I’ve never been a good dancer. Numerous people have tried to teach me how to dance, such as my college rowing teammate who would work with me in the staircase of a middle school during our weekly volunteering program. She finally told me that of all the people she’s tried to teach how to dance, she’s never met anyone who dances as terribly as me. You should just see me try to shimmy.
But there’s always been something about music that makes my body want to move. Some people are horrible at dancing because they can’t find the beat. That’s not the case for me – I know how to find the beat (a little-known fact is that I was on my high school’s drumline) but the problem is that I never know what to do with it.
But this past month, something changed. Lately when I turn on worship music, I want to – no I have to – dance, sing, shout, twirl or jump to let the fire that I feel inside of me out. I’m no longer content with just swaying back and forth or raising my hands during worship. Like Jeremiah says – God’s word is in my heart like a fire, a fire shut up in my bones. I am weary of holding it in. Indeed, I cannot…
During our debrief last month, someone put a flag in my hand and it was like a hurricane let loose as I danced across the field. It wasn’t pretty, because I was still figuring out how to worship Jesus (eyes closed) and dance (eyes open) at the same time. My background in athletics has taught me that you must move your body a specific way: hold your hands exactly like this or place your feet like that. But the beautiful thing is that when you are dancing for Jesus, there’s no one right way to do it. You don’t have to worry about what anyone else thinks because you’re not dancing to gain approval from any other person. You’re just dancing for Jesus, who loves you for no other reason than that he loves you.
Last Sunday, at our church in Tiraspol, Transnistria, we had a surprise visit from people from the International House of Prayer based out of Kansas City, Missouri. They were traveling to pray and see where God might be leading them to start 24/7 prayer rooms around the world. Halfway through the service, one of the women pulled out some prayer flags and started dancing with them. I learned that her name was Megan, and she offered to let me borrow one for awhile. There was something about the silk flag in my hand that really just made me come alive. I prayed, “God, I’d really like to take it to Africa on the rest of our journey. Would you put it on her heart to give the flag to me?”
When the service ended, she came up to me and said, “I really think I’m supposed to give you this flag. It was my first flag that I made but I’d like to give it to you tonight so you can take it on the rest of your journey…” Isn’t that cool? She had named the flag “Royal Freedom,” which is fitting because I wrote a poem about the freedom we have in Christ a few weeks ago. She encouraged me to let the Holy Spirit teach me how to dance as we travel around the world.
The next morning, I took the flag out on the field near where we were staying, and started to worship my Jesus. After a few minutes, I looked up and felt sprinkles of rain tickling my skin. A rain cloud had come…it was the first rain since we arrived in Moldova three weeks earlier. The craziest thing is that it only rained in the area around our building, and then the clouds left.
A few days later, I went out and brought my prayer flag underneath our gazebo because it had been raining off and on all morning. I started dancing, and then a loud clap of thunder boomed, shaking the building that I stood on. I felt God was telling me that this is what happens in the spiritual realm when we worship Him – worship is warfare; it battles against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realm. That reminded me of something that happened last month – our squad leader Rachel asked me to pray for her that she would be able to worship Christ freely. As I prayed, God showed me a picture that is a bit hard to describe – it was like these warrior tinkerbell people tumbling and flitting all around. I tried to describe it to Rachel, and told her she should try to dance like them on the field. After a moment, she stopped. It wasn’t right. I prayed about it, then God told me that what I was seeing is what happens in the spiritual realm when we worship Him. His angels get sent to dance around and fight against the darkness. God inhabits the praises of his people (Psalm 22:3) and in His presence the enemy must flee. We can be confident that whatever we do to worship – whether it be dancing, singing, shouting, or simply sitting – it taps into an immense power source beyond human understanding. The power doesn’t come from the manner in which we worship, but rather from the name in which we sing, the name of our king Jesus, who is above every other name in heaven and on earth.
Did you know that the word “rejoice” in the bible means a lot more than being happy? It actually corresponds to the Greek words “gul” or “agalliao.” Agalliao means “to jump for joy: to exult; to rejoice” and the word “gul” means to spin around under the influence of a violent emotion. The cool thing is that spinning and leaping are two of my favorite moves I like to do when I’m dancing :- )
Sometimes we go to church and worship God based on what everyone else is doing. But have you ever stopped to ask God how He wants you to worship? Now here’s a challenge: – Would you dare to ask God right now how He would have you worship? Jesus might be inviting you to dance with him…