- Lusi Austin
THE DISCIPLESHIP DANCE
There's a dance of faith I've been doing with my friend Yeshua (the Hebrew name for Jesus) for more than 2 decades now. It is a gentle dance of the soul. It is a relationship where we go to and fro, backwards and forwards. I'm in His embrace and mostly, He takes the lead. Sometimes I let go of His hand and try and remember the steps by myself but it's never really as smooth as when we are moving in sync together. Sometimes I lean right into Him and He gives me a twirl and the whole world feels as if it stands still while I'm caught in His arms. Other times I am watching others dance with my Partner while I sit and sulk in the grandstand arms folded, refusing stubbornly to participate.
The discipleship dance has been one that He invited me to. I wasn't forced or coerced. It was a consensual choice, one I made as an adult. In an attempt to find meaning, purpose, truth and ultimately peace, I wandered far and wide to satisfy the needs of my soul, spirt and flesh. He held out His hand and I refused at first to take it. He waited patiently, always making it known that He would happily fill my dance card in one move if I wanted Him to but I was reluctant. I wanted other dance partners first, partners I was sure were more fun and worthy of my attentions. He waited patiently. He heard the words I wasn't willing to utter, the things I couldn't bear to face before I could bring them out into the open. And He still wanted me. The dance at first started as a wrestle. There were jerky moves, forced learned words and artificial steps. He didn't want me to settle for that but he was ok with how long I was taking, how cautious I was being. He wanted me to be wholeheartedly involved in the dance with Him but He was not forceful. He sent along friends who loved me through the shift in my routines. I was used to one dance but as He was teaching me another, my friends helped me learn the new steps. And they weren't steps based just purely on practice. The dance often felt experimental, involving my whole body. Arms and legs sometimes flailing, my heart racing and my spirit looking like some abstract artwork - all colour but lacking substance. What was the point of the discipleship dance? Why was He bothering with me? I was broken and had wounds and injuries that should have put me out of action forever. I would need splints at times and maybe even crutches to lean on. Didn't that make me useless? I was never going to be the most beautiful dancer or even the most confident but He assured me I was fine just as I was. I really wasn't convinced but each time I asked Him or at least whinged about my worries, He just kept on reassuring me that He had prepared me to dance with Him. And so step by step we did. We danced the dance of the ups and downs of life. We danced through the slow dance of disappointments and hurt. We danced the faster more exciting dances of joyful seasons and celebrations. He twirled me round and round as I stretched my arm out and felt the air rush against my cheek. He pulled me in close again as I danced the steps of sorrow and mourning, of rejection and misunderstanding. We worked our way up to a smooth but wonderful two-step where we just knew the moves were right. It brought me peace. I felt truly content.
It didn't matter where we danced or who was near, I held my peace if I kept my eyes on Him.
This Ultimate Dance Partner of mine was selfless and generous with His time and presence. I never felt like I was too much for Him. He didn't mock my choices, my style, my rehearsals. He wanted me as an involved Partner and when I was really with Him, everything fell into place, even if it wasn't always smooth. Sometimes I was let down by others but it didn't matter. Sometimes the dance hall was double booked but that didn't matter either. Sometimes the consequences were heavy for not taking the routine seriously enough but in time I learned that my Dance Partner was forgiving over and over again, even when I had stepped on his toes.
I now encourage my children in their own discipleship dance.
I don't tell them all the moves, I lead them towards the One who is also willing to Partner with them if and when they are ready. I love watching and listening to them as they start to wrestle in their own jerky-movement based pieces with Him. I love seeing the ways in which He makes them smile as they see Him glide across the room of answered prayers and answered questions. I wait with them while they wait their turn and as they reach out to the Ultimate Dance Partner in faith and are enveloped by His love and kindness. The discipleship dance of faith has been a wonderful, joyful and challenging dance at times but one I'm so grateful to be doing. Lusi x This post was first shared on my THAT HOMESCHOOL LIFE BLOG in July 2021. It didn't really fit there and was actually the impetus for me thinking about beginning a blog that was separate for writing about other things. It was really the catalyst for the start of this blog x