Monday, July 20, 2015

Living Gracefully

||"Cease striving and know that I am God." -Psalm 46:10||



One of my friends from youth group is a ballet dancer. Every year, from early September to late November, is Nutcracker Season. At the busiest part of this season, she's in the dance studio seven days a week. She and the other dancers practice hours each day, memorizing each dance, learning to move to the music with every limb in place, a smile on their face.

Oh how I admire ballet dancers.

Thanksgiving weekend, they perform. And it's beautiful. The dresses and sets are nice and all, but the real beauty comes from the dancers. The movements are smooth, practiced to perfection. The months of practice come together in one fantastic show. These girls have learned exactly when and where to move in time to the music.

Sometimes I live my life the same way.

Don't get me wrong. I have about as much coordination as a baby elephant. Ballet is not soon to be listed among my list of talents (which currently includes writing decently, eating raw cookie dough, and procrastinating).

What I mean is that I rehearse, I try to choreograph my life. I'm also pretty bad at it. Looking back over the past twelve months, next to nothing has gone how I planned it. Looking forward, there's a cloud I'm trying to decipher.

I want there to be a rehearsed answer to every question. I want every question to be "yes" or "no" like cross-examination in a debate round. I like knowing the answers. I like raising my hand in confidence when my debate coach or youth pastor asks a question I know the answer to. I like the feeling of flipping to the right verse at the right moment.

But life has been throwing me questions that aren't easy, that aren't yes or no, that I don't know the answer to.

What do you say when a friend hurts you but you don't want to lose them?
How can the answer be no or not yet when everything in you says yes?
How can you believe everything will be all right when everything seems all wrong?
Will what I write today matter mean anything to anyone?
Is it possible for my one small voice to make a dent in all the noise?
Is it okay to want so badly to be loved?
Can I ever be good enough?

I'm learning, though.

Not the answers. Those are complicated, hard, hidden in the fog of the future. I'm learning that I don't have to know the answer.

The art of living gracefully is found in Psalm 46:10: Cease striving and know I am God. It is found in Psalm 119:105: Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path. God doesn't tell us the future, not in so many words, but he shows up the next step. He doesn't give us a To Do list. He gives us grace.


||"Graceful, in this case, doesn't mean perfect. Instead, it means free. Free to believe Jesus rather than the voice in your head that says you aren't good enough. Free to hope even when things look and feel hopeless." -Emily Freeman, Graceful||


Living gracefully means letting go of having to know the answers, letting of the lies that say you aren't enough, living step by step, even when you don't know where the path is leading you.

On Tuesday nights, I go swing dancing.

After a couple of weeks practicing with my friends, I started dancing with strangers. At first, I was afraid I wouldn't be able to keep up with some of the more advanced dancers. I soon found, though, that as long as I had a good lead, following was easy. I hadn't rehearsed a fully planned dance for weeks or months, like my ballet dancer friend. The song didn't have specific steps. Swing dancing is about freedom and having fun. Mistakes frequently turn into new dance

God will lead us into each move individually. We cannot see the end of the dance. We don't know every step to come, but we can trust our Lead to guide us through the next one.

Cease striving ... Stop trying ... Don't predict ... Be still

Know that I am God.

||"This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He has sent." -John 6:29||


Believe. You don't have to try so hard. You don't have know all the answers. You just have to believe in the One who holds the future and receive what He has given you. And that's what's up.

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