We went swing dancing last night. Lots of fun. We had a group of 11 friends together so everyone got a chance to dance with each other (and a few strangers as well) in a very friendly, fun, and encouraging environment. Plus, there was a live band playing so that brought a great vibe into the room. There were some really good dancers there, and there were some people who were trying the swing dance scene for the first time. It is always a bit awkward when you are learning a social skill like dancing. You watch people kick and twirl and jive with grace all around you, and yet, it is all you can do to set your feet down on the right beat. It can be discouraging.
I have had about 6 dance lessons in my life, so I am getting pretty comfortable with moving around and following someone, even if I don't know all the steps. The important things for me are to be relaxed, bring some fun to every dance, pay attention to the cues given by my partner, and don't be afraid to try something and make mistakes. Some of the funnest times I had last night came when we made some mistakes and just went with it. Don't stop. I am also learning to be a better follower. My job is to make the guy look good, no matter what his level of confidence and skill.
I was reading Luke 1 today. It is the story of a young girl, an unknown person in a forgotten nation, and how God picks her out of obscurity and changes her life forever. Being a last child, I sometimes struggle with being overlooked and feeling forgotten. I want to be picked. I want someone to come over and say, "Hey, will you dance with me?" As I was reading this story about Mary, I wondered how God does it. How does he pick one person out of many and remain a just God? What if I was standing next to Mary and BAM, I saw God pick her and not me?
The flaw in this thinking is that I am trying to funnel all the world events through the narrow channel of how it affects me. So self-centred. Ugh. God is very aware of my needs, but in wisdom, he focuses on how I fit into the bigger picture, not how the bigger picture must be squeezed into the confines of my life. We are all neglected and forgotten in certain areas of our lives. It happens. The tragedy is not that it happens, nor that some are rescued out of obscurity while I remain on the sidelines. The tragedy is that I insist on staying on the sidelines, naming my lack of skill and my abundance of insecurity as excuses.
We are all Mary. God wants to plant his seed of life into all of us, no experience necessary. He wants the nature of Jesus to grow in us, to become mature and fruitful in us, and to surprise the world with its beauty and it ability to bring wholeness. The place where we feel overlooked and inadequate is the very place that God's spirit comes and offers us a chance to embrace the divine spark of life, because it is in this very place that we need it the most. And it is also in this very place that the most fertile environment can be found, free of ambition and self-effort. It is always our response to his loving initiative and the embrace of his life that produces the most amazing results, not our attempts to get him to super-charge our meagre accomplishments. For you see, nothing is impossible with God.
Yes, I see. I am ready to step onto the dance floor and follow. And the goal is to make my partner look good!
This is a picture of me dancing on the stairs of my house. Woohoo!