Psalm 147b

Friday I had the pleasure of watching eight Performers girls dance my choreography to the Sons of Korah’s Psalm 147b. It felt so normal being back in the studio at Alwin’s – although it’s been years since I danced in that same studio as one of them. In 2009 I watched the 25th anniversary production of Christmas Joy, which was my sister’s last year in the production. It has been seven years since I was a Performer and trained at Alwin School of the Dance. That makes me feel so old! It makes me wonder what I have accomplished in those seven years?! I am not doing what I planned to be when I left to train with Boston Ballet seven years ago. But looking back I cannot regret the way life led me. I wouldn’t have matured in ways I have and learned the things I did if I did not have the experiences I did. It took me this long to heed God’s call on my life to use my gifts to give Him glory.  Watching them perform the piece was a good reminder that it’s not about me. It’s not about them, either, not even the girls I chose for solo work. It’s all about the Lord.

He has been so merciful and faithful to chase after me and draw me to Him. He has given my dancing back to me when I wanted to run away from it because of painful experiences. He has been so good. I must repeat these things over and over to remind myself this is why I create dance – in gratitude and amazement of God’s goodness and majesty. His faithfulness and immeasurable beauty I see in the consistencies and magnificence of nature, in the sunset, in the stars at night, in the high mountain peaks covered with snow and the massive ocean foaming and whipping with waves, in the human form in graceful dance or powerful movement. I agree with the Psalmist who attempts to proclaim the Lord’s magnificence and our insufficient, futile efforts to impress him. The God of the universe! What do we have to offer him?!

“His delight is not in the strength of the horse,
   nor his pleasure in the legs of a man,
but the LORD takes pleasure in those who fear him,
   in those who hope in his steadfast love.” (Psalm 147:10-11)

I was reading one of Joshua Harris’ books recently that I found on the shelf at home, and he was talking about God’s gift of freedom from past sexual sin, or sin of any sort, really, by getting perspective of the cross. It’s relevant to Psalm 147 when trying to understand what it meant to Jesus Christ to die for us, and why he deserves out praise. The Lord over the universe, the part of the Trinity that helped God the Father to design creation and people in his own image, (Colossians 1:17) came not only to live a perfect life among sinners, but to die a sinner’s death as a perfect, blameless man, experiencing all the weight of the sins of all the peoples of the world while in agony on the cross, and being rejected not only by those he loved and was dying for, but by his own father in heaven. That baffles me – to have such great love to lay down your life for people who revile you, while your all-powerful father hides his face from you. Left alone in the world to bear the sins of the world.

“He feels dirty. Human wickedness has starts to crawl upon his spotless being – the living excrement from our souls. The apple of the Father’s eye turns brown with rot. His father!

He must face his father like this!

From heaven the father now rouses himself like a lion disturbed, shakes his mane, and roars against the shriveling remnant of a man hanging on a cross.” (When Boy Meets Girl. Harris, J. p. 177)

The story doesn’t end there though. Christ conquered death: he died and was buried, rose on the third day and ascended into heaven,  to the glory of his Father in heaven. The Father was well-pleased with his Son’s sacrifice, and considers his son’s sacrifice rather than our sins. He is in heaven sitting at the right hand of God the Father ruling over the earth. At the throne of his heavenly father he makes intercession for us. (Isaiah 53:12) That is cause to praise him!

Psalm 147b talks about the God’s might and power as reasons we should extol him; it says the Lord delights in those who fear his name. (vs. 11) Our hope is in his steadfast love – that has saved us. We cannot gain his favor or approval – it is already paid for, done and approved. The Psalmist urges Zion to “extol the Lord” and praise God Jerusalem.”(vs. 12) He goes on to talk about how he strengthens the fortress (gates) of the city, and blesses your children within you (vs. 13) He grants us peace and “satisfies us with the finest of wheat.”(vs. 14) His Word commands the universe. He speaks his word and the ice melts. He keeps all his promises.

Christ boldly endured the cross. We can boldly praise him. That is why I felt the need to express boldness and confidence in the movement for this Psalm, not  interpretive dance. While Latin dances are typically associated with being macho or flirtatious, I think adding a little of the flamenco style movement accentuated the piece because of its boldness and power. The music also had Latin/Spanish guitar influence, and I let the music inspire the movement. I seldom pull movement out of thin air – the music becomes the blood in my veins that create the dance. For so long I stifled it because I wanted to pursue my dream, not God’s dream for me. I will not let regret and frustration rule me. I look forward to the ways God is shaping and changing me. In His goodness He is showing me that I please Him with my gift even when it is not me performing. I am doubly blessed, to transfer this gift to so many wonderful young girls and multiply the praises to God in their worshipful bodies and hearts.

Thank you to Wendy Miner and the Performers for allowing me this opportunity. I am looking forward to our next creation!

Scroll to 9:35 for the last run-through of the dance.

Looking forward to working with the girls again to clean it up and see it performed in its finished product next spring!

P.S. They’ll be wearing all black or a dark shade flamenco-type skirts for the performance.

Project: Dancing the Psalms

Over Christmas break I listened to a lot of classical, instrumental and folk music to find some pieces of music to choreograph to. It has been on my heart to choreograph for a while now, and I don’t want to miss the opportunity to showcase and stage  my choreography while I am still in the university setting.  For years people who know me and my passion for dancing and my heart for God have suggested that I choreograph “worship dance” . My Dad always gives me ideas and worship music, but I have been reluctant because my heart has not been at the place where I could worship God un-abandoned and not care what other people thought (and I am still in the process of coming to it) and then the idea of “interpretive dance” in worship services or dances to 90’s contemporary Christian music just made me cringe. As a classically trained dancer, I have a lot of pride in my work and don’t want to be included in the mediocre Christian artists scene. God forgive me for being judgmental of them; I am by no means the best in my field either, but I aim to only perform and give my best. So here I am at the turn of the year and I realized that I can combine my desire to choreograph and dance for myself more with my desire to worship God and praise Him with my gifts. It doesn’t need to be in church yet – maybe God will bring me to that place, or on stage; I will simply begin in the dark, in the secret place, in the studio alone, with my music, notebook, and Bible… My inspiration came from reading the Psalms and the Sons of Korah…I discovered them online in my search for music of the Psalms. I would love to meet them one day. Their music is so uplifting and just what I needed to get started on this project.

The idea to make dances to the Psalms suddenly hit me just the other day as I was going to bed and reached for my Bible. Unfortunately I often leave God till last in my day, something I am ready to change. Instead of it being open to Habukkuk where I thought I had left it, it was open to the Psalms. Psalm  34 stared back up at me, and as I read it the words began to take flight in my heart and come to live in my mind. I could imagine movement, dance to these words…I could imagine them to music…and expressive movement at that, not jsut sign language. I could pray these words back to God through my movemnt – because that is the purest, most natural thing for me to do. That is how he made me, and I can’t explain it, but where my words fail, I can express through dancing, and God who made me must understand my language of movement better than I. It is the least I can do to praise Him and express my gratitude, my joy, my sorrow, my desires, my hurts – and give them to Him. Like the Psalmist, when I start singing or dancing my prayers turn to praise and soon I am filled with joy.

Here is my favorite Sons of Korah song so far and probably will be my first piece because the music is awesome and the words few:

Psalm 117 (English Standard Version)

The LORD’s Faithfulness Endures Forever

1Praise the LORD, all nations!
Extol him, all peoples!
2For great is his steadfast love toward us,
and the faithfulness of the LORD endures forever.
Praise the LORD!

This project has been a long time coming, and may be a long process yet. I am looking forward to it growing and seeing what God will do with it. While my choreography is of a personal nature at this point, I will share some of my journey through thoughts and words and links to the songs I use. Maybe one day soon I will have a camera to record and post dances on here, or a video of my choreography on other dancers…until then, pray for me and expect great things from our Lord Jesus Christ. Be encouraged to worship God in your own way as well – it is between you and Him, and who knows what He may do with that in the future! Be blessed my friends.

Becca

Walk in the Snow

snowy Sandia Mts from the Albuquerque side

I was taking a walk in the snow, well, rather a hike, on the mountain “mud trail” near our house to get alone with my thoughts and practice hearing from God. To get into prayer, I have to dump all my “stuff” out to the Lord first, then I can be quiet and silent before Him in order to listen for His voice or see with my spiritual eyes. I am much better at the dumping part. Be reassured that God does care about all the details of our lives and He does want to hear about them. (Matt 6:31-32) But we were called to worship Him and give Him adoration and praise. That is what He wants from us, and our hearts and lives.

 

Praising God turns a monologue into dialogue, as Pastor Chuck said this morning at my parents’ church in Albuquerque. When I began to release all my burdens and worries to Him as I have to do often, in fact I need to do daily, I began to praise Him for the things He has done for me and for who He is. It’s often easier to see what he has done for me and not praise Him for who He is. God loves us for who we are, and He wants our love in return. I asked Jesus to show me His beauty. One thing I am asking of Him this year is to romance me, make me fall in love with the King of this world so all else dims in comparison. I know that only He can satisfy me, and I although I know that I often think that all I need is a man to fulfill and satisfy me. Well, as good as that person may be that God has for me to marry one day, he is not going to be able to satisfy all my needs because he is human. If I can fall in love with Jesus more and more each day, I can better fall in love with the man I am going to marry and love him with a gracious love all our lives. So that said, I still struggle to understand just how Jesus is going to romance me. It certainly is not going to be the way I expect men to do. That would just be too weird. But think about it, Jesus is our example of the bride groom to the bride – his church metaphorically speaking, as in Ephesians 5:25-33. More on this later. I need to study and learn what this passage teaches me.

All of a sudden Cessna my dog perked up and sat on the path in the snow, looking, listening attentively around her. I tried to prod her to go on, but she just would not move. Well, I thought, she may know something I don’t know. Instinctively, I thought of the mountain lions and bears on this mountain I have been warned against since I was a little girl. We just stood there, silent, listening and watching. I asked for His continued protection. Maybe here God would answer some of my questions. He did, but it wasn’t what I thought. I am alone, I said out loud to the trees and hills covered in snow. “I am here with you,” he said back. It came into my mind and passed, like a clear, definite thought, not my own fumblings and blubberings. I looked around. All I could see was snow. white snow. It covered everything that was tangled or dirty or ugly. It made the entire forest beautiful. This is Your beauty, I thought. You have shown me your exquisite beauty, just as I asked, Lord Jesus. I have to quiet myself and look in order to see it. This is how He romances me. With the beauty of His exquisite creation. How often do we take the time to look, and appreciate the beauty of the untouched universe around us? It truly is lovely.

I walked back with Cessna, some questions still unanswered, but feeling light and full of peace. We made first footprints in waves of snow that wind had blown back across the field. I noticed the beauty of my dog’s fur coat – I think it’s called tortoise-shell. I felt romanced by my beautiful Savior and assured of his protection. As for hearing from God, I think I need to practice, like anything, quieting myself, retreating and just being with Him.

Pink Tights Count Down, Day 5

My efforts are futile. I am frustrated by my failures. I don’t have the good things to report I wished I did; and somehow this doesn’t surprise me… In my consideration why I tend to fall back on bad behavior patterns rather than persevere and utilize self-discipline, I like to pretend I don’t know. But I do know. I can’t do it in my own strength, Never have been able to, and if I can, then it doesn’t last for long. I tell myself God wouldn’t care about this my problem or my goal, but He does, and He wants to hear about it from me. He wants to help me, but I have to give it to Him. When will I learn?!! God wouldn’t give me back my dancing if He didn’t want me to do my best and dance my fullest and discipline my  body in order to perform my best. But what is my motivation? People’s recognition or His? He gave me back my dancing so I can worship Him, not so that I can say, “look at me! I’m back! Look what I did!” God, forgive me. God, take the reins!

Introspection Dance 1 Year Birthday

July 17, 2010

I started this blog a year ago on my birthday, so happy birthday, Introspection Dance! As I reread some of my blog posts, I realized what an adventure this past year has been, and I wanted to commemorate it.

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It has been a year of growth, renewal, change and adventure! I hope to grow even more in the coming years and continue to learn about myself and people around me as I become the woman God designed me to be.

I started this blog because 1) I like to write, and wanted to start making my writing style more publishable, which I did accomplish getting a few reviews published in student papers. And 2) I was at another very trying time and transitional time of life last year that I hoped by writing about it I could be of encouragement to others. While I began this as a very personal blog, I have strayed away from writing about many personal issues while I studied abroad this spring and blogged about my travels for my friends back home. Honesty and openness are my aims however, whatever the topic.

I have achieved some things in the past year that I expected, and some very good things that I did not expect. Let this be only an encouragement to my dear friends that your situation is never hopeless, that God does indeed grow us and change us for the better, but we don’t always see it. Sometimes all it takes is stopping to reflect to see God’s goodness and faithfulness in our lives. I don’t intend to brag to build myself up here, but what I do brag about, I give honor and thanks to my God for allowing me to do so this far.

Praise God! This time last year I was still having my small group girls pray for me to conquer an eating disorder I had struggled with off and on since I was a young dancer. I felt I had to quit dancing for a time, and that was the hardest thing I have ever had to do. Spring 2009 was a long 7 months of therapy and heart-crushing openness I never thought I could do, but through it all, God freed me from something I had been trying to fix myself for years. I can recall hours spent crying and feeling alone, and crying out to God to take it away from me, but somehow I was never willing to give it up completely to Him. He had to humble me before I could give it up. I had found my identity in my dancing and my talent for too long.

Last year I felt miserable at myself for getting so out of shape and not maintaining my dance career. I felt embarrassed and wouldn’t even tell people I had been a professional ballerina. I didn’t feel pretty and I didn’t feel worth anything not being a dancer. I had wondered what is was like to be normal, and now I was normal: studying at university, trying to keep my head above water, paying my bills and working late nights at the coffee shop. Before I make it sound all grim and gray, let me say that I discovered joy that I had never felt before in the last couple years while my dance career that was so important to me slipped away before my eyes; I found health and healing through friends, prayer and professional help. Although I was stressed, the burden of living up to people’s expectations was lifted; I no longer had to compete with the girls (bodies) next to me to be worth something, I made true friends in a place where I never wanted to live in the first place (Columbia, SC), I laughed a lot and let myself go maybe a bit too much, but I felt life that I hadn’t felt in years. It still puzzles me – that I wasn’t doing what I wanted to do, wasn’t where I wanted to be, and certainly didn’t look the way I wanted to look, yet I felt more joyful than I had been while I was pursuing the career I wanted.

At one extremely difficult month last summer, I decided ‘I have to quit ballet for my health.’ I didn’t want to. I didn’t even believe what I said, but it was easy to stop going to class because I had already seceded my responsibility to the dance company. I changed my priorities on the outside; I told people I was just going to be an English major, and maybe write about dance and the arts to stay in touch with it, but on the inside my heart was breaking. It still is breaking to dance. Over a year later, I am just finding the freedom to dance again – just dance – because I love it, and not care what I look like or if I am good enough or if I will look slim enough onstage. Anymore, I just appreciate getting the chance to dance, because it is who I am. The desire God set in my heart is still there. I cannot keep denying it. I chose what I felt I needed to – my mental, physical, and spiritual health over my career and identity as a dancer. Although I was scared to death that it might mean giving up dancing for good, but how could a who God healed me and set me free want that for me?

I still worry that I will not ever dance professionally again, and I have come to accept it, but that flame of my dancing heart is still flickering inside me, and I am beginning to feed the fire again with new logs, and in a different way. The only dancing I do now is not in pointe shoes on marley floor in a massive mirrored studio with other dancers, a ballet master, and a pianist; no, you will find me outside in my trainers and gym shorts and shirt in a secluded area of the park or the street where no one can see me, or in a studio room by myself with bare feet and the lights off, flailing myself around to the tunes on my iPod as the music transforms to movement in my body. It makes me happy and it makes me feel alive. It makes me grateful that I still have two legs and two arms, and it makes me want to praise my God. I have a wise friend who told me over a year ago when I was in despair, ‘be patient. God will give your dancing back to you.’ I may have to accept it might not be in the way I want it to be, and it may never be onstage again, but I believe that my God is pleased when he sees me happy and praising him.

I grew a lot during my time in Leeds in terms of my worshipful attitude of the Lord. As far as the dancing goes, I learned most about myself and dancing over this past year not in a studio, or onstage, not even in the audience of a theatre or at ballroom or swing dancing class, but at church. I always despised the idea of dance in worship or ‘interpretive dancing’, deeming it not an educated and proper form of dance. People from my church growing up tried to tell me I should dance during the worship songs. Some still do. Even if I feel moved to dance in worship, I feel self-conscious. Not until I came to this church in Leeds did I feel in a comfortable enough setting to break out of my shell and start dancing during worship to the Lord on a Sunday morning. I do it in my house while no one is looking, why not on Sunday during worship? I am there to worship God, not to worry about what people think of me. I graduated over my six months in Leeds to getting up and moving into the back of the congregation or the pews where I didn’t think anyone would notice me to move to the worship. It’s not great dancing, by any means, but it’s natural to me, the most natural way to worship. I may say I don’t want to draw attention to myself in worship service, but perhaps I am still scared of what people will think of me, or that I’m not up to the caliber of performing. Those are things I need to work through and let God grow me, because, as an elder at City Church Leeds encouraged me: ‘When you’re ready, dance in front where everyone can see you.’ My immediate reaction was to grimace and shake my head. Instead I cried. He said I blessed and encouraged him from the front where he was playing guitar where he could see me in the back, waving my arms in the air to my God. I must look silly, I admit, but as long as God thinks I look beautiful, I am dancing for Him, and I will keep on dancing.

Leaving England

 

 

 

Tuesday, July 06, 2010 

Perhaps this is too early to begin reflecting on my past six months in England and what I will be taking back with me, but as my head is filled with nothing but England and the people that I am leaving now, it was convenient to pull out my laptop and start organizing my thoughts while I’m flying over the Atlantic. 

I truly am sad to be leaving this wonderful country, the Queen’s land (not the King’s land, as I mistakenly called it before and was corrected by my British, I mean English friends). Of course my goodbyes didn’t feel like they were really goodbyes, and I promised to return as soon as I am able; I know I will not realize I have left England for good until I am safely back in my own bed in my family’s house in hot, dry New Mexico. I could not have been more blessed or made truer friends or engaged in my community without the contacts I made through City Church in Leeds. It goes to show that God’s family is and will be wherever I go. They are my life line. I made wonderful friends at uni, and met some dear girls from all across the world who will be my long term friends. I experienced a culture not my own, got my first opportunity as traveling to foreign, non-English speaking countries in the nearby mainland, and learned a great deal about life, people, relationships, and the opposite sex – yes, that too. Perhaps I made a few mistakes that I learned from, but nothing irreparable. 

Before I came to England, I could not wait to be surrounded by British-English speaking people. I had this foppish idea, as many girls do when they study abroad, that I could meet Mr. Prince Charming and soon get married and have babies with proper London accents, which was all well and good, until I found there are many different types of English accents! I discovered that there are more dialects in Britain than there are in the much larger U.S. Although I met many different types of Brits to ask about their origin (which they love to talk about, perhaps nothing more than the weather), I found that they weren’t all as different as I wanted them to be. Once all the cultural anomalies wore off, I found that people are all pretty much the same as us, and we had a lot in common. Even the children who I served through my charity work with Kidz Klub Leeds, who have an almost undecipherable Yorkshire accent, they are the same as American children. When it come down to it, all people crave love, attention and respect. It’s not some great revelation I have had; it’s just sense. 

What God taught me in England, in a nutshell:  

I have boiled it down to two words: Worship and Waiting. These words describe the main subsets of what I asked God to reveal to me and teach me during these six months. I won’t know what the complete impact of what He was doing in me was for these six months for some time; I may never know, but I know this, that God is at work in me now as much as he was before I left, and I will not be coming back the same person, but renewed and changed. In December I had asked the Lord for perspective, and purpose for my life. Let me explain how these two words fit into those categories, because I believe they do. 

Waiting
 

…Not only for the man that the Lord intends me to marry someday, but for the Lord himself to give me the OK in a situation. I know that it is more important than anything to me that the man I marry loves God more than anything, more than even me. If we both have our priorities right, our love will be so much purer and selfless. I had to learn the hard way, perhaps, to follow my own advice. Not until I found myself in a situation of dating a non Christian did I realize what drastic turmoil and confusion it caused, more for him than for me. I knew why I must put my relationship with God before anyone else in my life, but he couldn’t understand, and I could not make him understand. In the end, I could see no way out without making him feel hurt and rejected. I will not dapple in any more relationships unless I know the guy is marriage potential, and for me, that means he is a lover of the Lord Jesus Christ. So although I didn’t come back engaged or anything that would have shocked my parents, I know that I am waiting. I might even be waiting for a return to England. I’ll let God tell me when that is going to be. 

Waiting applies to all aspects of my life right now, for career as well as relationships. It is exciting; to have so many exciting prospects to come in the future, but it is so difficult to remain patient sometimes! While I want to wait for the Lord’s timing and not stick my fingers in and mess things up before it’s time, that does not release me from responsibility to keep plowing ahead and making progress toward the direction I intend to go. The more I see God at work and moving in his people, the more I am convinced we are to be always ready for action, constantly moving forward. It is biblical, after all, to be prepared for action. Whether that means creating new ideas and putting them into action or moving in a physical sense of action serving or fighting, or communicating, speaking…there is none thing for certain: God’s people should never be complacent. There is so much action that can take place while waiting for something else. 

I am looking forward to continuing to develop my writing skills for journalism and publishing, my communication skills getting to know people from all walks of life, and hopefully traveling more and experiencing new cultures in my coming two years left to finish my degree. I am looking forward to returning to Columbia and getting involved in serving the community and writing for my university’s and local papers, as I did in Leeds. It was such a break to not have to work full time and study while I was there. I had so much more time on my hands. But if I can manage to organize my time when I get back to South Carolina, I can manage to do those things along with my job. Looking for a part time job I hope proves easier in my own country than it did in England. There is something else that I must entrust to the Lord now, finding a new job. Ideally, I would like to work in fitness or the arts rather than food service again, for a job during college. I have more than enough experience in dance and as an instructor, it shouldn’t be a problem. Finding a location within biking distance in Columbia will be the trick. Oh, how I am going to miss public transportation! 

Worship
 

…Was what I was made for. I have been in a state of denial for too long since I stopped dancing professionally. I know I was made to dance. It is my passion, and I know that is my purpose, but I have been denying it because I was hurt emotionally. I only wanted it if it could be my way, if I could be onstage performing in a world-class ballet company. I said I would give God the glory if He made me successful as an artist, but was that what I was really after? I struggled hard with not having the wrong motives to dance, and with finding my identity in Christ rather than in my dancing. What if He didn’t make me a successful? Would I continue to follow and trust and honor Him then? I tried not to think about any alternative to my plan. I didn’t have to; it came anyway. I felt like I had been turned upside down and my contents shaken out of me, or rattled around, and then stuffed back in, to lie dormant and dead. But who was it who decided to quiet them? It was me. I couldn’t bear to dance if it wasn’t in the way I knew it was supposed to be. But maybe God had something else in mind, or maybe He didn’t. There are other forces at work in this world other than God, the devil and his angels. and they probably want to thwart my success. Through injuries and personal trials I stopped dancing, at my own decision. God didn’t force me to quit. He certainly didn’t allow me to become so immobilized that I couldn’t dance anymore. If He wanted that then He would have let that happen during my bicycle accident. Yet through prayer God healed me, both feet when I broke them, and from my eating disorder, although the latter took me a long time. So does God still want me to dance? I believe He does. Will I ever dance professionally? It would take a miracle, and a lot of hard work and dedication. Do I believe that God can do it? Absolutely! What I don’t know is if I want that lifestyle anymore. 

Over six months I have moved from not being willing to let myself dance anywhere unless it was in a studio or a ballroom (or at least not letting anyone see me) to dancing in the park with my earphones on, moved by the music, or for no reason at all. I know myself well enough to say that what I can’t express in words I can express through moving, through dancing. I went from standing rocking on my feet during worship and occasionally raising my hand to dancing in the aisles in the heat of worship. I am still not at the place I would like to be, to be free enough to worship God in my own way, in the way He made me to communicate my gratitude to Him, without worrying what other people think of me or what I look like. It is a safe place, in church, while the worship band is playing, and while everyone (is supposed to be) giving their attention to God. When I go back I may break out and life my hands to worship while we sing in my uber traditional Presbyterian church, and people may look at me funny, or they may not, but it is what I feel in my gut that I am called to, that I must do. It’s the time that I feel closest to Him when I worship and when I dance. It is mine and His precious time together, like praying but saying everything that I can’t say with words. Now, whether God wants me to dance up and down the aisles in First Pres may not be wise. I may appear foolish and get told off by the deacons, or at least asked why. I don’t think we should be restricted from worshiping the Lord in church though, if it isn’t distracting people from their own worship. I don’t feel like I need to find another church for this reason, maybe seek out more opportunities to worship my God. If dancing around outside is one of them, then I’m all for it! I would say my living room, but it’s too small and confined. Besides, I think the whole thing about God gradually taking me to a place where I can worship Him in front of others may be for their edification and encouragement as well. 

Writing 

…lots of it. Next time I will try to practice consolidating… cheers x Becca
 

Significance of Shoes, Sanctity of Feet

Michelangelo's sculpture of Moses

Why did God ask Moses to take off his shoes on Mount Horeb (Gen.3:2-5)? God told Moses, “Do not come near; take your sandals off your feet, for the place on which you are standing is holy ground.” There must be a reason God told him to take His shoes off; He is a holy God requiring respect, yet all He wants from His fallen creation is our love, attention and adoration.

The reason the mountain was holy was because it was a place of worship. God required Moses to take his shoes off before he spoke to him. I can assume it was a sign of respect, or to remind Moses to humble himself before the almighty God. But God did not tell Moses to kneel or prostrate himself as was most biblical person’s response to an angel or messenger of God. It must have something to do with feet. It could be as simple as feet are dusty and dirty (at the time people wore sandals), therefore representative of our sin and separation from God, but I think there must be something more to it. I can thank my Dad for bringing up this question. We both like to find hidden meanings.

My feet are very important to me as a dancer. When I spent hours a day in my pointe shoes, my feet needed a lot of care and attention off the clock to keep me going. It is easy to forget how long it took my toes to build up calluses in the place of blisters where my shoes rubbed when I danced. In classical dance, as in ballet or character, the dancer wears special shoes. In modern or contemporary dance, shoes are optional. I like to think of people in the Bible like Miriam and David who danced to worship the Lord dancing barefoot. Surely they took off their shoes to worship and praise the Lord.

My dad told me of a man he played with in a worship band who would take off his shoes when he stood to play guitar. I love this picture: it almost seems disrespectful in a church or a place of worship in our culture today, as if he was just trying to be more comfortable. But to that man he had a specific reason for taking his bare feet. When my Dad asked him why he did that, he felt he could connect to God better with his shoes off. Take away all the legalistic, religious reasons that could be applied to this scenario, and you see a man in his most honest, humble humanity, focusing on one thing in that moment: worshipping his God.

Thinking more about shoes and their function for us separating us from the ground, or nature, I wonder if this separation means more than man’s protection from nature’s harshness. Our shoes, like our clothing, cover our bodies. Recall in the Garden of Eden, God created man and woman with no clothing, and they were not ashamed. It was when sin entered the world through both Adam and Eve’s sin that they were ashamed of their nakedness and tried to cover their bodies. Once they were separated from God, He provided coverings made of animal skins for them (this was also when they were told they could eat animals). So clothing is godly, because he ordained it for us in the case of sin pervading our world, but clothing is for our protection from the world and each other. God knows everything about us; we can’t hide the feelings in our hearts or the thoughts in our minds from Him. It makes sense now that this man took off his shoes a physical sign of placing himself back in God’s care and protection. It is an act of reverence and gratefulness to the Lord, and a sign of our understanding that though our sin required we wear clothing (and shoes), we are naked and pure before God again because of his gift to us in His Son Jesus.