Encouragement for Today
“Don’t Look Down” – Part 2
Marybeth Whalen, Proverbs 31 Speaker Team Member
I Thessalonians 4:11-12, “Make it your ambition to live a quiet life, to mind your own business and to work with your hands, just as we told you. So that your daily life may win the respect of outsiders and so that you will not depend on anybody.” (NIV)
When I was a little girl, I took dancing lessons. I was never a terrific dancer, but I enjoyed learning the routines and gearing up for the big recital at the end of the year. It always seemed that no matter how much I practiced and concentrated, though, I could never remember all the steps to the dances. I was usually a bundle of nerves as my dance class took the stage. Would I mess up? If I did, would anyone notice?
I learned that it helped if I focused on the dance teacher, who was usually standing where we could see her, dancing right along with us. I also learned that the worst thing I could do was pay too much attention to my own feet shuffling through the steps. Inevitably, by looking down at my feet, I would lose my concentration and fall sadly out of step.
I have been thinking about this analogy in my own life lately. In yesterday’s devotion, we talked about not spending time looking around us for others’ approval and affirmation. Another truth that accompanies this one is to not look down at our feet as we try so hard to stay in step. Just like it helped me to focus on my dance teacher, so we must keep our focus on the “Lord of The Dance,” as the Steven Curtis Chapman song says.
There are several steps involved with doing this:
Stay focused on your own routine and don’t try to follow the dance others are doing. Sure, they might be performing a ballet that takes your breath away—but don’t let that distract you from performing the tap dance of a lifetime. Dance for an audience of One, and He will add His beauty to your humble offering.
Don’t let the critics stop you from dancing with all your heart. Invariably, others will make negative comments that have the potential of convincing you to trade in your tap shoes. Keep dancing according to the routine God has designed just for you. Embrace the uniqueness of your dance and let Him be glorified. Someday those same critics may become the very ones praising your dance. But you have to keep dancing to your own beat for that to ever happen.
Don’t let the sin of vanity, pride or self-focus keep you from continuing to practice your routine. Daily time with the Teacher will further your skill. Don’t grow complacent about the honor of dancing for the King. Determine to give God your best performance every day.
If you get tempted to look down at your own feet and take your focus off the Lord, pray that He would convict you and redirect your steps. Ask Him to be the “lifter of your head,” so that you can refocus on Him during those times in your life.
Dance for Him alone and don’t use your dance in an attempt to bring glory to yourself. If you find yourself seeking significance, identity, purpose or validation from the world’s audience, go back to why you were called in the first place. Return to your first love and dance solely for the joy that will certainly bring you.
My Prayer for Today:
Dear Lord, You are the Lord of the Dance. Thank You for crafting an extraordinary routine for me that only I can perform. Help me to learn from You and to focus on You as I try so hard to stay in step. Help me not to get caught up in what others are doing, or to pay too much attention to what I look like. I know that when I stay focused on You, Lord, You will make my dance a thing of beauty. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Don’t spend time looking down studying your own feet, look up! Spend time in God’s Word and in prayer. Ask Him to help you remember your priorities this week as you stay in step with the routine He has designed for you. Don’t let others’ priorities distract you from your own. Spend time in prayer if this is a struggle for you.
What are my priorities?
Why has God given me this dance at this time?
How is my dance special and unique?
How can I make my dance a beautiful offering before God?
James 4:10, “Humble yourselves before the Lord and He will lift you up.” (NIV)
Psalm 123:1, “I lift up my eyes to you, to you whose throne is in Heaven.” (NIV)
Hebrews 12:1, “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.” (NIV)
Jeremiah 10:23, “I know, Oh Lord, that a man’s life is not his own; it is not for man to direct his steps.” (NIV)
Psalm 149:3-4, “Let them praise His name with dancing and make music to Him with tambourine and harp. For the Lord takes delight in His people; He crowns the humble with salvation.” (NIV)
Proverbs 4:12, “When you walk, your steps will not be hampered; when you run you will not stumble.” (NIV)
What Happens When Women Walk in Faith, by Lysa TerKeurst
Becoming a Woman Who Listens to God, by Sharon Jaynes
Message of the Month Club
Originally published Friday, 19 August 2005.