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.
Philippians 4:7-8 are perfect verses for Advent because they set my mind and heart in the right direction and promise peace when I dwell where God wants me to dwell. My mind wanders toward worry far too much of the time, but these verses center my heart and mind and fill me with peace.
“Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things.” NASB
Here are the words from verse eight found in various translations. I find that when I dwell on things which are
I find myself filled with the peace promised in verse seven.
“And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:7 NASB
Advent is a beautiful season meant to focus my heart and mind upon Christ’s return. I can think of no better way to prepare for that wonderful day than keeping my heart and mind fixed upon those things in verse eight so I can dwell in the peace promised in verse seven.
What goes up, must come down when it comes to both gravity and my heart. I was reminded this week that the heart and the hypothalamus gland have much in common. The hypothalamus controls body temperature, hunger, thirst, fatigue, sleep, circadian rhythms and more. There is a delicate balance in the gland that must be maintained. Envision a straight line being the perfect balance for the gland’s function. If I take a stimulant such as caffeine, the line will go up – think of a seismograph. In order to get back to that place of balance, the line must go down in equal proportion to the stimulation. What goes up…must come down before getting back into balance. It forms the basis for addiction and is one of the most important glands in our body.
Love is a lot like that hypothalamus gland. It affects body temperature, hunger, thirst, fatigue, sleep, rhythm, and much more. A high is followed by a low that is equal in proportion to that high. What goes up, must come down. The trick with both the heart and the hypothalamus gland is to find and stay in a place of balance. The Holy Spirit’s peace passes understanding and is that line for me. When I am in God’s presence, His peace fills me as nothing else can. Balance comes to my heart there, and I want to stay forever.
The trouble is life happens, and that causes the ups and downs that are inevitable as I love my way through this incredible journey we call life. When I’m in heaven, I’ll be in that state of sweet peace forever. Until then, I’m learning to ride out the waves on that seismograph and stay as close to the center as I possibly can. I wander off the path when it comes to my heart and my hypothalamus gland, and that gets me out of God’s rhythm. It’s so tempting to grab for a sweet treat and feel the high it provides for a moment, but the corresponding crash brings me down to earth and reminds me to be careful.
The great news is that God created both my heart and my hypothalamus gland to auto-correct unless damaged or broken. A healthy heart and a healthy hypothalamus gland come from taking the time to make good decisions that will keep both on the path that leads to peace. I’m human and like those sugary treats, but as I get older, I’m learning that peace is the ultimate high. It’s not exactly physics, and it sure isn’t rocket science because I know better than to mess with the sweet balance God provides for both my heart and my body when I take His advice 🙂