“Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.” Ephesians 5:21

Dancing is a funny thing when you are in Junior High. Really, what is more painful and hilarious than watching a bunch of pubescent kids trying to be cool? Just think about these few things that occurred:

  1. You only dance during slow songs because you are terrified of looking like an idiot in front of your friends or that special one you had your eye on (except for that one crazy kid who didn’t care and would bust out all of his groovy disco moves; now I realize how cool he was).
  2. When that slow song did come on you kept telling yourself, “DO NOT STEP ON THE TOES!” while awkwardly shuffling in one spot.
  3. Body odor.
  4. Where do I put my hands?

Here is what I am getting at, marriage can often feel like that Junior High dance. It can often be awkward. You try not to step on each other’s toes, but often do. You discover your partner’s cleanliness is not the same as yours. You also find out that your body is a perfect place to warm cold as ice hands. The thing that could change everything for everyone is that they just learn how to dance.

Full disclosure, there isn’t anyone noting my skills and you aren’t going to see me bust out any awe inspiring moves. I also say that because when it comes to marriage, I was not the best dance partner. A lot of time has been spent searching myself to find rhythm. Figuring out what tune God was playing so that I would be a better dance partner is a priority. I am a work in progress.

I am becoming a better dancer. 

There is a passage that a lot of people refer to in church in regards to marriage. The passage is in Ephesians 5 and it has much to say about how the wife and husband are to interact. You may even run across a popular marriage book on these verses. For this post though, I wanted to take a moment to hone in on the first verse of this section starting at verse 21. It reads, “Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.” To me, this is like dancing. When two people engage in the dance, you find them cooperating with the music. They are engaged with the beat, moving and flowing together in a beautiful way.

God loves to play songs that draw people together. 

In a strong relationship there are two people that have learned to hear DJ Yahweh’s beat. They can move with each other while following the tune that plays over them. The best of dancers are seen when each person doesn’t make it about themselves. They make it just about “us.” Mutual submission. The devine dance of marriage is waiting for you to allow the music to move you and for you and your partner to follow together. As you grow, you will be less like the Junior High dance and more like the dancers who have mastered the Tango. Trust the guy that has stepped on a lot of toes, you can always learn.

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NTSLifeIsBeautifulThen Jesus said to his host, “When you give a luncheon or dinner, do not invite your friends, your brothers or sisters, your relatives, or your rich neighbors; if you do, they may invite you back and so you will be repaid. But when you give a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, and you will be blessed. Although they cannot repay you, you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous.” Luke 14:12-14 (NIV) 

This past Friday I was honored to be a part of the Tim Tebow Foundation’s Night to Shine* prom event. My church welcomed more than a few hundred people from the special needs community to an evening of limo rides, karaoke, a red carpet entrance, games, dinner, photo booth, and dancing (so much dancing!). Every guest was paired with a buddy whose privilege it was to experience the night together; there were people serving meals, assisting in bathrooms, helping with activities, and even a crowd of paparazzi asking for autographs and selfies  as guests walked the red carpet. I am so grateful for the Tim Tebow Foundation’s vision and the support they provided to make the event happen in multiple locations around the world and for all who participated to make this wonderful night happen.

When I finally had the chance to sit down, eat, and rest my tiring feet, I looked up and saw all that I needed to see to make the night unforgettable. A dapper young man and a dazzling young woman were alone on the dance floor dancing their hearts out as everyone else ate. Fascinating and memorable moments filled the night, but this one stood out above the rest. In that brief amount of time all that I needed to know about why we did this, why it was worth it, and how significant the evening was, spun and jumped and smiled and glided across the dance floor.

It was extraordinary.

Living in a world where we are daily inundated with pain, suffering, ugliness, and tragedy I cherish these moments. It’s marvelous that this portrait of hope and beauty came from people often marginalized and forgotten—people who are treated as an inconvenience, humans thought by some to be something less than just that. The best things often come from the most unexpected places. But I selfishly live my life thinking I know where God is going to do something great. When will I learn?

God gives His best gifts in disguised packages.

There is that passage from Luke 14 in which Jesus tells the guy throwing the party that, “inviting the rich or your family or friends is easy and they are people that will take care of you. Instead of inviting them, throw a party for people who have no way of returning the favor. If you do this, you will be blessed.” I don’t know about you, but I’m often spending my time with people who I think can give me equal or more than I give them. Convenience can be a tricky enemy. Yet, Jesus draws me somewhere out of my element. He takes me to places where I can truly see how beautiful this life is. And that’s when I experience what it means to be blessed. I hope and pray that I continue to have these opportunities and experiences. May you walk through the door when the chance comes your way. You won’t want to miss the party.

*If you’d like to see a bit of what Night to Shine was like, check it out here.