Dancing Your Way to Joy

March 26, 2019

Dancing Your Way to Joy

Even when it’s the last

thing you want to do.

In Psalm 16:11 we read that in His presence is fullness of joy.  We also know from Psalm 22:3 that He inhabits the praises of His people.  What a beautiful promise we have to come before the Lord with our love and adoration knowing that His very presence will surround us and that fullness of joy will be ours.  So sweet and simple, right? Except for when it’s not.

When my sister, Heather, and I were young girls around the ages of 10 and 12 we experienced great pain and heartache as our family was broken apart.  Our parents divorced, we were essentially without a dad, our precious mom had been abused and was hurting deeply, and we would be moving across the country away from all our family.  Needless to say, we had some very tough days.  However, a seemingly simple but very difficult act of faith and obedience asked of us by our mom, brought us through that painful uncertain season.

My mom would gather us in our small living room, play praise and worship music with a little cassette player, and ask us to dance and worship God.  You can probably imagine we weren’t so enthusiastic about this request.  Ok it was more like, “You want us to do what?!” We were hurting and scared and the last thing we wanted to do was dance in that living room.  But my mom played the music and persisted.  She played songs like…Mighty Warrior Dressed for Battle and When the Spirit of the Lord Moves Upon My Heart, I Will Dance Like David Danced.  In the beginning, my sister and I would start out sort of just skipping around the room in a circle (cue the visual of two reluctant pre-teens skipping around in circles to praise music) but as we literally “danced” out in faith His presence wrapped around us and without fail there would always be breakthrough and we would experience His joy.  As we continued in obedience we would dance and laugh and sing, the heaviness would lift and our hearts would experience great comfort. We are both extremely thankful to our mom for teaching us the promises of God and His Word and encouraging us to push past the tough and enter into His presence.  I understand now as an adult and a mom that this act of faith and worship was most certainly far more difficult for her to do than it was for us and yet she did it.  She danced and sang right along with us, tears in her eyes and she chose life.

A less intense illustration can be seen through running.  In our house we are divided when it comes to running.  My husband loathes it, and I mostly love it.  I once tried to convince him of the joys of running by asking him if he has ever finished a run and thought I sure wish I didn’t go for that run? “Absolutely!!!” wasn’t exactly the answer I was hoping for, but he could still relate to the point I was trying to make. While I do love running, the initial act of lacing up the shoes and getting out that door is definitely not “easy” especially with the extreme high and low temps of Northern Virginia or the long day or the late night of interrupted sleep from beautiful babes, or….and the list could go on and on.  However, I can confidently say I have never finished a run that I regretted.  In fact, the opposite holds true.  I feel stronger, I have more energy, happy endorphins start rising, and I generally love the feeling I have afterwards.  I am always thankful I pushed through and got out the door.

Many things in life don’t always feel easy, but it is in the tough decisions to move forward, to take our thoughts captive, to step out in faith, to smile and forgive, to try something new, to go for a run, to dance in the living room, whatever it is, that we can experience the growth, the journey to healing, the joy, the freedom, the break through. I want to encourage you today to “dance in your living room” whatever that might look like for you, to enter His gates with thanksgiving and praise, and let His presence and joy wash over you.  I have strong faith you won’t regret it!

(image from YouVersion App)

Thank you for reading,

4 responses to “Dancing Your Way to Joy”

  1. Stacy says:

    Loved this! Thank you for sharing.

  2. Chris Herman says:

    Thank you Riann for sharing your story. Your mom loved you well…in the midst of her pain…

  3. Riann says:

    Thank you for reading. Yes, my mom loved us very well and we are thankful. Bless you.

  4. Katharina says:

    Thank you !! I needed it so much …I have so less joy -pray for me !

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