• Debbie Salter Goodwin

A Time to Dance


Lisa loved to dance. That's why we bought her this sign.

Perhaps dancing was her way of freeing stiff joints that refused to move with grace so she defied them. She would jump-start them, put them on steroids of her own making and dance. I will never forget one Fourth of July watching one of the specials on TV with her. As the bursts of color spread to the beat of music, Lisa danced in her seated position on the sofa. She moved her body, pointed her fingers, and tapped her toes. No stiff joint was going to keep her from dancing.

Dancing, as Solomon used it, is the opposite of mourning. It is a physical response to the heart’s joy. It is celebratory; not demonstrative. It calls attention to some gift, some victory, some release. It’s not a special step or beat. It’s not about form or partner. Dancing is a party for the soul who has slogged through hard times.

Unfortunately, we live in joyless, angry times. We live where people know more about hate and revenge than joy and dancing. We are so tightly wound in our busy, must-produce frenzy that often we don’t even realize our heart’s craving for joy.

Someone put it this way: “Joy is the flag flying over the citadel of the soul indicating that the King is in residence.” (Author Unknown) Ahh! There’s the difference. The King lives where the joy flag flies. It is the presence of the King that turns mourning to dancing. It is the presence of the King that so secures a person that even in the middle of spiraling circumstances, there is relief that at the least calms and at the most gives a good reason to celebrate.

Take a joy break today. It really is better than chocolate or coffee or any number of substitutes we use to cover our fears and insecurities. Overdose on the joy of children playing, birds singing, flowers blooming. Recognize the gift of grace. Understand that no one matters more to God than you. Revel in that choosing, in that unfailing love. Don’t define it or limit it; just rest there. That’s where the joy of the heart grows.

Then dance through your day. Not in a silly, attention-getting way. Find a beat that moves your heart before it moves your feet. Make sure the King is in residence and the joy flag flies. Don’t free your heart to dance only because you’re happy. Don’t wait until everything is going your way. Find that trust-hold, that faith-anchor, the shelter in the rock where God covers you with his blanket of wholeness and health. Stay there until your heart beats with joy and you can’t help but dance.


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