This last weekend our family engaged in a “little known” tradition in our family. We danced! Our family gathered together to celebrate anniversaries, 6 couples in our family had marked significant milestones and we wanted to acknowledge the beauty of that together. As the evening cooled and the sun went down we laughed while dancing to pop songs watching one another make some creative dance moves. As the moon began to show itself in the sky we danced to slow songs from the 50’s; there were tears in our eyes as we watched the sweet way our parents moved together like they were teenagers once again.
Dancing was an integral part of our parents history back when dancing looked significantly different then it looks today! It is a memory of sweet times, laughter, and celebration.
Sadly enough, when I was a young girl the dancing stopped. At the time we attended a church that didn’t allow dancing and my parents wanted to “do the right thing” out of reverence and respect. It was sad that the dancing had stopped.
Years down the road, perhaps 10 years ago now, family weddings and summer BBQ’s began to become a regular occurrence ~ first we just played really cool music and then toes started tapping. We began to dance again. The laughter, silliness, sweetness, and extremely cool moves began again. Nowadays, we look forward to the next time we will gather to dance again!
Take inventory for a minute. Is there a life giving, joyfilled activity that you’ve either neglected or felt guilty about taking time for? Is it time to give yourself permission to re-engage in it again? Something nostalgic? Something light-hearted or whimsical?
As the evening ended we watched some of the Iphone videos of our crazy dance moves and all agreed that the brothers-in-law had truly epic moves; most importantly we all left with a full heart and tired feet! 🙂
I was about 5 years old when my parents began to attend a wonderfully energetic Assembly of God church. Each week a large choir belted out anthems while attenders sang along with hands raised in worship; engaging, emotional, and even a little bit loud! We went to church early each Sunday for Sunday School, coffee and goodies in between, and then the larger church service till noon; we would return again in the evening for another engaging service as well as popping in on Wednesday nights for classes and connection. Those were the expected rules of attendance. I am grateful for my heritage and the many things I learned over the years. But, there were many rules for those in the club: no dancing, no alcohol, no playing cards, no going to the movies, no wearing pants to church, etc. None of the rules were damaging except that I was convinced they were “God’s rules” in order to be acceptable to Him.
Imagine my surprise when, as an adult, when my husband and I pastored churches and eventually began to Coach pastors from every denomination and non-denomination. I began to see that each church group has their own rules for their club. The “rules” weren’t necessarily harmful but it was important to know what the rules were in order to be fully accepted into the “club”. Often the rules were non-negotiable.
About 10 years ago I met a young gal, pierced and tattooed. A really kind-hearted, friendly young gal. We chatted a bit each week as she shared some of the challenges she was experiencing in her life; I would always encourage her to find a church to attend in hopes that she would find the answers she needed for her life. I was really excited the day she expressed that she had been to church over the weekend. With teary eyes she spoke of how the songs that had been sung really touched her heart, the teaching she heard really made her think and long for something new. At the close of the service there had been an opportunity for anybody wanting a fresh start to come to the front to pray with a leader there. She said she almost ran to the front. As she shared her vulnerable heart that day, the leader looked at her as tenderly as she could and let this young girl know that God did really love her BUT that those piercings and tattoos were truly not acceptable. She left the church brokenhearted that day. Oops…She did’nt know the rules of the club.
Certainly any organization–churches or businesses –will have their own personality, themes, rules, and ways to navigate ongoing interactions. My only caution would be this: Let’s be careful that we don’t keep people out or at a distance because they don’t abide by all the rules that have been established. Let’s not let our “rules” keep others from knowing and experiencing the gracious and inclusive love of our God. Let’s make sure the rules we establish are truly from Him.
…..one thing I know for certain, her tattoos and piercings didn’t matter to God. I think He cried that day.