Not all of us like to dance. Some people go through all of life without ever giving it a try. Some make a lifestyle of dance and others of us pine for a time where we used to dance as a way of life.
For me, I spent much of my life watching dance, teaching dance and dancing myself. It was when I was crippled by back pain that I started pulling back from the thing I so loved. Now if I see dances and dance movies that harken back to my previous life, I find it upsetting and saddening to think back to how my body used to feel and move.
Recently I was really challenged to think about King David and how he danced before the Lord. It must have been quite a show to cause the level of embarrassment that we read about, to his wife Michal. But why was David dancing so extravagantly? Was he putting on a show? Was he trying to get a rise out of the people? Was he trying to irritate his wife?! Or was he making a statement about the victory he’d just watched being won?
Clearly, David didn’t drop a groove and start spinning on his head in the streets of Jerusalem, although this is what you’ll find happening there today! He did something that was viewed to be undignified and shocked people because of how much he just did not care what the people thought. He danced with all his might (2 Samuel 6:14), and I think it would be fair to say that it was for an audience of One.
It isn’t recorded in scripture that David was a regular dancer, or had a profession as a dancer. Maybe he was a pioneer in the dance world, and was secretly busting a move or two to entertain King Saul! But we do know that his reaction to the ark of covenant *finally* being returned to its rightful place, was to burst forth with a dance that he could no longer contain.
When my holocaust surviving grandma passed away, I played the song ‘Heros’ by Amanda Cook at her funeral, because the following line spoke of what she had done in her life;
“You taught my feet to dance upon disappointment”
What does this mean to me as a retired, closet, wishful dancer?
We all have disappointments in our lives, things that have let us down, or ended up being a destructive force. For me, the bitter disappointment of my back pain represented so many things and directly affected my ability to literally dance. But these things can be symbolic of so many things in life. Disappointment in and of itself can be a debilitating thing that can dictate how we feel and easily master us without us noticing. It may not directly relate to our physical ability to dance, but it may represent a metaphorical (or literal) giving up of that joy that we see in David.
In Luke 10:19 we are told that we have been given authority to tread, or stand on the evil one. I love this picture of being able to crush the evil one in a release of creative movement that represents a complete abandonment to the One who brings us victory.
But David didn’t accidentally stumble into a dance move (although that would explain a lot!) His dancing wasn’t a mishap! It was intentional. He chose the level of energy and abandonment he put into his dance, and he chose to dance with all his might. He was intentionally choosing joy, and to press into that explosion of gratitude he felt. Years of disappointment and longing for the ark of the covenant to be returned, culminated in this beautiful expression of one man, before his God, without a care in the world.
When we are intentional about dancing on our disappointments, we risk causing those around us offence or disgust at how we haven’t held it together in the appropriate manner! But sometimes that enemy isn’t going to be crushed fully or die completely unless you dance before the Lord with ALL your might. You can’t tiptoe around the scorpion that is disappointment – you have to stamp and use your full body weight to land that victory on its head.
So dare to dance, dare to take back your joy and don’t be afraid of how it looks! Own it!