My own experience with dance consists of one ballet class when I was four, one super cute photo of me in a tutu, and one fiasco of a recital concluding my dance career.
So, as the mom of a dancer I’m always learning things like:
- Don’t expect to understand anything the teachers say in class. I watch a row full of girls in leotards and tights nod in understanding when the teacher says they are to “shu-shu, tendu, plies, releve, dijon, au revoir, RSVP sil vous plait, bon jour, bon appetit (okay, I made most of those up). All I hear is “French stuff, French stuff, French stuff, more French stuff.”
- Splits, despite their appearance, are physically possible (just not for me). My daughter slides down to the floor and splits her body in half without groans of horror or the sound of her bones breaking. She didn’t start out that way. It took years of increasing flexibility and lots of complaints along the way, but now she’s got it.
- Dancers come in many shapes and sizes. Maybe the professional culture of ballet says otherwise, but I love seeing the teachers and students at our dance studio with different body structures. Beauty and strength, flexibility and discipline can look different on different women.
- I’ll never vacuum the floor without first having to pick up hair pins. Where do they all come from? How do they all jump out of my daughter’s head onto every surface of our home? I’ll never know. But if you ever need a bobby pin, just stop by my house before I vacuum! (Or gather the bobby pins scattered all over my husband’s car since he picks her up from dance.)
- Storing hair accessories takes creativity: When another girl at the studio popped open a travel soap container and started pulling out hair nets, ponytail holders and pins, it was better than a Pinterest discovery. Best. Idea. Ever.
But here’s the lesson that’s being etched on my heart this year:
God loves when we give Him our all, even if our “all” is different than the “all” of others.
I’ve taken my daughter to dance classes for years. I’ve bought her leotards and tights and slipped her hair up into buns.
I’ve written the check each month for her classes.
I’ve worked out insane schedules trying to fit everything on our calendar.
And I’m not a dancer. I’m not good at it. I have no training in it.
Even though I can recognize beauty and strength, it’s her passion, not mine.
Still, it’s taken me time to truly value this passion God has given her, to say that it’s beautiful and worthy and worth the sacrifice and effort.
Sporty families often value athleticism over other gifts.
Musical families tend to value musicality.
And so it goes.
My daughter, though, teaches her non-dancing mom to value dance.
I am humbled.
In Galatians 2, Paul defends his own passion to the leaders of the New Testament church.
Until then, everyone thought salvation through Jesus was for the Jews and the Jews alone.
But here was Paul, preaching to the Gentiles and baptizing them, taking the Gospel to those who hadn’t heard.
He was outrageously radical!
Some were probably suspicious of his calling. They thought it was ‘less than.’ Others wanted to restrict it.
But finally, Paul says:
…when they saw that I had been entrusted with the gospel to the uncircumcised, just as Peter had been entrusted with the gospel to the circumcised …and when James and Cephas and John, who seemed to be pillars, perceived the grace that was given to me, they gave the right hand of fellowship to Barnabas and me, that we should go to the Gentiles and they to the circumcised (Galatians 2:7, 9).
We can exhaust ourselves in the church trying to do what everyone else is doing because it seems so valuable.
We can frustrate ourselves by trying to make others care about what we love. Our pleas can sound like this: “Every Christian should care about this as much as I do…..” “If you love Jesus, you’d be involved in this ministry that means so much to me….”
Or, we can give “the right hand of fellowship” to others.
We can perceive and applaud the grace God has given to others just as the church did for Paul.
We seek God’s unique purpose for our own lives and we throw ourselves fully into that work to give Him glory!
And then we rejoice because God is at work in others, as well. We worship God for His goodness and His creativity and we cheer others on for their obedience and faithful sacrifice.
We praise God for the way He makes the body of Christ uniquely unified in its utter diversity.