I had a great conversation with my friend Marlita Hill several weeks back. The first thing I said to her, when I saw her that day was, “I’m feeling thwarted.”
On that sunny Thursday morning, I had left the house with grand plans: I would drop my boys off at the co-op where they take classes (I teach there on other days, but Thursday is my day off). After that, I would relish a couple of hours in reflection and post to my blog before meeting Marlita for coffee.
How confident are you that you can complete the tasks you believe God has given you?
What do you tell yourself about yourself?
As worship dancers, our confidence is so often under attack. We often question our sense of call and whether we are worthy of the assignments we feel called to.
God cares very much about how we see ourselves. What He wants from us and for us is often different and always better than what we believe or deserve.
In this post, I’m going to share about a phrase from the bible that challenged me to change the way I think and speak about myself. I’ve got a gift for you in the post as well. Continue reading “Are you capable?”
This week at our house church, a new friend shared with me the story of his falling out with God, with Christianity.
My friend serves in law enforcement. He encounters people in crisis on a daily basis. He often encounters people suffering under mental illness. It was in response to their suffering that my friend had his falling out with God.
You see, when he came into contact with these suffering people, my friend would pray for them, but he said he never saw any hope for them. And so, his faith, which had been integral to his life, became simply something he participates in for the sake of his family, and because it was part of his upbringing and culture. But, for him, it has no bearing on his day-to-day life.
I felt the weight of his story and have been praying for this friend. He entered situations for work where people were suffering greatly and the God he knew seemed irrelevant and powerless to help.
Is Christianity irrelevant and powerful? Is Christ? People want to know. I recently heard these words of an atheist, “If God is all powerful, He cannot be all loving. If He is all loving, He must not be all powerful, because there is too much suffering in the world for there to be a God who is both all powerful and all loving”
In Psalm 62:11 and 12, the Psalmist writes:
One thing God has spoken, two things I have heard: “Power belongs to you, God, 12 and with you, Lord, is unfailing love”
This God is the One who stepped into history and suffered with us. He suffered for us, that the power of sin and death might be broken.
The God of scripture, the Father of Jesus, is both able and willing to intervene. But sometimes He is hidden from people’s view – by the darkness in the world, by our limited faith, even by theologies that do not recognize that His power is available today.
I’ve been praying for this friend this week. This is my prayer for him, adapted from Ephesians 1:18, emphasis mine:
I pray that He would give him a Spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of God, that the eyes of his heart may be enlightened so that he may know the hope to which He has called him, the riches of His inheritance, and the very great power for us who believe.
The LORD wants us to knowHis hope, riches, and power. The dictionary defines know as to “be aware of through observation, inquiry, or information” and “have developed a relationship with (someone) through meeting and spending time with them; be familiar or friendly with.”
People need to observe and encounter the Lord at work in order to know Him. As dancers we can help them both observe and encounter this God. We can be a living picture of His character and nature. Of course, this needs to go beyond the sanctuary and dance floor and out into our lives and theirs, for them to truly know Him. Nonetheless we have the chance to paint a living picture and to usher in the presence of this God as we worship through movement.
I shared a dance this past weekend that reveals the character and deeds of this strong and loving God we know. The words to this song, written by a friend of mine, Douglas C. Eltzroth, speaks about the authority, gentleness, and nearness of this God we know.
I praying it reveals some of who He is that you may know Him better.
Please take a moment to share in the comments if the words of this song spoke to you. Or, share how you have experienced the power and the love of this God yourself.
Position your dance ministry for greater impact in 2016.
Join me as I host Marlita Hill, author of the revelatory book, Dancers Assume the Position.
Ministry comes through your dance and provides something specific to God, the individuals watching you, the church you serve in, and the body of Christ at-large. However, ministry does not happen through dance just because you are dancing. In this four-part teleseminar, Marlita Hill will share from her book, Dancers! Assume the Position, to help you:
– Construct a clear picture of the your ministry as a dancer
– Identify the mindset necessary for effective ministry
– Collaborate with God in the various areas of your ministry, including songs choices, choreography, and ministry opportunities
– Clearly trace what the dancer contributes to God, the individual, the congregation, and the body of Christ
– Draw a clear distinction between the activity of dance and ministering through dance, so that God can minister through you, unhindered, and in the fullness of His power.
Fortify your assignment for 2016 with the support and encouragement of a seasoned teacher and fellow dancers.
I received a fun surprise in my inbox last week. A friend recommended that I be featured as the artist of the month with Make and Believe Productions, whose mission is to use the arts to share the gospel and to do it with excellence.
There was a part of me that wanted to reply, “Actually, I’m not really an artist. I’m kind of a lay dancer, and I don’t know if my work is excellent enough for those who read your posts” and go on to explain my lack of credentials.
But that would have been an insult to my friend who recommended me and to the Lord who has given me the measure of gifting He has and Who is allowing me to use it. It would be an insult to the amazing teachers who have invested in me over the past five years, allowing me to grow as a dancer and minister and gain credentials for teaching. (Thank you, Jocelyn Richard and Lynn Hayden) So, I simply thanked her for including me, sent in my bio, and said a quick prayer of thanks for the open door.
There is a familiar voice I hear so often in my head that I mistake it for my own voice. Sometimes I interpret it as humility, an accurate assessment of my weaknesses. Other times I interpret it as my own insecurities. But the truth is, it’s not my voice at all. It’s the voice of the Enemy. He disguises his voice as my own in order to keep me holding back, burying my talents instead of investing them. Can you relate?
I remember a time when I was teaching middle school, over 15 years ago, when I lamented to my dear friend and fellow teacher that I was struggling. I was feeling inadequate and even jealous of her (she was a dynamic, creative, and confident teacher). I described to her all the ways I felt I wasn’t measuring up. I patted myself on the back for being “honest,” but she would have none of it.
She said to me, “Amy, sometimes Satan overplays his hand. This is as spiritual attack. You are in ministry in the church and at this school, and he is trying to divert you from what you are called to do. You need to pray through putting on the weapons of your warfare every morning,” and she articulated this prayer based on Ephesians 6 for me that I have prayed over and over since then:
Lord, I place the belt of truth around my waist. Let everything I say and think be your truth. I put on the breast plate of righteousness. May I trust in your righteousness today and may I walk in righteousness, so that my heart is protected. Let my feet be shod with the gospel of peace. May I bring your peace everywhere I walk today. I raise the shield of faith. Let me have more faith today than I had yesterday. I put on the helmet of salvation. May all my thoughts be taken captive to the salvation of Jesus. May your word be a sword in my hand that I use to set people free. I will pray in the Spirit today for your people, that the gospel will go out.
I experienced immediate relief from the spiritual attack and the “insecurity” no longer seemed valid.
We each are vulnerable to spiritual attack in different ways. Sometimes the enemy uses our pride, a physical weakness, or our tendency to overschedule our time. There are a multitude of ways we may be vulnerable. But the result is that we are immobilized. It’s the enemy’s strategy to seek to steal, kill and destroy, and he’s out to hinder what God wants to do in our lives. However, if we can recognize the voice as his and/or recognize the hit as a spiritual attack, then we can stand firm in the Lord and resist.
If you are feeling plagued by self doubt, or overwhelmed by discouragement, or just pestered by mishaps, to pray through the prayer from Ephesians 6. Say it out loud and gesture as you put on each piece of armor. Better yet, don’t wait for the attack. Make it a habit to put on your armor daily. Then you will be prepared to move forward, not burying your talents, but putting them to use, whenever He gives you an open door.
Join the discussion and respond in the comments. I’d love to hear from you.
Can you relate?
How to you recognize spiritual attack and fight back, in the Lord?
Thank you for allowing me to be part of your life. Also, thank you for celebrating this joy with me. I’m grateful to be featured on Make and Believe Productions and look forward to any doors the Lord opens through it.
My sister texted me this question early this week and it has been repeating over and over in my soul since then.
When I read it, I thought, “Actually, I’m doing great. I actually haven’t really felt the rush of the season yet.” I felt a little smug, like maybe I’m above getting harried by all the trappings of Christmas.
Then, I started wondering, Am I sitting on a time bomb?Am I not feeling stressed because I’m just procrastinating on all I need to do? Am I honestly at peace, or am I just in denial?
This blog post is a continuation of yesterday’s blog post: When is it Okay to Quit? You’ll want to read that post first and then, read on…
(from the last post) On a Saturday morning, I showed up for a modern dance class offered by an incredible teacher in our community. I am not being overly humble when I say I am the least skilled dancer in the room. There are dance company leaders, dance teachers of teachers, and professional performers in the class. This class stretches me so much.
I can hold my own for the warm up and enjoy the challenge of the center floor combinations. But I want to disappear when it’s time to go across the floor. The teacher will show a sequence of three to four combinations of movements strung together and then ask us to do them.
If one of his dance moves is a word, and one of his combinations is a sentence, he asks us to write a paragraph while I’m just learning to read, not to mention to write. It’s painful for me. It’s embarrassing.
On this particular Saturday as I struggled across the floor, I thought, “Maybe I should quit. This is so far above me that I don’t even know if I’m taking anything in.”
Do you ever feel like you have stretched yourself too far?
Do you wonder, when you face resistance, if it’s a sign that you are off track, that you need to pull back?
Do you ever feel discouraged by the pace of your progress and wonder if you’d be better off investing your time elsewhere?
When is it okay to wave the white flag?
When is it okay to quit?
I came face-t0-face with these questions earlier this fall with my family and then later the same week in the studio. We learn things in the most mundane of life happenings that shape our character and, if they overflow into the studio and into our worship, can make us stronger. Here’s what happened and three tips to guide you when you think maybe it’s time to quit. Continue reading “When is it okay to give up?”
Many of us have to learn to say, “No,” to turn down something good in order to focus on what we are truly called to. We need to learn that just because we can do something doesn’t mean we should. We need to make sure we don’t just say “Yes” to please people or to avoid guilt. We need to make sure we don’t commit to something we aren’t able to follow through on. There is a time to say, “No.”
But there is also a time to say, “Yes,”to give our wholehearted assent and to venture into something new and risky, be it a large risk or a small one. Saying “Yes” is what I want to talk about today, because saying “Yes,” can lead to open doors and can expand us in ways we can’t even anticipate when we let that word slide out of our mouths.Continue reading “Doors Open when we say “Yes””