Something God has shown me a lot lately is the power of joy, especially in relation to dance. Non-professional, freeform dancing can be helpful in church settings, on film sets and almost anywhere that dancing is possible.
Tuesday night at Discipleship Now, I got up and danced with Ruthie when Anthony played “Celebrate Jesus Celebrate,” after Bob Maddux preached about how godly celebration is a key to releasing God’s glory. This resonated with me because I’m spending plenty of time planning a joyful celebration for my upcoming wedding, and it helped me see that labor as the Lord’s work because when God is the center of a party, parties are often where His presence comes! Also, I think of how parties at Lieneyda's house have led to wonderful powerful ministry sessions, in the midst of joy and fellowship. Also, dancing is a big part of parties for me. God was showing me at Discipleship Now and at yesterday’s Sportspower shoot with Richard and Johnson, how dancing can break things off of us — anxiety, agitation, whatever is not good — and instead help us manifest the freedom and joy of Christ.
God wants to infuse our lives with His joy, love and purpose!
I really think that more Christians and stressed out people of all faiths just need to dance! While some religious people may think dancing is bad, actually there are many words in the Psalms that we often translate “praise,” but really mean “leap” or “twirl.” Our bodies were designed to move! May all that we are — arms, legs and core — praise the Lord. Dancing loosens us up — of course physically but also emotionally and spiritually!
Biblical references to dance
Dancing is often mentioned in the Bible “as a means of worship and praise to God,” according to the staff of BibleStudyTools.com. While the Bible does sometimes mention nonbelievers using dance to worship pagan idols, it also has plenty of positive references to dance, including:
Ecclesiastes 3:4 a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance
Jeremiah 31:4 I will build you up again, and you, Virgin Israel, will be rebuilt. Again you will take up your timbrels and go out to dance with the joyful.
Psalm 30:11-12 You turned my wailing into dancing; you removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy, that my heart may sing your praises and not be silent. LORD my God, I will praise you forever.
Psalm 149:3-4 Let them praise his name with dancing and make music to him with timbrel and harp. For the LORD takes delight in his people; he crowns the humble with victory.
Check out BibleStudyTools’s complete list of dancing verses at this link. Hopefully that’s enough encouragement to pop on a praise song and get yourself moving, whether or not anyone is watching.
“Bad dancing” can be good for others
Don’t worry about how you look or whether you are good at it. In fact, sometimes the people who are the “worst” at dancing bring the most joy from it, and joy is what it’s really all about, at least in this sense. For example, Jamie Grace has shared that her dad “cannot dance,” but it was his attempts at dancing that kept her joyful even in her darkest times when she was most depressed. Dancing, even “bad dancing” — in all its awkward, silly and uncoordinated glory — brings joy and lightness. Put on the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness! If you feel heavy or uptight or anxious or burdened, get up and dance! On the set that this picture is from, I said in the middle of the planned shoot — which did not include dancing — that I really just thought I needed to jump around and dance. My takes after that were so much looser, freer and fun. Anyone who is a director, cinematographer, videographer or producer should keep this how-to in their back pocket. When people are uptight, nervous, stumbling over the words and unable to be themselves on camera, they may just need to dance! I can’t promise it works for everyone but it certainly works for me. It also was helpful in a commercial that Anthony and I did last week at TubeScience to get us more loosened up and fun in front of the camera. I brought up that I thought we should dance for a minute, and they actually ended up saying that they might want to use that dancing clip because it’s just so much fun.
So whether you've been inhibited by binding mindsets (making you think you shouldn't dance), others' perceptions of you (making you think you can't dance), or just not realizing the positive power of dance, throw it all off and be free.
Whatever you do today, I hope you dance.
What about you? Have you ever experienced dancing helping you loosen up and experience joy in a work situation, with friends or even in a spiritual experience?
Have you ever judged others or felt the fear of others’ judgement for dancing? If so, how will considering these truths and perspectives possibly affect those mentalities?
What are your favorite wholesome, fun songs to dance to?
And … when do you hope to dance next? The clock is ticking, so dance like nobody’s watching.