Recently I was sharing with a friend about how I used to praise dance at church back-in-the-day. Back when my knees didn’t crack when I stood up….
Dancing Like David
I was a dancer from a very young age, starting with ballet, but I didn’t know what it really meant to dance like David before the Lord (2 Samuel 6:14) until I became a part of the Angels of Praise. Let’s face it, I don’t think my booty shaking dance moves of my teens and early 20s would have been seen as praise. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy dancing to secular music too, I’m not trying to pretend that I don’t have any Tupac or Janet in my playlist (I know….I’m dating myself), but there is an inexplicable feeling I get when I’m dancing solely for His Glory.
Not every Christian denomination includes dance as part of their worship service. I didn’t grow up in a church that did. But as an adult, when I married and joined the church my husband grew up in, I saw how the Angels of Praise, a group of young ladies who worship through dance, helped the congregation to praise God. I joined the group and made lifelong friends with these sisters-in-Christ.
You might be saying, “Okay Jamila, but what does this have to do with trusting Him? Isn’t this blog post supposed to be about this month’s theme?”
Yes…and it is…
Trusting Him With My Praise
As I was looking back through old videos to share with my friend, I found this one.
Yep, that’s me, dancing solo at a women’s retreat back in 2014.
No fancy stage or musical accompaniment. The music was playing from my iPhone through a cheap shower speaker I had brought.
What you watched is just me, standing before the Lord and my sisters-in-Christ, dancing from the heart. Dancing not for entertainment, but as a form of worship.
Although I know this dance ministered to the women who attended, what they didn’t know was that this is a dance I would do all alone in my house whenever I felt like I was going to fall apart. This song and this dance was my way of ministering to myself.
You see, this dance was my way of praising God and telling Him I trusted Him, even though I was broken.
I choreographed this in a season when I felt extremely hopeless and depressed, because my husband and I had accepted that we might not ever be blessed with a biological child. I was physically drained and broken after multiple unsuccessful infertility treatments and one that resulted in a devastating miscarriage. I was emotionally broken from the guilt of not being able to give my husband a child, our parents grandchildren or my brother a little niece or nephew. I was angry at God for allowing me to feel this pain and allowing my dream of motherhood to be crushed. I was angry at God for allowing so many others to give birth to multiple children when I couldn’t even have one.
I was in a season of desperately trying to stop myself from asking “Why me”? I was in a place where I barely had any trust left, BUT, I still trusted God. Even though I didn’t understand His plan, even though I was still trying to fight my way out of the depression anger and pain, I longed to trust Him. So all I could give was my broken Hallelujah.
All I could do was say “Your Will Lord, not mine, I trust You even if you never bless me again. What you’ve already done for me is enough.”
In this dance you see me banging my hands on the ground. That’s literally how I felt. So angry. I was so confused. Feeling like I literally had nothing left. Like I was empty. Upset and angry but also knowing that all I could do is desperately reach out to Him for help. I had hit rock bottom. But even in that place, where I didn’t have the “right” words to say, I could dance my Hallelujah.
Broken But Not Destroyed
It’s crazy for me to watch this video now, over 6 years later and to remember what was going on in my heart and mind while I was dancing. To realize that this was a dance of praise, but also of surrender. A dance that reaffirmed my acceptance of God’s sovereign Will in my life.
It was my way of bowing before Him, even in my brokenness, to express my trust. And watching it now makes me smile, because little did that younger (and in better shape) me know that a few short months later, He would drop the idea for loved and blessed in my spirit. That He would start to heal the pain with a new dream and help me find fulfillment in His purpose for my life. That same year was the year that loved+blessed was born and we shipped our first box of encouragement.
I may have felt completely broken, but I still trusted Him with the tiny mustard seed of faith I had left and He has been faithful tenfold.
“Delight yourself in the LORD, and He will give you the desires of your heart.”
But it wasn’t until years later that I realized that I was reading this scripture from a self-centered place. I realized that every word of scripture is true and Psalm 37:4 applied to me too….just not in the self-centered way I was reading it.
“We must make God our heart’s delight and then we shall have our heart’s desire.” — Matthew Henry
I realized that I wasn’t fully trusting Him because I thought He hadn’t given me the desire of my heart. But He is the desire of my heart. Him and Him alone. When He became the true center of my life, then my desires became His desires. Yes, I still want a child, but I’m content because more than a child, I want His Will in my life. I want to make Him proud.
Doing what I do now through loved+blessed is my way of delighting myself in the Lord and through it He has given me desires of my heart that I didn’t realize existed. He’s fulfilled me in ways I didn’t know I needed.
The Message translation of the Bible phrases Psalm 37:4 as “Keep company with God, get in on the best.” In other words, this scripture isn’t about God giving us a thing we desire. It’s urging us to have a relationship with God, to delight ourselves by spending time with Him. When we do that, He will give us His best which will fulfill the desires of our hearts.
Our true heart’s desire is not a specific object or thing or even outcome. It’s our desire to be loved, full of joy, at peace and cared for. When we delight in Him, He gives us that - fulfilling our hearts desire.
The very next verse, Psalm 37:5, tells us to “Commit your way to the LORD; trust in Him and He will do this.”
So if we prioritize Him as our delight, rather than the things we want and we put our trust in Him, He will bring forth our righteousness (Psalm 37:6)
Did you catch that?
Delighting ourselves in the Lord is about our righteousness. Isn’t that what it’s ALL about!? Growing in our character, so we are more like Christ, so that our righteousness would shine before men, that they might see our good works and glorify our Father in Heaven. (Matthew 5:16)
So I urge you to trust Him with everything. Trust Him with your joy, trust Him with your struggles. Trust Him even when things hurt or don’t make sense. As I write this blog post, we are experiencing the effects of a global pandemic. This is a season when our trust in God is being challenged.
I believe that God is good all the time.
I believe that He ultimately is working things out for good even when I see so many in so much pain.
I believe that He allows bad things to happen for a reason and I trust Him anyway.
This isn’t a blind trust. I accept the reality of the challenges we are currently facing and that this pandemic has and will result in a long-term change of life as we know it. I speak from a global perspective, recognizing that it has effected every part of the world and will have a ripple effect for generations to come.
BUT GOD is still good. He is still on the throne. If I’ve learned one thing from reading the Bible, sermon notes I’ve taken, personal testimonies I’ve heard and my own life experiences, it’s this…
“You can trust Him even when things don’t make sense. You can trust Him even when you can’t see how things could possibly get better. You can trust Him even when you are feeling hopeless. All you need is a mustard seed of faith to fuel your trust and He can work miracles with even a broken hallelujah.” — xoxo Jamila
Be an encourager and share this post with someone who needs to hear this.
What are your thoughts on Psalm 37:4-5?
Comment below, I’d love to hear from you.
Jamila is the founder of loved+blessed. On her personal mission to leave a legacy of encouragement, she blogs about her own life lessons with the hope that it will bring joy into others’ lives and help them find the courage to keep walking in faith knowing that all things work together for the good of those who love the Lord. Read her testimony of how God turned her misery into ministry.