This week I watched the new movie La La Land in theaters. It was beautiful all around, from the music, the cinematography, the story-- what caught my eye most was the choreography. I fell in love with every step, my heart aching for when I would do much of those steps myself. In high school, I had the opportunity to ballroom dance. I took lessons weekly and went to balls at the end of each semester. I have several ball gowns still, and too many pairs of white gloves for a millennial. I learned to cha cha, swing, reel, foxtrot, and waltz, naturally my favorite. With a gentle adjustment of angles two can send this boxy dance into a swirl of fairies. I hope I never forget how my tulle ballgown turned into a blur of blush when that simple time signature played.
Some of you might be surprised that I ballroom danced, not because I'm not as whimsical as a frolicking deer, but because unlike said deer, I'm rather clumsy. I'm convinced that my tall frame and high center of gravity is my downfall-- literally. Despite adoring dance, I wasn't the best at it. I had the steps memorized and the rhythm down, but execution wasn't always perfect. There was one time where I actually just fell over during the lesson. I pushed my skirt down and popped back up, my partner was in tears because he was laughing so hard.
But my mediocre dance skills and lack of grace were no match for a strong leader. In ballroom, much like marriage, the man does the leading. There was one partner that I had who was good. He could almost lead me beside still waters for his name's sake-- but not quite. He would say, "watch this" with a smirk and lead me into an intricate flow of steps: right, back, spin, promenade, spin, opened box, and back into the flow of clockwise dancers. Sometimes, it wasn't that easy, my volition would cut in and try to lead. My partner would shake my guide hand in the same way you would smack a sharp object from a child and say, "Stop that! Let me lead, please!" It wasn't just that I was a miserable dancer on my own, I wasn't equipped to lead. When I would attempt to take over, one or both of us would then make a mistake, but with him in the lead, everything went smoothly, his grace covering me.
Doesn't that sound familiar? Do you ever feel like everything goes worse when you try to take over instead of submitting yourself to the leadership of Christ? I sure do. No matter how many right answers or steps I have memorized, without Jesus as the Lord of my life, its going to be disaster and I will be the one to fall-- even if that's what I was attempting to avoid. James gives us a picture of this in his ever so practical book in 4:7
"Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you."
When we put ourselves under the authority of God, even if we misstep, he's still holding onto us, fighting off the forces of darkness with every waltz towards holiness. The righteousness of God is like the perfect dance partner, one who leads without failure, the one who teaches new steps, one who guides away from people and things that get in the way of a perfect waltz. Surrendering yourself to the goodness of our God keeps us from trying to take over and ultimately failing. I imagine my spirit, when it is invested in Jesus my Lord, much like I was the night of that Christmas ball, my tulle ballgown turning into a blur of blush as joy took the form of 3/4 time.
Sometimes all we need is just a little waltz with Jesus to make the spinning chaos of sin into a grace-filled, graceful surrender.