There are two very excited little dancers in the ACTS House these days, preparing for their spring recital and showing off their bright new costumes and tutus. All year long, they have attended weekly classes, learning new steps and how to string them together into a beautifully choreographed dance. They have learned to stretch themselves (literally and figuratively) and apply the discipline required to practice, practice, practice in preparation for the recital that will showcase their newly-learned skills and developing talents. They absolutely beam and bubble over with the delight of dancing with childlike abandon… and it is beautiful to behold.
Others of us in the house have forgotten what it’s like to dance that way. We’ve been too busy practicing other kinds of dances, and dancing as fast as we can for longer than we’d like to admit. We’ve become quite good at them, perfecting our performances for whatever audience might be on the other side of the curtain. The stiff and technical dance of perfectionism. The complicated choreography of the avoidance and secrecy necessary to hide our shame and self-contempt. The subtle steps of the victim routine. And the duet of fear and control that ends in encore after encore of more fear and more control.
There’s no fun in these dances. No delight. No freedom to soar. But we’ve done it for so long that we know them by heart and perform them without thinking. They were programmed into our hearts, minds, and bodies through the hurts and traumas of our lives. We forgot who God created us to be and the dance He choreographed just for us. The natural beauty of our innocence and our true selves was marred by the effects of sin and evil, so we figured out that we could use pretty costumes and stage makeup to cover what feels too ugly for others to see or know about us.
So here we are… still dancing around the truth; putting on pretty costumes, hoping no one will notice the flaws beneath our eye-catching tutus. We choose partners, without finding out enough about them to know if they’re suitable for us or not, just to avoid the stage-fright of dancing solo through life. Or maybe, we opt for the loneliness of a solo life because the thought of dancing that close to others is just too terrifying. So we hide in the wings watching others dance, afraid to come out of the shadows and take center stage in our own lives. It feels so much safer there.…
Life at the ACTS House is about learning new steps, new choreography, and new dances in our relationships with God, ourselves, and others. It’s about opportunities to observe and listen to the wisdom of those who model for us what they’ve learned in their life journeys, and to follow their example as they follow the example of Christ. It’s a new dance for us. A stretch. And learning the steps can feel awkward, clumsy and uncoordinated. But as every dance teacher knows when they begin a new year of lessons with a new group of dancers who don’t know a plie from a pirouette, or a flap from a shuffle…. commitment, practice, and discipline do pay off. Transformation does happen. The recital always receives rave reviews, and the students clamor around their teachers with heart-felt affection and appreciation. It’s all been worth it. The results and the process are beautiful to behold.