“Do not follow where the path may lead. Go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.”
-T. S. Eliot
To begin a massive undertaking such as this blog is both humbling and overwhelming (and a little bit frightening). To not recognize the responsibility with which we release words and thoughts into this vast area of social media is foolish.
Yet, against all of these odds…here goes. I am a dancer, a dance instructor and follower of Jesus Christ. I love the fact that for however long God allows, I not only have the opportunity to combine movement and meditation and get a glimpse of the sacred, but that I get to witness students blend excellence and artistry as they dance before the throne of God, and learn more about who they were created to be and I learn from them as I instruct.
This past season we have tackled the concept of transforming beauty…the beauty that transforms hearts and lives to create a permanent change. Movies such as Frozen and Cinderella were huge among our little dancers this year as every little heart grappled with the idea of what “beauty” is. “Beauty” as defined by Merriam Webster as “the quality of being physically attractive; the qualities in a person or thing that give pleasure to the senses or the mind”. In studio devotion, we finally stumbled upon (with a little bit of help) a more fascinating definition of beauty not based on aesthetic qualities but on the “inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight” – I Peter 3:4.
To see beauty defined not by outward appearance but by the heart and personality was the beginning of a shaking of us all to our foundations. Certainly, we love our heroines. We see how fictionally a movie unfolds in two hours and we all want to be THAT girl who has those beautiful qualities that transform the world around her and still captivates the handsome prince (very easy to attain and maintain for 2 hours). But to walk that personality out daily, minute by minute and hour by hour is something else entirely. It can only be done by placing our hands, our hearts, and lives into the gentle hands of God and allowing His lead. It comes by looking to God for everything and in allowing Him to supply every need and desire. It comes from being completely content with His decisions for our lives. What is not often described is that the gentle and quiet spirit is the spirit that does not waver or want for what God has not given, but is perfectly satisfied with the gifts that each new day brings. It is the spirit that goes so far as to see each day AS a gift and to wait with anticipation for HOW God will work in each moment.
So how does this translate to dance? The focus and gaze that remains fixed on God’s heart throughout class, rehearsal and preparation is that beautiful heart. That single focus presents purity, presence, excellence and elegance. A spirit that fixed and unwavering remains quiet and can maintain the gentleness of Christ unparalleled by anything that this world can offer. That is beauty in dance…God’s way.
The beauty that God describes is the beauty that blazes trails and opens us up to a host of different possibilities as we move (gently) about our daily lives. It is beauty that not only transforms us, but can transform the world around us if we have the courage to be gentle and surrender to God. To reside in that gentle place, sometimes perceived as weakness, takes great courage as it is not easily recognized by the world. That courage allows strength to be revealed through our weaknesses and the light of God to shine through us that can begin to light the world around us.
It is not easy to go gently against the tide and leave the path that the world has made; but in following in the footsteps of Jesus Christ who remains the perfect example of beauty, it is always worth it to keep our eyes focused on God alone and truly “go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.” -K.R.