One of my wife’s favorite movies is “Footloose”. It’s a cheesy early ’80’s film starring Kevin Bacon. I watched it with her once. It was all right I guess…ok that’s a lie. I would rather watch “Dances with Wolves” than see that movie again. Basically, you have Kevin Bacon and a bunch of no-name actors, wearing ridiculously tight pants, dancing little jigs here and there. Hey, if you like it, more power to you. I don’t consider myself a very good dancer. I mean I can keep a beat and all, but when it comes to taking that beat and making your body gyrate to it, (there’s a nice mental image for ya) well, that’s another story! I’ve seen the show “So You Think You Can Dance” and those guys can dance. They can take nothing and turn it into something! I heard a quote that says: “dance like no one else is watching.” I like that quote! Too many times we get overly concerned with what “people” will think–to the point that we never really find out if we can dance or not. We get paralyzed by fear…fear of failure or of humiliation. We tell ourselves it’s better to play it safe than to dance. One thing I’ve observed is you can’t dance without music; you need something to carry the beat. Whether it’s you humming softly to yourself or if it’s cranking up the sound system and jamming out: dance needs music.
I’ve learned that life is one big dance. Sometimes you lead; sometimes you follow…that’s a song, but so true! Our music is our joy in life. Sometimes we don’t hear the music because we have no joy. Sometimes others come and try to take our music because they don’t have any of their own. There are people that live their whole lives not hearing a single note. They think their music lies in money, success, power or in climbing the social ladder. They believe once they reach the top rung of that ladder they will finally be able to enjoy the music. The sad thing is, when they get there they don’t hear a thing. Not everything in life is great, but it’s the joy we find within those circumstances that keeps our music playing and, more importantly, keeps us dancing. Why do we let circumstances, people, fears and countless other things, hold us back from dancing the dance God has created us for? How often do we lie to ourselves saying, “well this is just what I have to do.” We grow up, have a dream, go to school, are told to stop dreaming; we come back to reality, graduate from school, go to more school, get a job we never wanted so we can pay off the school we never wanted to attend; we get married, have kids, get a house we can’t pay for, work 30 plus years, all the while being miserable trying to find security financially so when we’re old and gray we can retire being bitter at the world for making us bitter, old and gray! Whew! When it’s laid out like that it seems really bad! Yet, I think not reaching our full potential and not fulfilling the purpose God has for us–that’s what is really bad. We are people of excuses! We have one for everything and what’s crazy is we convince ourselves that our “excuses” are legit. I love when I see people who defy all odds. I have a Rocky poster that reads “His whole life was a million to one shot!” Those kind of people learn to play their own music and they dance to a different beat. It’s a beat that makes “normal” people feel nervous because it’s a beat that’s not safe; a beat that’s risky.
I was in Barnes and Noble the other day. I was reading in the cafe area because as I was running for one of those precious few comfy chairs, a lady whisked in and took it from me! I had to laugh at the whole thing. Even if I did beat her to it what would I have said, “sorry lady, ya snooze ya loose!” Yeah right! So I went to the cafe area. As I was reading my book, out of the corner of my eye I saw a lady sit down. She appeared to have her arms tucked into her shirt, like she was cold or something, but as I looked closer I realized she didn’t have any arms. I’m serious there was nothing there! The lady from the cafe brought her a danish and a drink. I truly didn’t want to stare, but I was wondering how in the world she was going to eat her danish and drink her fancy drink! I watched as she took her foot and wrapped her toes around a straw, peeled off the paper and put the straw in her drink! She then picked up her fork with her toes, and began to eat her danish! I was so amazed by what she had done I almost yelled out, “Yes! That’s awesome!” I caught myself and realized that probably wouldn’t be the best thing to do. Yet, I was so humbled by this woman. Here she was living her life to the fullest. I felt like God said to me “so what’s your excuse.”
My mother-in-law is one of my heroes. She’s going on (this is where I know to not insert her age because I want to live to see 50). Most of her life she has worked on staff at a church handling all the bookkeeping and administrative work (stuff that would drive me crazy). She is very good at it, too. She’s always been a leader; it seems to just come naturally to her. She’s also an entrepreneur! She wouldn’t say that, but she is. She’s always had a desire to have her own business. She never really shared this desire with anyone, but one day she just decided she was gonna do it! She went to school to learn how to do nails with the intention of eventually opening up her own nail salon. She had no clue what was going to happen when she stepped out on the dance floor–all she new was she needed a change in her music because the dance was getting old. She put in her notice at her “safe” job and now works full time doing nails and is happier than ever! The point is, if you’re not happy with the music playing in your life–change it. If you don’t like the dance you’ve been dancing, learn a new one. You’ll probably fail a few times, you might even embarrass yourself, but you know what, you will find your dance. Even when people say “I told you so” and “it can’t be done” recognize that they are people without music, content to just sit on the sidelines watching you play!
A few years ago when I stepped out to do Elevate, it seemed there were people lining up at the door telling me it couldn’t be done. I remember one pastor in particular saying, “you can’t do this, who do you think you are? Take a youth pastor position and work your way up.” What he was really saying was, “play it safe, don’t take risks, I know because I’ve tried and I failed.” I feel sorry for people like that. I remember when I was praying about stepping out in faith to do the ministry that I do now. I asked God what He wanted me to do and He said, “Jason if you stay right where you are I’ll bless it, but one day I’ll show you what you could have done if you would have had more faith.” I’ll never forget that! It gave me chills. That’s my biggest fear, arriving in heaven, Jesus looking at me and saying, “well done my good and faithful servant” then adding “but this is what you could have done if you would have had more faith.”
Life’s a dance; it’s up to us to choose the music and live our lives to the fullest, taking risks and stepping out in faith. Don’t expect it to make sense all at once, you have to practice a dance to get it down. Don’t expect it to be easy, if it were, more people would be dancing. Know this: God will honor your faith! Dance your heart out!! Dream big, dream the impossible. Live your life! I promise you’ll never be happier!