“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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5c1bbed6db895498c477f846e426ad97“May your Kingdom come soon. May your will be done on earth, as it is in heaven.” – Matthew 6:10 (NLT)

So my friend from way back in college called me and asked if I would come be the speaker for his church’s junior high camp. You should know this about me-I don’t do junior high. When I was in junior high, I didn’t like it. I tried to spend time with junior high kids, but was exasperated. I don’t do junior high.

But it seemed that now was the time for second chances.

I accepted the offer anticipating that God would help me bear the weight of speaking to these junior high kids. I had a few months to think about it and sweat it out. I knew that I would need lots of His assistance on this adventure so my prayer was that God would work through me to affect these kids in a positive way. God, as He does, came through. I don’t know about you, but when I was in junior high I could have used a few kind words from my fellow anxious and awkward peers. What would it be like if these pre-teens could say thoughtful and delightful things to each other?

So, with God’s help, I came up with a plan. I made cards that showcased a picture of a cat in sunglasses. (Because what could be more disarming than a cat with glasses?) I had the name of every placed on a different card. Everyone then randomly received a card with someone else’s name on it at the beginning of the day. They might know them, they may not. Their task would be to observe and write down three ways that they saw the goodness of God in the person they were observing. At our last session together, everyone would deliver the cards to the person they wrote wonderful things about and watch them read the words that were written. Oh, there would be like 103 of them exchanging words of life. It’ll work, right? Junior high kids can do this right? My friend reassured me that they could. So, we did it.

And it was beautiful.

Every single kid there wrote down something kind and amazing about the person they randomly received. Watching those kids excitedly receive their cards was miraculous. Life was breathed into their souls. Joy reigned over all. As I watched, I thought to myself, “This must be like heaven.”

Jesus once taught His disciples how to pray. In the midst of that teaching He uttered the words, “May you will be done on earth,as it is in heaven.” That day, I think I really saw a bit of what Jesus was teaching. Heaven on earth. What a marvelous experience to be a part of. There are times in life where I am just amazed that I get to be in the midst of some extraordinary happening. I don’t know about you, but I wanna see more of heaven on earth. Even if it is with junior highers.