I learned how to dance one summer nearly eight years ago.
I was living with 58 other university students on the other side of the country in Halifax, and two-stepping and salsa dancing were favourite pastimes during those three months together. Some students hailed from the prairies and others from Latin America, and those that knew how taught the rest of us to partner dance on the weekends. One thing I learned about dancing: you can’t simply read about how to do it in a manual; to really learn how to dance, you have to get over your fear of embarrassment and just do it.
I say this because I am a thinker, and it takes a lot to move me to action. Behind every exciting life change and seemingly spontaneous decision is usually an agonizing amount of “what ifs?” I feel way more comfortable reading every manual on life (Brene Brown is worth your time, folks), rather than dancing my way through it. Sure, I can peg this tendency on temperament or upbringing, but in the end, there are endless possibilities to any decision and endless decisions to every possibility. Dwelling on every little thing is sometimes known as analysis paralysis.
I am convinced that God wants more for us. He does not want us slow cooking our way to a mushy, uneventful life. Throughout the scriptures, the Holy Spirit is described as fire, wind, a dove—living, active things. He is a mover, and when we move, He meets us there.
Nearly a year ago, I began feeling an overwhelming sense that I needed to return to B.C. from Ottawa. Based on the circumstances of my life at the time, a move didn’t seem like a logical decision. I shoved it out of my mind but it kept resurfacing in unsettling ways.
In December, while speaking with one of my closest friends, I faintly voiced this desire. Saying it out loud energized me. Two days later, my friend shared a Facebook post advertising a sublet in an ideal neighbourhood of Vancouver for the exact time frame I had mentioned to her. Hesitantly, I approached my boss, asking if remote work from B.C. was a “hypothetical” option. To my honest surprise, within the week, she had approved my request.
I returned home to Vancouver one month before COVID began. My new roommate is an old acquaintance who has quickly become a dear friend and proven to be an instrument of God’s love and healing during this season of my life. We often laugh that we never could have imagined this scenario when I moved in. We’ve been isolated together for six weeks, and God has worked powerfully during this time for both of us.
The Holy Spirit has met me at every stage of the journey when I stopped dampening his nudges and whispered my desires out loud on that December night. St. Augustine said it best when He pondered, “God provides the wind, but man must raise the sail.”
Sometimes we wait for God’s will to hit us like a lightning bolt, but I have discovered that if you really want to see God in action, you simply have to be willing to move; or, as it were, get on the dance floor of life.
With each step, you might stumble. I am confident that He will meet you there and, like a gentleman, He will guide you in the right direction.
“The valiant one whose steps are guided by the Lord, who will delight in his way, may stumble, but he will never fall, for the Lord holds his hand.” (Ps 37:24).
Let us stumble into a life with less fear, trusting that the God of action will meet us there. That is the real adventure.