Sweat plastered my face and my cowboy hat threatened to slide down over my eyes. I punched out kick-ball-changes and pumped my arms to the hypnotic beat. The stage lights stared me down like an interrogation. My heart pounded in my temples, my fingers, my chest. I don’t remember breathing the entire three minutes that I was on stage. I confidently shook my hips and worked the crowd with twelve other girls dressed in the same plaid shirts and too-big, one-size-doesn’t-fit-all, white cowboy hats. I was fully alive and fully uncontainable. I licked my parched lips and tasted the salt of sweat. I heard the beat of the too familiar song, but I didn’t listen to it, I danced it. I was pleased to find that my body moved in perfect harmony with the music and the other dancers. We danced in perfect formation on the creaky, dark stage. I caught a glimpse of the spellbound audience, eyebrows raised, lips formed into a breathless “O,” but I didn’t really see them. The dance, the movement, consumed me and for three whole minutes I was totally free. My doubts, fears, and insecurities vanished. I danced who I was, but most importantly, I danced who I wanted to be.
God has a way of speaking to me through visions—not visions I see, but visions others see and boldly share with me.
The visions have ranged from strange to cheesy to downright disturbing. I’ve been lucky enough to be given the visions with a caveat: if it doesn’t resonate or sound like God, then don’t worry about it. And I haven’t.
Amidst the generic and the platitudnal (is that even word?), I’ve been told phrases that speak straight into my soul. Even writing about it sounds too lavish, too over the top, but sometimes God reveals a vision or a word or an encouragement to others just for me.
Like the one I received a few months ago. A woman from church had a vision of me dancing. She felt like God had a message just for me.
“Lead like you dance,” she said to me.
Say that to anyone else and it may sound cheesy, hokey, or downright terrifying. For a lot of people, dancing is a source of panic, anxiety, and fear of looking stupid (just ask my ex-boyfriends). But for me, dancing is one of the only times I don’t feel stupid, when I don’t care about whether or not I’m doing it right. Dancing for me is pure joy, pure freedom.
“Now I’ve never seen you dance, but I get the sense that you know that you’re good,” she ventured.
Through the tears that betrayed my heart, I smiled and nodded. It was true. It is true. When I dance, I know that I’m good. Not in a conceited way, like I think I’m the shizz, but in a joyful way. In a way that I am so free and filled with joy, that I know the act itself is good. God created me to dance, and it is good.
At the time she told me this, I was struggling with the idea of moving into leadership at church. I felt called to lead a book study on the topic of body image and eating disorders–me, a shy introvert who has never even had an eating disorder. What could God possibly want to do with me?
In the midst of my insecurities and second-guessing, God spoke to me through an image of a dancing girl.
God was calling me to step out in boldness and confidence and joy. And when I did, when I began to leave behind the reservations, I began to transform into the leader that I never thought I could be. The leader that God was calling me to be.
This week this vision has hit me particularly hard. I’ve been second-guessing everything—my job, my life, even this blog. I’m been frustrated, foolish, stuck. I am not dancing.
I picture the dancing girl; I remember the dancing moments like I described at the beginning of this post. And I ache for that kind of confidence. I want to know that what I am doing is good. This kind of confidence is God-given. It is not arrogance. It is not conceitedness. It is peace. It is contentment. It is resting in God’s hands. It is obedience to the unusual things that God calls us to that the rest of the world, our friends, possibly our mothers, don’t understand.
Right now I’m waiting for this calling. For the next step in the dance. I’m praying for discernment. Praying for joy.
And while I wait for a macro-calling, I invest in the micro-joys. I choose to reclaim the areas of my life that I know I am called to. I choose to reclaim them with boldness and confidence and joy. I choose to follow the lead of my God with freedom and abandon.
I choose to dance.