budge. I quickly asked the Lord to forgive my jealous, comparing heart and prayed for boldness and courage. Maybe it did not have to be at that specific point in time where I dance with the Lord. Maybe it could start in the privacy of my living room.
See, dancing requires another level of effort the Lord wanted from me. It requires dropping everything at hand and fully embracing His presence. Singing, on the other hand, can be multi-tasked while chopping onions in the kitchen, or folding laundry in the bedroom. His face beamed down as I acknowledged He is proud of even my small attempts to move closer to Him.
When the Holy Spirit tugs at your heart to make a bold move, remember, progress makes a difference. It doesn’t matter how small or large the leap, as long as it’s a leap. Whether it is inching closer to the front row, or raising your hands in worship. Maybe it’s going to church or bible study for the first time. That one inch move, is another inch closer.