The Dance of Trusting and Following

Dancing with Jesus.

Cheesy, I know. But, hey, there might be a real, workable analogy here. In any case, bear with me. For those of you who don’t believe in dancing, or have just never had any experience with it, think of it like walking blindfolded while someone else leads you by the hand.

Let’s start with defining some roles in dancing. We’re talking about dancing involving two people, where one person leads and the other follows. Sounds pretty simple and boring… right? Well, there’s more going on than meets the eye. Beneath the frills and formality, there is a very real dynamic of trust.

Let’s talk about the lead.

He has to know what he’s doing – the steps… the moves… how to place them in the music. The better he knows those things, the more confident he’ll be. The more confident his is, the better he’ll be able to lead. He has to clearly communicate the steps and movements to the follow, so the follow can move with him. Sounds like the lead has to do all the work, right?

And now, the follow.

The follow usually has some idea of the steps and moves, but doesn’t have to know all of them. She doesn’t have to know how the steps are going to fit into the music, or what’s going to come next… in fact, it’s better if she doesn’t. To be a good follow, all she has to do is trust the lead and stand ready to take the next step. If the follow tries to take control and lead, the dance will most likely end in a tangle of feet and arms and ideas. It doesn’t look pretty. On the flip side, if the follow is paralyzed by uncertainty when the lead initiates the next step, this will also cause a crash and burn. The follow has to simply stand in readiness, trying not to anticipate the next move, “listening” and waiting for the lead to initiate the steps.

If you watch a couple dancing in unison, it might look like the follow is doing the most work, as she spins in circles around her partner. But the lead is working just as hard, and is actually the source of each movement. And finally, as you look closer still, you begin to see how neither element would work without the other, and the beauty of the dance grows out of a relationship of mutual trust. If the lead is worthy of trust, and the follow is ready to trust the lead, then the lead can initiate the steps that the follow will readily take, and they move together in a beautiful dance.

What does any of this sappy stuff have to do with our relationship with Jesus? Think about what role you play in your relationship with Christ. Are you the lead, or are you the follow? I believe that as we devote ourselves to a personal relationship with Jesus and recognize His authority over our lives, we have to adopt the role of the follow. And really, things will work out so much better.

Let’s face it: Jesus is going to a much better job leading than we will!

Stand in readiness, waiting for Jesus to lead you. Try not to plan several steps ahead, and don’t let yourself be paralyzed by fear because you aren’t in control. Trust in Jesus’ ability to lead you through the steps He wants you to take.

What does it look like in your life to let Jesus take the lead?

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