On the Ninth Day of Christmas
Although I neither saw the movie nor read the book I'm Dancing as Fast as I Can, I invented my own story line: the life of a frazzled mom with her hair in a bun trying to multitask and meet the endless demands of her family, friends, parents, coworkers, boss, and the kids on the block, to name a few.
Or try this title: I'm Doing the Best that I Can. I have declared this quite defensively to others before because I wanted my listeners to acknowledge my efforts and maybe stop to pity me just a bit. I was the frustrated, frowning, and exasperated dancer staying behind the beat, tripping a bit, and landing off cue. But I was trying my hardest, by golly!
The Christmas season comes with many demands and expectations. Better bake the cookies, wrap the gifts, attend the parties and plays, and buy just the right gift for Uncle Bob. Let's not forget "there'll be parties for hosting, marshmallows for toasting and caroling out in the snow." For many of us, it is a whirlwind couple of weeks, with the play button stuck on fast-forward.
Would it surprise you to learn that in addition to twisting and twirling the root word in Hebrew for "dance" means "to writhe in pain or fear, pervert, bear, drive away, fall grievously, grieve, shake, tremble, and be in anguish"? [Hmm...sums up my dancing experience by the way.] Dancing, it seems, is pretty serious business.
Serving others and sacrificing comes with a cost. Unless we dial it back, however, remembering that our dancing is not in vain and that there is a point to our very best efforts, we may never enjoy the effects of our even not-so-gracious movements. Pleasing, honoring, and helping others is extremely important, but this should not be our central goal.
Perhaps our True Love sends us nine ladies dancing to inspire and remind us to consider for whom we are dancing. The Hebrew root word also means "to hope, wait carefully or patiently, and to trust." Although we want to dance as fast as we can in order to please those dear and even not-so-dear to us, perhaps we can learn to shift our focus and make it our plan to praise God's name with our dancing (Psalm 149:3).
His Word tells us that we can do "all things through Him who strengthens" us (Philippians 4:13) and that by His power we can "leap over a wall" (Psalm 18:29). In the twisted mix of my attitudes and actions, I hope I can remember these truths, slow down, and rest in His strength and ability, instead of my own.
O ye, beneath life's crushing load
Whose forms are bending low
Who toil along the climbing way
With painful steps and slow
Look now, for glad and golden hours
Come swiftly on the wing
O rest beside the weary road
And hear the angels sing
"It Came upon a Midnight Clear"
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