Kneel, Stand, and Dance

On Sunday morning, seven guest speakers brought us a single message of hope. When your eyes are focused on the hope that stems from a relationship with the Lord, your life shines outward and changes the world around you.

"When life is too hard to stand, kneel."

Erica, our first speaker on Sunday, shared this quote with us, "When life is too hard to stand, kneel." When you're out of prayers, out of words, out of solutions, sometimes all you can do is just kneel in God's presence, and He'll meet you there.
There's something profound about the posture of kneeling. Rather than shaking hands, many cultures have adopted the act of bowing as a sign of respect in greeting. A bow represents deference - "I lower my head below yours to demonstrate that I value you above myself." Kneeling is an extreme kind of bowing. When we bow before God, we say, "Not my will but Yours. You are above me in everything. You are my greatest value."  
If you're like me, the idea of physically kneeling comes with thoughts of aching joints and bruised knees. While I rarely kneel as a bodily posture, I have noticed that when I long for comfort, I go into a mental posture of kneeling. There's a song by 7eventh Time Down called, "Just Say Jesus." The chorus goes like this:
When you don't know what to say
Just Say Jesus
There is power in the Name
The Name of Jesus
If the words won't come
'Cause you're too afraid to pray
Just Say Jesus 
Lately, I've been finding myself in a place where I don't feel in control of either my physical wellbeing or my emotional state. To be honest, there have been several times in the past few weeks that I've just been angry, which is unusual for me. If I bury the emotion in work or distraction, or I vent, I feel like nothing helps. Erica's words on Sunday provided a much-needed reminder. When I close my eyes, bow my soul, and cry out to Jesus, his presence surrounds me and comforts me, calming my fears and anger and helping me to gain some much-needed perspective.

Stand

Imagine a seed growing in the earth. It reaches its roots downward as it stretches its stem and leaves to the sky. The root structure of a tree is usually as wide as its canopy; those roots provide the foundation... the "stickiness"... that holds the tree steady in the presence of gale-force winds. They give the tree balance. Imagine an ice cream cone. If you were to try to balance the cone on the pointy end, it would almost surely fall over. But if you balance the cone on its broad end - the end with the sticky ice cream - it holds steady. 
In the same way, kneeling in the presence of Jesus is like growing roots into the ground (or better yet, it's like ice cream). Jesus steadies us - He balances us - and he gives us the power to stand in the face of whatever comes our way. First, we must kneel, but then we can stand. Craig said it succinctly on Sunday morning, "Defy gravity." Gravity tells the tree that it shouldn't be able to support its amazing canopy so far above the ground, but the root structure below allows the tree to stand firm and to rise above the dirt.

Dance

In our house, we have another saying, "Just do one thing." In my mind, I often find myself chanting, "Left foot, right foot." When you look around your life, your home, your workplace, or your ministry, I'm sure you could find hundreds of things that call for your attention. Trying to do every one of those things at the same time is not just impossible, it's foolish. Until we are no longer time-bound on this planet, our lives are sequential... one thing must come before the next.
"Just do one thing" is our way of reminding one another that we can't solve all the world's problems, nor should we be worrying about the fifth thing on our day's list when the first four haven't been accomplished.
Learning to walk, run, or dance is as sequential as every other thing in our lives. To walk, we must first have the balance to sit (kneel), then to stand, then to take one step. If you lack the balance to stand and walk, learning to dance is virtually impossible. On Sunday morning, I showed a photo of my daughter spinning on the dance floor, arms outstretched and skirts flying. For me, this image represents freedom. In that moment, she wasn't worried about whether she'd trip and fall -- she was fearless. Her joy was contagious; everyone around her could feel it.
I think we often try to do things out of order. Life asks us to dance, so we try to dance before we even have the wherewithal to sit upright, much less stand and walk. It's impossible, and we become frustrated, angry, and discouraged. 
Today, try something new. Close your eyes, kneel before God, and just say, "Jesus." Breathe Him in; be still. Then, defy gravity and rise above your circumstances, trusting in the grounding Jesus has given you. Now that you've found your balance, dance.
- Sarah Jo Smith, Austin TX, 7 August 2020 
- Photo credit: Bill Alewine Photography

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