Dance: Trusting Your Partner

Father and daughter dance

By +Jeanne Takenaka @JeanneTakenaka

Our Five Minute Friday prompt this week is—DANCE. This largely unedited “rough draft” form of writing stretches this perfectionist, in the best of ways. I write for five minutes on a given topic. If you’re interested in learning more about 5-Minute Fridays, check out our hostess, Kate Motaung’s site. Or, click on the link at the bottom of this post. As you read my simpler Friday posts, I hope you’ll join in the conversation!

DANCE

I took ballroom dance lessons a few years ago. I thought it would be much easier than it is (Yes, you can stop laughing at me now). In ballroom dancing, one leads and one follows. As the woman—the follower in the dances—I didn’t think it would be hard.

Until my partner told me I needed to stop trying to lead.

Following requires trust in the leader. During those lessons, I had some partners who did not know how to lead, and it was challenging not to tell them. I consider myself pretty good at following, but those weeks of lessons showed me otherwise.

How many times have I thought I was following Jesus’ lead, only to discover—after frustration or heartbreak—that I was trying to lead?

Launch on zipline

How many times do we try to tell him where the next steps for our life-dance should go? In doing the waltz, do we follow His lead, or do our toes get stepped on when He moves us somewhere we didn’t foresee?

When dancing, you aren’t supposed to look at your feet, but into your partner’s eyes. That was the challenge.

If I could look at my feet, I could be in control. Looking up, over the shoulder or into the eyes, required me to trust where my partner led.

In walking with Jesus, sometimes I prefer to look at my plans and say, “Okay, this is where we’re going. Right?” . . .

Rather than looking into my Partner’s eyes, trusting His lead . . .  

Knowing the intimacy that shone in them . . .

Seeing the love that reflected from them . . . 

Dance of the leaves copy

In this dance of life, I can’t imagine having anyone besides Jesus leading me. Trusting Him isn’t always easy, but it’s always, always best in the long run.

When I can let his lead be what I follow, I know peace and I experience the beauty that comes only through following him. Only through trusting Him.

What about you? How have you seen Jesus leading in your life? Have you ever tried ballroom dancing? What lessons did you learn?

Visit Kate Motaung’s post on Five Minute Friday—Dance

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36 thoughts on “Dance: Trusting Your Partner

  1. I dance kind of like Elaine from Sienfield…Ok, I’ve never danced and I just imagine that that’s what I’d look like ;). But I can certainly relate to trying to do all the leading (as if God needed me to lead). That’s what life is all about–learning to look into His eyes and let him lead.

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    • Too funny, Anita. Elaine definitely has her own . . . style. 🙂

      I don’t know why I think I can lead better than God, except maybe that it comes from my insane desire to be in control. I like your last line, about life being about learning to look into His eyes and letting Him lead. I’m so glad you stopped by!

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  2. Love he analogy. Just another confirmation that God is speaking so clearly about just trusting in Him and following where He leads. Thank you so much for sharing!

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  3. Great post. As always. Very much enjoyed reading about the lessons you learned. I’ve tried salsa dancing (whoa…what?!) and have a dream to dance flamenco well. Time will tell on that one!!

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    • Helen, I love that you’ve danced Salsa. It doesn’t look easy. The tango was tricky enough for me to try and pick up. There’s something about dancing that frees the spirit, don’t you think? Have fun mastering the flamenco!

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      • Hah! Goodness, I think tango is much harder than salsa! (Flamenco is my dream; I’m going to have to get a move on to learn it, as I’m feeling less and less flexible every day that passes….)…Helen xx

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  4. For some reason I am brought to the relationship between sniper and spotter…the guy on the gun has to put his life absolutely in the spotter’s hands, because the spotter’s responsible for security as well as observing and correcting fall of shot.

    People think the shooter’s the main player, and in a way they’re right…the mission depends on his skill at one discrete task. But the spotter’s the one who makes it possible.

    I lost a couple of spotters. Worse than losing family.

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    • Andrew, I completely see the connection. It’s about trust, isn’t it? You’d better know your spotter is trustworthy if you’re working with him. Thank goodness Jesus is trustworthy for us. I’m sorry you lost some spotters. I can only imagine the depth of that loss.

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      • It may not be Scriptural, but the guys are around me in these fell days, strengthening me for the trials to come. “I see dead people…”, but they’re not dead, and God has vouchsafed them with my care.

        Nothing lovely is ever truly lost.

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  5. As soon as I read the title, I knew it would be another post where you are my twin. In college, our girl to boy ratio was about 5:1, so when my friends and I would fast-dance to country music (country swing), I usually took the lead and twirled them. I became quite skilled, but when I would try to dance with a boy, well, you know very well that I couldn’t follow for hardly anything.
    God, in His grace, has been gently leading though I’m stepping all over His feet at times. He doesn’t complain or quit on me. And He doesn’t yell or stomp off. I’m glad it’s not “Dancing with the Saints”. We’re less than saintly. 😉
    Love to have you back at #FMF, Jeanne!
    Love,
    Tammy
    (#13 this time)

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    • Tammy, it’s so nice to be back! I’ve missed FMF. Yeah, we women, we think we know how to follow, but I’m still not that great at it. I’m with you—so very thankful God is such a patient leader, even when I step on His toes. “Dancing with the Saints.” Love it!

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  6. What a fabulous post, Jeanne! So challenging and thought-provoking — thank you! How often I’m guilty of trying to take the lead. And yet, as you say … there’s no one else besides Jesus who would be a better leader! Thanks for this challenge, and for linking up!

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  7. I would love to take ball room dancing! I tell my hubby often that before any of our kids get married I want to talk dance lessons so I don’t look like a fool on the dance floor with everyone watching! God is teaching me to trust His leading and fix my focus on Him! Thanks for this perspective and encouragement! Happy Friday to you! (Stopping by from FMF #42)

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    • I hope you get the chance to take them, Rachel! I actually took them without my husband, for research. 🙂 I loved it, and the lessons I learned. So many ballroom dance aspects translate to life! I think learning to trust God’s leading and keep our focus on Him is a life-long lesson. 🙂 I never seem to get it all figured out, all the time. 🙂

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  8. “Until my partner told me to stop leading.” You had me there! Why is it so hard to not be the leader? Because I think I know best, because I want to be in control, because, because, because. So many reasons and excuses. Maybe it does all come down to trust.

    Good post, Jeanne!

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    • I’m so with you, Sondra! I want to think I know best. I like control, too. I agree with you, it does all come down to trust. Do I trust myself more, or God more? My actions will reveal the answer. 🙂 Thanks so much for stopping by! 🙂

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  9. jeanne, great post:) i didn’t learn to dance until adulthood either. we took dancing lessons so we wouldn’t look like idiots at our daughter’s wedding. fortunately, my husband was caught on well. i was made to follow. in my head i think i will be able to dance all those fancy ways, but reality is not that way:(

    life is the same isn’t it? we think we can manage much more on our own than we can. following our Maker and Leader works much better.

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    • Martha, I love that you guys took dancing lessons. Maybe sometime down the road, when our boys are ready to get married, I’ll be able to persuade my honey to take lessons with me. 🙂 Ballroom dancing is tricky, and the pros make it look so easy!

      Life is that way too. Thank goodness we have an amazing leader in Jesus. 🙂

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  10. Great analogy Jeanne, I smiled a bit as I read this…I remembered my wife and I taking ballroom dance lessons and at times we would bust out laughing as we tried to get into the timing. I was a terrible leader who could never remember the steps. We felt like we were running along side a moving train and just couldn’t jump on. I’ve noticed that same feeling at times when trying to let Christ lead in my life, especially in areas I didn’t think were meant for me. My apprehension kept me out of step. It really comes down to trust and I wonder how is it that I can completely trust God one day and not the next?

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    • Gene, the timing and nuances of ballroom dancing aren’t always easy to catch onto. I love that you and your wife were able to laugh about those times when you didn’t quite catch it. 🙂

      Your analogy of running alongside a train and not being able to jump on made sense. Sometimes, Jesus is reaching His hand out to us, ready to help us leap, if we’ll just trust His lead. I’m there with you, trusting Him some days, but not others. We’re so human, aren’t we?

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