So… in beginning this post I was debating what to call it, and I’ve gone for the slightly undercover, obscure title that intrigues in the hope that a few more people read it!
Let me explain why.
The other title I was going to call it probably would have put some of you off, probably the people I most want this post to be for! So bear with me, and read it, because I understand why you wouldn’t want to read it…. but there is so much revelation and freedom for you!
Let me tell you the other title I had in mind: The Power of a Dance!
What am I on about?
Well basically, I was one of those people who found it quite weird and was put off by the overly enthusiastic individuals in Christian meetings who would get out the flags and streamers and would dance. Those certain individuals you could count on to do some … interesting … dancing. Some would call it interpretive dancing. But I would be more on the side of “that’s a bit out there”, “it’s distracting me from my own worship”, “what will non-christians think”, “it’s just weird”, “please stop and stand still”.
I can recount a time only a year ago when I was at a conference of about 2500 people and I had deliberately dragged my group of friends to sit at the very edge of the rows of seats so I could get some space in worship time. I’m definitely one of those people who needs a whole arms length of distance on either side! I like to lift my hands in worship without worrying about whacking someone in doing so! But, I made the mistake of not realising that this also would be the spot for people who liked the space to dance. I watched (as I tried to worship) a girl in front of me who was not about holding back. She was waving arms in the air, and even legs in the air in graceful moves, spinning around – the random mix of ballet and spinning. The type of dancing that can only be labelled as christian dancing as it’s not like any real dancing style. Trust me, I live with a dancer (a very good one!). I was embarrassed for her, let alone if I was the one doing it.
Having outlined my views on it, you can understand how odd it was one morning, whilst rushing to get ready and putting on some worship music as the only way to spend time with God whilst preparing to get out the door, that I found myself dancing. I mean full on, arms in the air. You should have seen the pose I found myself in when I suddenly realised what I was doing.
My mind was elsewhere… I was thinking about getting ready. I was not thinking about the music I was listening to and my goodness I do not remember starting to dance. I literally found myself dancing… without having started by my own will. And another odd thing that happened after I caught myself dancing… and kinda weird-ed myself out in doing so… I carried on! I actually remember it crossing my mind that it was weird I was dancing, but for some reason I decided I should continue!
Even looking back now it is weird!
God apparently made me dance! It also happened that it was the first part of the encounter God had set me up on that day… which has since kickstarted a whole adventure into intimacy with Father God (read my first post).
My next experience was one not one of casual, laid back, graceful dancing.
I was at Center Parcs for my Impact training in January and by this point God had really gotten a hold of my heart. I was loving the adventure and hungry for more! But there was some blocks in the way. The first few days of the training we had some of the TSM team from Kings Arms Church, Bedford come and speak on identity, the Father’s Heart and freedom. God had already done a lot in me on this stuff beforehand, and was continuing to do more. But there was one morning meeting in the response time when someone brought a word from the front that some of us needed to make some kind of movement. Some needed to shake some stuff off, and some needed to run! I wanted to… I so wanted to run.
It started a whole dialogue in my head.
“I really want to run. I really need to run. But no one else is doing anything. I’m going to look weird. I’m right at the front. Everyone is going to see me. What are my friends going to think of me. But I need to do this. I really want to do this.”
Somewhere in amongst those thoughts, my legs took me. My body decided to disregard the conversation in my head and do what my spirit was wanting to do.
So I ran!
From the very front of the room – front row – I ran at high speed, almost bumping into a couple of people, past my friends, and I ran all the way round to the back side of the room where there was a big space… and I danced!! I jumped, I threw my hands in the air, there was nothing graceful about this dance. Nothing interpretive. This was the dance of freedom! This was a fighting dance that was full of energy (the adrenaline rush helped). The moment I ran, I felt something shift in me. I found some freedom and I wasn’t going to hold back any longer. I danced in worship in every meeting for the rest of that week. I was so full of joy and celebration that I couldn’t hold back.
Dancing brings a new level of intimacy. There’s something about dancing that focuses on the joy of God and lifts your spirit.
I had a really big revelation of this in February. I was facing rather a lot of spiritual attack which was very much linked to a student womens event I was running and very spiritually invested in. I found myself with this darkness over my head, I felt depressed and negative. I can only describe this as a very negative atmosphere around me that I couldn’t break out of. I had got to a rather desperate point. I texted a friend to say I was struggling, more of a rambling text for help. But God had obviously heard my heart because I found this desire in me, this need to get into the presence of God, which at that point was not a usual thing. If I was struggling, the last thing I wanted was to sit and read my bible or try and focus on God. That was something I struggled with on a good day let alone when I was really finding things difficult. So I found myself wanting the presence of God, and I decided to put on some worship music and just worship God. It wasn’t easy, I ended up crying quite a bit. But God then showed me a picture of a palm leaf and reminded me of the time Jesus entered Jerusalem and was welcomed by people waving palm leaves. I felt God say very simply “Just welcome me”. In that moment my mood changed as I focused on God. He then spoke to me again and he told me that although I didn’t feel victorious in that moment, He had already won the victory and I needed to worship like the victory was won. With rather good timing the song ‘You Are Good’ came on and I danced and sang with all my heart. I then got two Bible verses come into my head which I looked up and declared out:
“For freedom Christ has set us free, stand firm therefore, and do not again submit to a yoke of slavery”
“But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ”
1 Corinthians 15:57
I then had to laugh as I received a text from my friend in reply to my plea for help earlier, and she said that in times of warfare she found worship, dancing and reading scripture out loud really helped. Exactly what I had just done.
The Triple Attack
Worship, dancing & reading scripture out loud!
God led me through those three things as I listened and obeyed the Spirit, and therefore gave me the revelation of how I could walk with God through warfare. He then confirmed the importance of that revelation through the text I received.
It hasn’t failed me yet. The combination of fixing your eyes on God in worship, celebrating and dancing in joy, and declaring the word of God over yourself, and to the enemy, can’t fail!!
I am happy to say I have just come back from that same conference I was at last year, and I danced like a looney – even though at times there was no one else dancing around me! I am a terrible dancer. But I dance all the same because where the spirit of the Lord is there is freedom – and I therefore can’t help but dance!!
I also now have my warfare playlist of some very happy dance songs, declaring the goodness of God and the freedom in His Spirit, that comes in handy all the time!
It’s a journey – breaking the fear of man to step out that first time and just dance. But trust me, when you do it and not only that but find the joy and power of it, there is such freedom!!
If you hear that voice that tells you to run… RUN!!