Read an Excerpt
Don't you want to dance?
I do. I want to be swept away on a cloud of music and laughter. I want to experience the sheer bliss of waltzing and gliding across the room to the sound of an orchestra in full swing. And not just with anyone. No, I want to dance with the one who invented dancing. I want to dance with God.
And guess what? He wants to dance with me.
And he wants to dance with you too.
This book is designed to help you hear and accept God's invitation. He's been offering it to any who will listen ever since Jesus paid the ultimate price on a hill outside Jerusalem.
But understand this: the dance to which God invites you is not one of the physical realmmoving your body is a snap compared to getting your spirit's movement in time with God's tempono, the dance to which this book is dedicated is a dance of the heart, a dance of the soul. It's a dance that will change your life.
What's that you say? You've never considered dancing with God!
Maybe you've been persuaded that real Christians don't dance, that walking with Christ means sacrificing passion. Maybe you've believed that fits of passionate praise or flights of spiritual bliss are fashionable only for new Christians or possibly for late-night prayer sessions at a revival.
Or perhaps guilt and duty have come like masked bandits and stolen your joy. While you sing "Will It Do, Precious Lord?" these thieves whisper that it won't. Armed with oughts and shoulds they drive many into quiet desperation. Who among us has not lain awake wondering, "If only I had done more . . . "? After all, how dare we spend a moment smiling and dancing while others are dying lost? "Be ye joyful always" ends up being retranslated as "Grin and bear it till Jesus comes."
Or possibly you're just plain scared. Exuberant expressions of praise and joy can rock a good, conservative Christian back on his heels. And abuses of our freedom in worship have convinced some believers that the Puritans were right: too much celebrating of God's goodness turns the spiritual brain to mush. Every Hallelujah! is another step on the path to "sloppy agape" and "cheap grace."
Those obstacles are familiar to me too. For a time they kept me from accepting his exciting invitation. Yet, late at night, in the quiet of my heart, I couldn't stop wondering if there wasn't something moresomething fuller, richer, and deeper.
For a while I accepted my misery quietly and put aside any dreams of dancing with God as fantasy. Don't pity me for this. You see, I had no idea how miserable I was. If you had asked about my burden, I would have responded like the country mule who, when asked by the city mule how he stood the weight of the huge pack on his back, replied, "What pack?" After all, few around me seemed to have any more joy than I. And the few who did were suspect. They obviously didn't know that Christianity was serious business.
But praise God for good news: the fruit of the Spirit is still joy. And we can and should experience it every day. What a relief to know that we are not called to be miserable! If real joy is not vibrantly alive in your faith each day, it's time you protest. If you have shared the feeling that there must be something more to your faith, take heart and read on.
But before you flip to the table of contents and look for a chapter called "How to Get Happy Fast," understand that no quick-fix formula for happiness can ever bring the depths of spiritual joy that Paul describes as "peace that passes understanding." Spiritual freedom and renewal can only come through the power of the Spirit. God must be given free reign in our hearts to relight the flame and rekindle our delight. Only he can transform a religious routine into a joyous ballet.
And he will only do it on his terms and at his tempo.
He demands that we open ourselves to the unexpected, the unpredictable, and even the unexplainable. The Bible is full of instances where God chose to work in outrageous and shocking ways: Walls fell down. Water stood up. Bread sprang from the ground. And the sun stood still.
And the days of his surprises are far from over.
So if you have grown accustomed to an orderly and predictable Christianity, I understand that turning the God of all creation loose within you can be an unsettling concept. But trust him. As Jesus said, he will not give you a snake if you ask for a fish.
Whether the well of your soul has been dry for a long time or you just want a little more passion in your piety and spring in your step, renewal and refreshment are available if you will take time to seek them. I pray that the simple biblical principles and steps you'll find in this book will help you venture out onto the dance floor and into his arms.
I have divided this book into three sections. The first shares the five basic steps of celestial dancing. This may be especially helpful to those who feel they've never experienced the depth of God's presence. Section two prescribes cures for five spiritual diseases that can steal your joy and hinder your dance. Those who've been sidelined by guilt, tradition, pride, or fatigue will find healing there. The final section addresses dances for the most difficult times in our livesthose times when dancing with God seems virtually impossible. In short, the goal of this book is to open your eyes to the daring possibilities and the wonder of dancing with God. Take it as a gentle nudge, urging you onto the floor, encouraging you to take those first awkward steps. Soon you'll be swirling and twirling to the various rhythms of life in the security of his arms.
So go ahead. Step into his embrace. He doesn't want us to be miserable. He just wants to dance . . . with you!