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September 11, 2023

I Found God On the Dance Floor - Day 6 of #imperfect10

By Catherine Ballas

The year was 1995. Friends, ER, and Seinfeld kept us glued to the “tube.” 90’s hip hop was at its prime and was my jam. On weekends I would set up my Dad’s Sony Handycam and video myself making TLC’s next music video or Montel Jordan’s choreography for “This Is How We Do It.” Saturdays were DEDICATED to dancing. Hours of dancing. I am convinced that my parents are the most patient humans on this planet. At what point does the “watch me” request become mind-numbing? Three requests in? Ten? Is there a quota?

The point being: I loved dancing. And still do. Dancing is in my DNA, it’s in my bones.

I bet it’s in yours too. Think back to when you were 5, 6, 7, or 8. (See what I did there?) Can you picture yourself as a child, eyes opened and letting loose? Maybe the memory is too far gone. Maybe it’s in your back pocket.

As we grow older we lose this child-likeness. For some of us that looks like losing our curiosity or our boldness. For others, we lose the ability to be playful or our ability to “dance.”

I remember the moment when the joy of dancing was taken away from me. I was in a church culture where we were asked to use our God-given gifts to serve the church. Naturally, if there was anything dance-related I was in. Put me on your hip-hop dance team. I’m there. This looked like mission trips, conferences, and Sunday services. I even choreographed a wedding dance or two and had a short stint of calling Square Dances.

I absolutely loved it.

With anything we love, along with joy there’s also the guarantee of pain. Twists, turns, and speed bumps are a sure part of our paths. One of those twists happened during a moment of prayer. A leader in the church I was in was praying for me and said that she felt like God was taking me into a season of hiding. A season where dance needed to be placed on the back burner…and maybe for good.

I did just that. I placed it on the altar. I hid myself. I played small. I began to slowly silence myself.

What we believe about God and people matters. In that moment, I believed a person over what I knew to be true from God. God created me to dance… in every season.

That season shaped and changed my faith. Some would say that it was weakened, but looking back that season strengthened my faith in ways that no other season could.

Your story may not be the same as mine, but I bet you’ve watched something you’ve loved slip through your fingers. Maybe an injury or a health issue forced you on the sideline. Maybe someone said a harsh word that discouraged you or shamed you for trying. Or maybe you wrote yourself off when your best efforts “fell short.”

Don’t lose heart just yet.

Fast forward to a Soul Train in a group fitness class at Gold’s Gym in 2011. Picture it: 40 men and women lined up across from one another while one person bravely solo danced down the train.

That was me.

My friend encouraged me (aka pushed me) to go down that Soul Train. I moonwalked my way right past the wide eyes of Angela and Emily.

I remember them grabbing me by the arm and saying, “You’re really good - you should come to our classes.”

And the rest, as they say, is history.

I experienced God on the dance floor that day. Joy had been restored and freedom was found on that hardwood. I experienced His ability to resurrect a broken dream and a broken heart. It was on that dance floor that I remembered that I was made to move. From the tiny cowboy boots to the worn-out Nike’s - these feet and this body were made to move.

Transformation begins with belonging.

Belonging begins with seeing. It’s in being brave and bold enough to allow someone to see us that we start to see ourselves again.

We use the phrase around here, “Call up and call out.” Another way of saying it is, “If you see something good, say something.” Angela and Emily saw something in me that I had discarded, let go of, and written off. They saw me. The part of me I had forgotten. In moments we can’t see ourselves, it’s often the voice of another that reminds us of who we are. Someone else’s belief in us can be the catalyst we need to begin to move again.

I hope today you hear me say, “I see you and I believe in you.” You are not a product of your past. You are not the harsh words someone spoke over you. You are not the shame that has clouded you. May you move today. Whatever that looks like on you - may you move like you’re made to move. May you move in goodness, in joy, and in freedom.

Reflect on your journey:

Where did you find joy as a child?
When was the last time you experienced joy? What did it look like? Where were you? Who were you with? Was there an activity involved?
Is there anything you need to pick up again? Something that was put aside or taken from you?
Where can you “see the good and say something” in the life of someone else today?



| Keep Reading: The Imperfect Story of Us by Angela Beeler >>