Why I love Dancing with the Stars

dancing with the starsYes, I admit, I watch Dancing with the Stars. There is something about watching a couple in synch moving about the floor, interacting with each other physically and emotionally, that is breathtaking. The man leading with care and grace and the woman following but very much her own person.

Every dance expresses emotion. It’s more than going through motions because when it is it’s not as beautiful to watch. There’s the much flaunted “musicality” where the dancers need to keep in step with the music and not get out of timing with it.

When it’s done right, it is beautiful. A well done dance can make you smile or cry.

I guess I see it as an illustration of marriage. First, it takes two partners equally committed to the steps of the dance. Second, it takes a listening to the music of the Holy Spirit as God guides the couple through the ups and downs, spins and turns of life. Third, it takes discipline. None of the dancers can do what they do if they are not committed and practice. The final dance seen on the show is only the result of the hard work done behind the scenes: sore muscles, fights and tears, trips and falls, but the couple completely committed to following through – together.

A dance is not beautiful when one partner fails to practice, or doesn’t care, refuses to listen to the music or doesn’t even show up to the floor. Those dancers don’t stay on the show long. The other partner can dance 100% but if the slacker is there it only highlights how poorly he or she is really doing. My heart often goes out to the professionals who had given it their all with a partner that just can’t get it—or won’t.

A marriage is the same. It looks “off” when one partner refuses to dance or even touch the other. Where there is only animosity. Life is not an unending pase doble.  Or when the partner walks off the floor but still calls them self part of the dancing team of two.

I’m not fond of all the skimpy costumes on the show, but I am fond of the romance of it, and the fun. I love the behind the scenes where you see how hard it is.  Winners though rarely complain, they just dig in and do the work and don’t waste time thinking about just how hard it is.  Losers however justify their failures with how hard it is. They become victims of the trial before them – a trial they chose.

I would love to dance in my marriage in time with a spouse to the beauty of the music of the Holy Spirit.  I dance alone and sometimes I resort to the whining about just how hard it is, especially without a partner to support and encourage and share the hardship and joy of the dance.

Yes, I’m still married, but my spouse has stepped off the dance floor and doesn’t care about how well I do. Still, I need to do my best, even if it’s a solo number, and give it as much dedication and passion as if I had that partner to share it with. I need to imagine that Jesus is that partner.

How about you? How are you doing in the dance of a difficult marriage?

Blessings,

Lilly Grace

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Accidental Living

I’ve had a few car accidents in my day and in every one I’ve suffered whiplash.  Other than the one that was my fault, they were unpreventable. The fact is, you can drive as carefully as possible, obey every rule of the road, and still end up an accident, because, well, they are accidents. In many of them, I was a victim.

But how many of us follow any kind of rule for life? We go about our days, we do what we need to do and react to people and events around us.  Sometimes those things are not preventable: cancer, death, losing a job.  Being a victim through all of life however doesn’t get us very far, does it?

Many companies have a mission and vision and goals. They use these things to evaluate where they invest time, money and resources (i.e. people). This can help a company be focused and hopefully, successful.

It hit me a few months back that I was not being proactive about my life. I was kind of reacting and not really getting anywhere. Now, I’m not a January 1, New Year’s Resolution kind of gal.  This past year I did choose a word for my year: Change. I had anticipated some major life events. Some happened (I lost thirty pounds and kept it off all year!), and others didn’t (we were supposed to move but didn’t and lost the house we had an offer on).

I had sat down to refocus my ministry goals and re-wrote all of them and really liked how they gave us direction and a sense of greater purpose.  Then it hit me: why not do that with my own life?  I wrote up a passion statement – a one or two sentences that describe the core of who I am. Then I followed it up with what I intended to do to live that out, each item having specific goals. I put this at the front of my journal so I could refer to it often.

So when opportunities come, I can evaluate them in terms of this passion and purpose statement. (mission and vision seems a bit odd for a personal thing). If I am going to commit to something, does that fit with my own stated purposes? If not, is it worth doing? For instance, I could be working on a novel right now, but my heart’s passion for ministry calls me to do the harder work of writing my non-fiction book and pursuing that with a bit more focus. The fiction will get its turn, but the non-fiction is more in line with my passion and purpose.

You don’t have to wait until January 1st to re-evaluate your life and put it on a more focused track. Being a victim of life however will leave you stuck at the at the starting gate. Can I suggest you pray about this and then put pen to paper and give it a try? When you are done, share it with a safe person – and then follow it as your road map into the future. If you sometimes feel like a victim of accidental circumstances, this can be the airbag and safety belt that keeps you from totally crashing and you may even feel empowered to reach higher than you thought possible for the dreams God has placed in your heart.

The dreams I have now are different than they were a few years ago because I’ve grown and changed and become aware of new strengths and a more refined calling of God in my life. New Year’s Resolution? Bah Humbug! Resolute and Intentional Living? Now that I can cheer for.

Blessings,

LGB