Courage: In love with a God who gives me courage to dance through life's imperfect
Life is hard. It sometimes feels all uphill with no glimpse of green. And the truth is, the Bible tells us that we can’t expect a life without challenge. I’d be living in denial if I did not see that my hopes are going to be crushed a little at times, my feelings hurt a little, my faith challenged a little, or a lot. Yet, through it all, the God I love has promised to hold my hand. He promised to be my dance partner even when I convince myself that I do not need one. So, I will not simply cope with life, or settle for getting by. I will dance. When my legs are shaky and my spirits low, I will dance.
Recently, I’ve been challenged by suffering inflicted on some of my favourite people. Hurting that seems slow to ease, questions that appear slow to find answers. It’s not always easy and in response, the world often provides just two options:
1. Despair, freeze cold. Motionless.
2. Surrender. Cave and conform to the pressure. Abandon the inner calling to something far greater.
But surely to accept either of those would be to undermine the awe-inspiring power of the God I love. I alone may not be big enough to solve any of these problems, heal any of these scars, but He makes me brave. He calls me to a third option: His way. To dance with Him, through the strife, through the confusion, through the pain. To know that:
We’re invited to dance even when it seems ludicrous. In fact, especially when it seems ludicrous. Because Jesus was and is, radical. He loved lavishly who others saw as broken, He walked boldly where no man would even dare and His works were full of glory and yet His nature expounded humility. He defied the norms and He danced over the storms. And as Christians we believe He is so lawlessly alive. Surely, through Him, I can dance ludicrously. Free.
He took the shackles off my feet so I can dance.
Sometimes, it feels like those shaken shackles have somehow found their way back to my ankles. Life pulls from all directions and pushing through the days can feel a perpetual struggle. Yet God’s word says no. He paid the price for our freedom once and for all the day He sent His son to die. I’m no longer a slave, no prisoner nor captive.
Still, it seems at times that if I stay still long enough, believe the lies that tell me I am chained long enough, my ankles will feel only tighter still, the possibility of dancing seeming increasingly further out of reach.
God did not craft us to a life of awkward swaying, timid scuffling or fearful wobbling.
So when it feels like chains are tightening, I will remind myself of who is holding my hand. Who makes me fiercely free. And I’ll dance. Until, through His wildly real power, together we will be dancing circles around all my fears.
Naturally, dancing does not imply an ignorance of life’s trials, nor a denial of the difficulties that fall both in sprinkles and in torrents. Rather, having a God that holds my hand means being brave enough to confront it all, face to face. To realise that, alone, I am vulnerable to the lies that society whispers and shouts. The lies that dictate who I ought to be, what I ought to believe and how I ought to behave. It takes courage to say no to the gods that society expects us to serve: relationships, body image, money, success, power, popularity… It takes courage to deny them the right to determine our value and our purpose. Courage means standing firm in the promise that our worth comes from something so much greater. With Him, I can refuse to grant those lies the power to still my dance.
Truth is, even as I write these words, at times I feel that whisper, that crafty call to draw back; “You’re talking about God too much”, “You’re just not making any sense”, “Your words are not worth sharing”. But the God I love is worth making a song and dance about. And life, with all its trials and tribulations doesn’t stand a chance against this dance.