Greg's patience waned. Despite his commendable efforts, his choreography looked more like a fight than a dance.
It was my fault. Troy, my partner, tried his best, but couldn't do anything with me. He laughed in frustration...probably to keep from crying. "I'm trying, Greg, but she's stronger than she looks."
It wasn't only that I wasn't a great dancer. It was who I was.
You see, dancing with a partner has the same effect as baking with small children--it exposes you for the control freak you are.
"Relax. Let go," Greg said.
I'd heard the equivalent of this admonition many times before. I've heard it many times since.
"Let go and let God."
"Let it go, let it go...can't hold it back anymore..."
"Control is an illusion."
You'd think I would've learned by now. I mean, look. at. my. hair.
Not to mention that everything I once held dear crumbled to dust in my hands. But no, I content myself to build doomed castles with the rubble and sand.
I'm too easily content.
And I'm too easily tricked into work that God has already done. I try to earn the love that's already mine. I try to manipulate God into doing what I want Him to do by good behavior. I seize the reins of my life, and instead of a dance, my walk with God looks like a fight, and I'm left tired and filthy and no better off for my efforts.
I may be more aware of my lack of control today than I was five years ago, but that doesn't mean the control-freakiness is gone. It's still there. It's just sneakier than it was before.
It's like pride--every time I think I've beaten the habit, it pops back up somewhere else...like a relentless game of Whack-A-Mole.
Well, this one's easy. "God."
"Who's responsible for keeping your salvation?"
"And who's responsible for your sanctification?"
"The Holy Spirit...God."
"What are you responsible for?"
I blinked. "Umm...to cooperate?"
An interesting thing for the Lord to bring up. Earlier that day, I had read the story of the crippled woman Jesus healed in Luke 13. Verse 11 describes her as "a woman who had a spirit of infirmity eighteen years, and was bent over and could in no way raise herself up."
Jesus saw her. He called her to Him, and told her, "Woman, you are loosed from your infirmity."
Even after reading this, I asked God what I could do to prepare for my prayer ministry session. "Should I fast, God? If so, what should I fast from?"
Insert cosmic eye roll.
The crippled woman did nothing to secure her salvation. She was just there, hanging out in the synagogue, making space for Jesus.
For my healing, spiritual and physical, there is nothing to do. There's nothing I can do. I can't raise myself up. Every time I try, I mess up the dance.
As my friend told me, the only thing I'm responsible for is crucifying the flesh (Gal. 5:24). Though, to be truthful, I'd prefer a bazooka. A bazooka seems faster and less painful somehow.
But there is a way to forget the pain. To forget you're dying because you're so alive.
"Look into his eyes," Greg said. "Let him lead you."
I took a deep breath, locked eyes with Troy, and stepped into his arms.
And just like that, I was dancing.