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The theme for my week was dance. Lately I’ve been living out of perseverance, and out of my narrow view of what it means to be content. As more time passes and my heart longs for home, after being away for almost two years, I go into survival mode, simply going through the motions, forgetting to embrace every aspect of life as God intended. Satan whispers lies, “don’t get too close, you’re just going to leave,” and “you can’t speak the language or understand the culture, what’s the point in trying,” even, “don’t get emotionally attached.” God reminded me that these words are lies and he showed me truth. He said, “Julie I want you to dance with me this week.” I know this sounds cheesy but it’s a good metaphor. As we drove through the villages on Tuesday I could see Jesus running alongside the children, sitting with the men and women, talking and laughing, dancing his way through life, delighting in the people of Zambia, showing them his great love. This sparked the motivation in me to live out of that same joy, delighting in the people that I meet. I wanted to see life as a dance with Jesus, connected to emotion, not a solo performance with Jesus in the audience deciding what my score is. As we danced through the week, the thoughts of simply surviving life began to slide off.

Tuesday and Wednesday, I moved with joy in my soles and in my soul, remembering that I’m dancing with Jesus in every moment. Nothing out of the ordinary happened but the ordinary didn’t seem mundane, I saw the beauty in the smiles of my neighbors as God continued to tell me his love for those around me.

Thursday, I began processing some harder emotions and situations, asking God what it looks like to dance in disappointment. He simply said, “follow my lead,” we danced slower as we navigated heavier emotions and thoughts.

Friday, we actually danced. Sarah and I went to visit some women from our Bible study in the village, taking snacks to share. After some time of eating and exchanging what few greetings we knew in each other’s languages, they said, “let’s dance.” The speakers were brought out and we had ourselves a party at 3 in the afternoon. We celebrated each other, laughed, and danced (some well, others of us not so well).

The last dance of the week was Saturday; it was the food in my stomach that was dancing, not a nice calm waltz, more of a techno break dance (I was sick). But even then, Jesus held me close.

“Life is so much more when our eyes are open to what God wants to show us – to who God wants us to connect with.”

And you may not need to see life as a dance with Jesus if that’s not your style, but intentionality in our thought life is important. Are we simply going through the motions, simply doing the things we think we “should” be doing? Are we living out of obligation and rules or out of our love for Jesus, out of the joy he sets in our hearts? As my high school English teacher would say, let’s metacognate (metacognition), let’s think about our thinking. Are we conscious of the thoughts that come into our minds or are we simply checking things off a to-do list, walking through life unaffected?

Life is so much more when our eyes are open to what God wants to show us – to who God wants us to connect with. Sometimes it will break our hearts but I’m learning that it will also make us feel alive, and that’s a risk I’m willing to take. So here I am, allowing myself to feel the highs and lows of life and choosing to believe the truth that God is good, constant, and love.

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