Those who know me, know I love to dance. I’ve always loved dancing and secretly dreamed of being a dancer when I was young. I love my Zumba classes because they satisfy my soul and allow me to be the dancer of my dreams for a few hours each week.
God always surprises me with His teaching methods, but this morning I had to laugh when He used the salsa to get my attention. So often, I take a step forward and immediately take one back. I step toward to the right and fall into the law, then shift to the left and find myself in the midst of license. As I was praying this morning about my frustration in going forward, stepping back, heading left, and then right, I heard salsa music. I was very serious about my situation, but God knew a little levity would lighten the load and get His point across effectively.
Salsa is my favorite dance. The Latin rhythms resonate with my heart, soul, spirit, and body. The side-to-side and front-to-back movements are very natural to me. God used those movements to teach an important lesson. He showed me that dancing is okay as long as I keep coming back to the center.
I have a friend who created an intersection model to describe where “the intervention of God meets the involvement of the person.” (John A. Tagliarini) God used his model to show me how my dance moves were as natural on the journey as they are on the dance floor. I’ve always seen the path God has in mind as a line, a street, a straight and narrow path stretching into the horizon. This morning, I realized the journey is more like dancing in the intersection. God’s intervention and human involvement meet beautifully in the intersection. It is where we find the image of God in our own hearts. Truth is found in the intersection. Christ is the heart of the intersection. The model helped me see that the Way isn’t a road; it is an intersection. I’m not expected to keep trudging along; I’m expected to find my way to the center and keep dancing!
I suppose I will dance around the intersection as long as I’m in this world, but I pray God will help me find and stay in the sweet center where Christ’s precious love enables me see myself and others as He does. The intersection is busy and messy, so it’s safer to find a place to hide in the corners far away from the center; but God knows that will never satisfy my heart. Salsa moves always come back to the center and so will the steps on my journey if I let God lead. God made it clear that He isn’t going to move from the center. If I want to dance with Him and love as Christ loves, I’ll have to get in the center too.
Matthew 1:18-25 describes the conception and birth of Jesus Christ. The beautiful story unfolds in our hearts today just as it did when these scriptures were written. May it be real in all our hearts today.
“Now the birth of Jesus Christ was as follows: when His mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child by the Holy Spirit. And Joseph her husband, being a righteous man and not wanting to disgrace her, planned to send her away secretly. But when he had considered this, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife; for the Child who has been conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit. She will bear a Son; and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.” Now all this took place to fulfill what was spoken by the Lord through the prophet: “Behold, the virgin shall be with child and shall bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel,” which translated means, “God with us.” And Joseph awoke from his sleep and did as the angel of the Lord commanded him, and took Mary as his wife, but kept her a virgin until she gave birth to a Son; and he called His name Jesus.” NASB
I want to share a powerful message with you that was shared with me last week. Here is “Immanuel And Company” by John Alden Tagliarini. I pray it blesses you as much as it blesses me. Merry Christmas!!
Immanuel And Company
Prayer is so much more than I ever imagined it to be. I’ve read many wonderful books about praying by those who have beautiful connections to God. My favorite is “If You Will Ask” by Oswald Chambers, but “The Only Necessary Thing” by Henri Nouwen also touches my heart as does his “Way of the Heart.” Christ is the perfect example of a praying life. He sits at His Father’s side and prays for me without ceasing. That’s a praying life. He was able to sleep peacefully during the storms He faced while here on earth. That’s a praying life. He lived and breathed prayer, and I am beginning to understand that such a praying life comes as the result of deep love and complete trust in God.
As I listened to the wind howling and tossing objects about last night, my spirit was at peace. I let God’s love wash over me and asked His Holy Spirit to be like that wind and take all from me that wasn’t what God desired. He helped me first name that which was keeping me from Him. Judgment, anger, frustration, and selfishness were taken in His mighty rushing presence. As the wind howled, I let go of resentment and past hurts. Love doesn’t keep an accounting of wrong doing were the words I heard clearly. I agreed and felt a warm sense of peace as the furnace came on and warm air brushed my face. I smiled to think of God’s presence in every moment. Praying brings me into that presence whether it is a howling wind or a soft warm breeze.
As I live and breathe in His Spirit, I will have the cold north wind knocking me over, but I will also have the sweet warm indwelling that takes me out of myself and into the path that leads to a praying life. Dr. Sophia Steibel helped me see the importance of having a praying life as opposed to a life of prayer. Love and prayer are things I talk about very often, but living them out in the way God desires changes me in a beautiful way. Irene Padgett showed me the sweet face of a praying life filled with intercession. Ann Voskamp reminds me that I can have a Christian lingo without having a Christian life. John Tagliarini is a dear friend and prayer partner who has nudged, picked up, dusted off, and helped me see the beautiful effects of a non anxious loving presence. He helps me walk in God’s kingdom now. I thank God each day for those He places in my path to help me draw nearer to Him. Hand-in-hand is the way to walk in God’s kingdom, and the path is best traveled together.
Here’s John’s message on a praying life. I pray it blesses you as much as it blesses me:)
“A Praying Life” Dr. John Alden Tagliarini