Woman dancing outside of a stone tunnel

The Reason We Dance

Oct 28, 2019

He approached me at my book table after a speaking engagement. A young guy, maybe mid-thirties, clean-cut and professional. He stood in line behind a half-dozen others. When he made it to the front, I threw out my hand and smiled.

“Hi, there. I’m Michele. Nice to meet you!”

He must’ve offered his name, but I don’t remember it. I only remember what he said next.

“I owe you an apology.”

An apology? I couldn’t imagine what for. 

He nodded. “Yes. An apology. When you stepped on stage and started to speak, the first thing I thought was, ‘Ugh. The last thing I want to do it sit here and listen to a woman with a lisp.’ I almost walked out.”

Ouch.  

“But then you shared your story. And I’m sorry. This proves how selfish and short-sighted I can be.”

For the next several minutes we talked, shared a little real life in the church foyer. I thanked him for his honesty, told him it inspired me. Who of us hasn’t been guilty of a snap judgment? Within a few minutes, we said goodbye as new friends.

Fast forward a few weeks. I received an email. Another stranger, more unexpected words.

I listened to one of your podcasts, and I couldn’t help but notice—and be distracted by—your speaking lisp … 

The email went on to give me well-intentioned advice on how I could—and should—do what I can to fix it. The writer had stumbled upon my podcast and quickly wrote to offer advice. Good intentions, no doubt.

Even so, not easy to hear. And my first impulse after these two back-to-back blows? To stop talking and hide.

As a whole, humans don’t like evidence of humanity. And we certainly don’t like it on public display. It makes us uncomfortable, the disabilities and diseases and mental illnesses and familial dysfunctions.

It’s easier to pull away or correct, rather than to draw close and love. 

There’s a story in 2 Samuel 6 of a man named David. After years of hardship, persecution and wilderness living, he marched toward Jerusalem to assume a new role as king. However, he knew more than anyone how close to death he’d come. He didn’t take the day for granted. Thus, as he followed the Ark of the Covenant into Jerusalem, the Israelite’s evidence of God’s Presence, David danced.

An outrageous, unhindered, and very public dance.

However, as David danced, his wife, Michal, watched her husband’s theatrics from a window and “despised him in her heart.” (2 Samuel 6:16). 

David was being ridiculous. Making a fool of himself. His dancing was distracting, annoying. To do it in private was one thing. But to make himself a public spectacle? She was mortified. So she confronted him, shamed him. And this is how David responded:

“It was before the LORD, who chose me …

 

I will celebrate before the LORD. I will become even more undignified than this, and I will be humiliated in my own eyes … “

 

—2 Samuel 6:21-22a

In other words, I’m not dancing for you, Michal. I’m doing it for Him.

After considering David’s dancing and Michal’s judging, I’m reminded of two hard truths:

ONE, we all have a bit of Michal in us. We want people to behave well, to get their act together and keep their sins to themselves. We can be patient with problems for a day or week or month. But sooner or later, flawed people need to figure it out, clean themselves up, show some progress. In our Michal-moments, we have no patience for people who don’t play by the rules and pull themselves together. We’re far more concerned about preserving our own dignity than offering it. 

And TWO, when faced with our humanity, we will be tempted to hide. To let our flaws and brokenness push us into dark, lonely corners. We will want to acts like kings and pretend we have it all together. We’ll spend an extraordinary amount of energy trying to preserve our dignity. After all, to tell the truth about where we’ve been, who we are, and how desperate we need rescue might risk humiliation. 

But here’s the truth: I’m tired of playing that game. 

I am a heart-wrecked, speech-flawed, sin-broken woman whose human body and pieced-together family show obvious evidence of wounds. I have zero dignity of my own. 

However, because of Jesus, I carry the living and active presence God himself. He is my dignity, my glory, my worth. My wounds are covered by His, my disgrace transformed by His extravagant love. 

That means I will dance, even if it makes the Michal’s of the world squirm. Because I don’t do it for them; I do it for Him.

How about you, my friend? Are you tired of the game? Don’t you think it’s high-time to dance? You’ve spent so many years trying to be good enough, strong enough, righteous enough. But you’ve forgotten: The Presence goes with you, behind and before. You don’t need to waste any more days trying to prove yourself worthy of love.

Your indignity is His glory. 

And He already loves you. 

Have you pre-ordered Relentless? Order before November 12, 2019 to receive $150 worth of bonus resources for FREE. All you need to do is: (1) Order the book!  (2) Enter your order number and email HERE. Boom! Tons of faith-rich resources sent directly to your inbox. Enjoy!

bright sky with clouds

23 Comments

  1. Jackie M. Johnson

    Excellent blog! Thank you for your insight and inspiration.

    Reply
    • Michele Edlin

      Michele…fellow Coloradian via Tx. here. Dont ever stop encouraging and writing. Gods strong and gentle voice rings through your courage and pen.
      Been a fan for a while. Your life
      Speaks of Gods mystery every time I read.

      Reply
  2. Lin

    Oh wow! Yes, you should dance before the Lord. May God bless you, dear sister.

    Reply
  3. Dawn

    A perfect example of why I adore you so! Your wisdom is so “On Point”. The heart of the Father just glows in your words!!! Thank you

    Reply
  4. Dorie Etrheim

    Thank you so much for this post! From one who has hid too long and needs to dance! Thank you for sharing this truth!

    Reply
    • Carol

      Thank you for your honesty. It provided a moment of clarity and insight for me. I, too, have hidden for way too long and need to dance. Several years of trials have strangely set me free and I realize I am ready to embrace the woman that God made me to be and to dance in the purposes He planned for me in eternity past.

      Reply
  5. Linda Hoenigsberg

    Needed that one! I took dancing for years, moved ahead of my age group several times…still feel envy when I watch others….and a sense of shame at the way I walk now thar]t my depth perception is gone and I have double vision. I spend WAY too much physical and emotional energy trying to appear “normal.” Indeed to remember my audience of “One.”

    Reply
    • Anon

      There are several ways I’d like to “dance” but my behavior or words or actions are criticised if not what my husband is ok with. I’m not me, I feel.

      Reply
  6. Lisa Moehlenpah

    Beautiful. You are.

    Reply
  7. Donna C Ahlberg

    Thank you for the reminder to just Dance! I will sing, dance, and show my love to the one that matters

    Reply
  8. Tricia Ann

    I made a comment to God not too long ago about how I sometimes feel forgotten and invisible. I can’t tell you how many times God has given me reassurance through devotionals that I am unique and wonderfully formed and loved. Because my husband has been through the same situation, I have become much more sensitive to the wives of sick husbands we see and meet at the hospitals. I always want to be reassuring and caring to their situations. Isn’t God good. He remembers us and loves us beyond measure. I want to dance!!

    Reply
  9. Lisa

    Oh Michele, this hits home. I shared something publicly and was shamed by a family member for doing so. I chose to do so because I was grieving, sharing and showing truth. The replies and feedback I received was truly beautiful and supportive…except for one that was so the opposite. Oh how the tongue can wield a deadly sword.

    I love what you shared because that is exactly why I shared what I did. It wasn’t for them…it was glory to God and honor to my mother. You’ve taught me so much through your story and I’m so very grateful to have found you. Thank you for this message. Let’s dance!

    Reply
  10. LisaD

    Thank you so much for these words of yours! Yes, I am so tired of the game…. I don’t even know the rules. I, too, am a heart-broken woman who has lived as best I can in a world that beats us all down. I claim God’s good grace this morning.

    Reply
  11. Carol

    Thank you for your honesty. It provided a moment of clarity and insight for me. I, too, have hidden for way too long and need to dance. Several years of trials have strangely set me free and I realize I am ready to embrace the woman that God made me to be and to dance in the purposes He planned for me in eternity past.

    Reply
    • Vicki Schlupp

      You are beautiful and inspiring. I’m doing your devotional book now. Learning so much. Keep dancing!

      Reply
  12. Trudy

    I’m so sorry for the hurts you endure because of your speech, Michele. Thank you so much for being vulnerable. This post really touches a deep part in me. Thank you so much for reminding me that we live for God. I loved your book I AM, and I plan to order Relentless. I just watched the trailer, and one of the truths you mention melts me to tears – “God’s Presence is in the pain.” I need to remember that! Love and blessings to you! Keep dancing for God!

    Reply
  13. Susan Long

    Anyone who has read what you have gone through will never make fun of your speech, but marvel at your ability through Christ to speak at all! Your speech is music to my ears because it reminds me of the strength God gives you and of his eternal presence in your life. Keep speaking, keep dancing! Thank you for your inspiration.

    Reply
  14. Barbara

    Michele, Thank you for encouraging us to dance – to let go of our dignity and reach for his glory. I love reading your posts – always a nugget of wisdom and a helping of encouragement. Blessings to you!

    Reply
  15. Laura

    The first time I heard you I realized you had been through some kind of illness. Then you told your of your experience. Now all I hear is you. I don’t hear anything but your own unique voice. People are thoughtless to say otherwise. I really enjoy your pod casts and emails. I love your honesty and depth.

    Reply
  16. Kimberly Ann Matlock

    Just have two words for ya today….THANK YOU1

    Reply
  17. Demetre

    Thank you. Beautiful reminder of Who we are “dancing” for.

    Reply
  18. LARONDA BOURN

    A little over six years ago, my brain and body were changed dramatically, and nothing seems to be the same anymore. When you mention your speech, I truly get it! Ironically, this post showed up in my inbox four days before I posted my own experience with feeling “less than.” However, because I work full-time, I was trying so hard to pull together the post I’d been working on that I hadn’t read much of anything for a few days. Imagine how I felt when the first thing I read once I was done was your struggle. It’s here if you’re interested: https://larondasworld.blog/2019/11/01/spilling-your-guts-101/. I don’t have many followers, and that’s good because I believe I know I’m not yet the woman God intends to have write about his love for those who feel so inherently flawed and unlovable. But if he can use me, I’m willing to be molded (I hope!) I’m so glad I found you!

    Reply

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