I have always loved to dance. When I was younger, I invented my own funky moves. (And performed them randomly in public!) As a teen, I joined the high school dance team. In college, I took a ballroom dancing class, just for fun. And as an adult, I discovered a love for Latin dancing.
…but I have NEVER been a ballerina. Ballet seems to require far more grace and poise than this dabbler-in-dance possesses.
My 5-year-old twin daughters are currently taking ballet classes. Every week I watch a roomful of little sweeties dressed in tights and tutus as they learn the basics of ballet. They carefully listen to the dance teacher as she instructs them to point their toes this way or hold their arms that way.
But at home, my girls’ dance techniques are a far cry from graceful! In the comfort of our kitchen, they dance their little hearts out with abandon and spin around wildly…until they fall flat on their cute little faces. They don’t bother controlling their movements or pointing their toes. They just basically flail around until someone gets hurt.
It makes me consider how differently professional ballerinas execute their dance steps. Every movement is deliberate. Every motion measured. And when they pirouette, there are intentional precautions taken to ensure that they do NOT end up flat on their faces.
Experienced ballerinas fix their eyes on a single location as they spin around; this is called “spotting.” The goal of spotting is to maintain constant orientation and prevent unsteadiness.
It reminds me of Hebrews 12:2, which exhorts us to “fix our eyes on Jesus.” And 2 Corinthians 4:18 encourages us to “fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen; since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.”
I love this quote by author Selwyn Huges, “Life goes better when we know how to glance at things but gaze at God. Seeing Him clearly will enable us to see all other things clearly.”
When our eyes (and thoughts and hearts) are focused on our circumstances, we can quickly spin out of control and end up flat on our faces. But when our “spotting point” is Jesus and His eternal perspective, we can “maintain constant orientation and prevent unsteadiness.”
For me this is a timely reminder. In the next few weeks, I have 2 events and 3 speaking engagements to prepare for. And I just found out I have shingles. On my face. This is when I could start spinning out of control, flailing until I fall right on my already-hurting face. But I have a choice when life starts feeling too challenging, demanding, and chaotic. I can take a deep breath and ask myself, “Where am I fixing my eyes? Is my gaze focused on my circumstances, or centered on the only One who can truly steady me?” I don’t have to fall; I can try “spotting” instead.
Every step we take CAN be a beautiful dance…when we let Jesus lead and center us.