Shut up and dance with me.
While this is a lyric to a rather popular pop song by Walk the Moon, it is also the most valuable lesson God taught me while I was in Slovakia this summer. Actually, to make things more interesting, He continues to teach me this lesson at home, which is why I haven’t actually been able to write about Slovakia until now.
Now I realize that the pop song is more about teenage hormones than spiritual enlightenment, but God is pretty cool and can speak through, well, anything, including this.
I have a serious problem. I am nearly thirty-one years old and in my heart I think I can out plan God. I have a plan A, a plan B, a contingency plan for both plan A and plan B and just in case those don’t work out I have a backup for those.
Maybe that’s an exaggeration, but that’s pretty much how I’ve lived my life. Risk managed and assessed carefully.
That’s the way I started out the summer. I planned carefully for every English lesson for my class. I talked it over with the right people. I printed out the materials. I had it all packed perfectly. I knew what the plan was. My plan.
And then God told me to Shut up.
Did you know that God says shut up? He does. I mean, I think people put God inside this box and think that he is super polite all the time with like fluttering eyelashes as He says ‘Be still, my child.’ And sure. He says that. But how many children do you know always listen to that tone?
Sometimes God has to get real. And he DID. He told me straight up to SHUT UP.
Now, when God tells you to shut up, my advice is…shut up. Because I’ll be honest with you. I didn’t. At first. I kept trying to plan and arrange and ignore…
But He said it again.
I had run out of plans. At a loss, I did what I was told (finally). And that’s when I heard the rest of God’s command.
Shut up and dance with ME.
That was kind of a shock. Because I am NOT a dancer. I move my head a little to a beat. And every once in a while when I have maybe a drink or two I’ll shake my white girl hips a little, and look absolutely ridiculous. But I have the rhythm of a three legged sloth so I DON’T DANCE.
Shutting up was bad enough, but dancing?
But here’s the thing. God wasn’t asking me to shake my white girl hips. He wanted me to dance with HIM. If you know anything about dancing, you know that it can be beautifully sexist (oxymoron?) and all a woman truly needs a strong male lead.
Shut up and dance with me had nothing to do with MY abilities or MY plans or even MY wants. God simply wanted me to shut up and let Him lead.
And when you let God lead—You shut up and let Him just move, you realize just how awesome He really is. God’s going to move when He wants to. I saw evidence of that in Slovakia in the Slovak leaders, in the students, in the changes, in the conversations—both English and Slovak—, in our American team, in traveling God moves. The thing is when I shut up, HE gets the glory HE deserves and I actually get to dance with Him, not around Him.
And then He taught me about myself, about what it means to communicate and be godly. He showed me my heart. He showed me others’ hearts. More importantly I listened as He spoke.
And a funny thing about dancing with God…once you start, you just don’t want to stop. Now that’s a destiny worth pursuing.