Sometimes, it is in the unexpected places that God speaks to me. Sometimes, God uses a ballet class to challenge me.
I was sitting in the 'parent observation class' of my youngest daughter's ballet class. As her teacher shared what they were doing the last few months I felt a gentle nudge of the Holy Spirit to pay attention. The teacher shared that they learned to start and end their exercises with a pose, standing still and focusing. This, I learned, is a universal practice in all ballet schools whether they be in the US, France, Russia or anywhere. The students stop talking, become quiet, stand still and focus - in a beautiful ballet pose. Then, they do what they are asked to do with focus and concentration. Seeing a group of 8 year old girls practice this was cute.
The same day in the evening I sat in the 'parent observation class' of my 12 year old. Now, those girls work hard. They do exercises I feel my muscles hurt only looking at them. The teacher explained to the students what they were going to do and to this day I have no clue how they remember all those different steps, positions and order of each movement of each specific exercise. There was some chatter and giggling among the students but as soon as the music started, the took a pose for several moments – just as I now expected them to do after hearing that morning how this is done as a rule in any ballet studio. Then, they went through their exercise and ended again with a pose of standing still, relaxing. Now, I am fully aware of the fact that what they were doing is very challenging, hard work, tiring and stretching. However, it looked... Peaceful. Graceful. Focused. Light. Beautiful.
And I wondered, if we all should take some basic ballet lessons! Because this foundational approach of becoming still to be able to focus on what needs to be done and do it well, as well as finishing in the same pose is hugely different than what I'm inclined to do. Why is it, that so many of us are tired, worn out or even burned out? How would it look like, if we started the new year in that pose of stillness, focusing, or simply being? How would it look like, if we started each morning with becoming aware who we are, what we are supposed to do and in whose presence we are? How would it look like, if we started each e-mail we write, phone call we take, conversation we walk into or each decision we make with that moment of being still?
Would our lives and ministries look differently, if we finished our work, our ministry, our day or our tasks with that same pose of becoming still and ending well? Would people notice? Would our spouses, our children notice a difference? Would we be known as serving God in a peaceful way? Would we look graceful, focused, light and beautiful?
Jesus invited us to come to him and learn his rhythm grace. Especially those of us who are tired. Jesus said: “Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.” Matthew 11:28-30 (MSG)
Living freely and lightly is such a beautiful thing to observe in others. And it is such a gentle invitation for us. Somehow, I'm thankful God pointed this question at me. The question: how does your "pose" these days look like? How am I keeping company with Jesus these days? I wouldn't want to just charge ahead and do things my way, would I? Because if I do, I might need some ballet lessons after all...
How about you? How does your pose look like?
Photo by Nihal Demirici on Unsplash