I Gotta Dance

This morning my daughter said one of the cutest and oddly profound things she has ever said in her short life so far. We were eating breakfast and I had plugged my iPod into the stereo and we were listening to some music. When she heard it, she first said, "yeah, music!" Then a couple minutes later we were sitting around the table eating our oatmeal and she said, "I gotta dance!" Of course being the good father I am I said, "you have to finish your oatmeal first."

After a few minutes I really started thinking about what she said. She had to dance. Not "I want to dance," but "I've gotta dance." Its amazing how the things that our kids say can really speak into our lives and humble us in profound ways.

When we were little kids, its likely that we felt the same way Karoline did when she heard the music. We would dance freely, sing, and jump without worrying at all about what those around us thought. However as we grow older and "mature" we are taught about shame, and that there is a time and a place for everything. One of the places I was taught was not the time nor the place for dancing, jumping, and being undignified was church. My parents didn't teach me this, the church leadership and tradition did. That's a bit sad. I remember going to camps in the summer and seeing other kids going crazy during the fast songs, raising their hands during the slow songs, and bowing to their knees when the Holy Spirit led them. All of the kids from our church would make fun of them. We thought they were freaks. We had been trained to not express ourselves to God...send us to a college football game or a concert and we were dancing , clapping, and screaming with everyone else but church was not the time nor the place.

As a church leader I refuse to allow this to happen at Bay Hills. In fact, our youth group are some of the best worship leaders we have. They sit at the front of the church (when most people prefer to sit farther back), they sing loud, raise their hands, even fall face-down on the dirty gym floor when the Spirit leads. I can't get them to sit down, its great.

So let me ask you this question: does your outward appearance show the joy, that as a Christ-follower, you should have welling up within you. What is more honoring to God, to stand amazed, in complete surrender to Him without fear of how it looks or what people think, or to cross your arms and stand with a stoic look on your face? Some people deny the importance of outward expressions of worship but deep down, I think they know that its important. Time after time the Bible talks about people falling to their knees, face-down, bowing, raising holy hands, shouting to the Lord, clapping, dancing, and on and on because of their experience with God whether through witnessing a miracle, experiencing Jesus first hand, or being filled with the Holy Spirit.

So I guess the big question that Karoline raised to me is, "do I gotta dance." Or is it enough to just be cool and not show my emotions. Is God enough to make you dance or do you need something more, because as far as the Bible sees anything we need beyond God to bring us into worship (whether its of God, a football team, a band, or anything else) is an idol.

I'm gonna do my best to get the place where I just gotta dance.