So I went salsa dancing recently: six of us girls and zero brave guys. Too bad, because if they only knew how sexy and masculine guys look when they dance, they would take our offer in a heartbeat. Oh wait, there IS that gawky “in between” stage as you learn, so I guess I don’t blame them.
Since this was my second foray into salsa dancing, I was slightly apprehensive, but eager to add to my knowledge of this passionate form of dance. When we arrived at the salsa club, we joined the free salsa lessons already in progress. After learning some new moves, we grabbed partners to practice. I have found that this is where I fail in the arena of dancing. Sure, I can look all confident while I’m shaking my hips alone, but when it comes to applying this knowledge with a partner, say hello to Brooke AKA "Two Left Feet." I found that I simply couldn’t relax and let the guy lead. No matter how casual, I couldn’t get past the fact that my three feet of personal space was being invaded by about two and a half feet. Oh yeah, and I’m in the arms of a complete stranger who happens to be male. All my practice, all my confidence flew out of my head the moment his hand went to my back and I had to follow his direction, most of which I was unable to interpret or follow in a timely manner. Then the dude got this glazed, disappointed look because he was dancing with "that girl." When the song was over, he nodded a pleasant "Thank you" while thinking Thank God I never have to dance with that klutz again. I don’t blame him, poor schmuck.
Yet this is part of learning. Making mistakes, looking like a clown and laughing a million apologies. I can handle that. But as the night wore on, I realized the learning curve had less to do with my awkwardness and more to do with my inability to follow the man’s lead. Who was making all the mistakes? I was. And why? Because I tried to take the lead instead of allowing my partner-of-the-moment to twist and turn me at his whim. I’d try to anticipate his next move and execute it without giving him free reign. I would not submit.
Realizing that I tried to take control from a stranger in something as simple as a dance, I thought back to past friendships and relationships with guys and how I responded. It floored me. I tend to be controlling and take the lead if no one else does. Of course, I am going to pin this predisposition on my ancestor, because I have a feeling she is a bit to blame. Why was Eve talking to the serpent in the first place? How come she took the apple? Why did she persuade Adam to eat instead of asking if they should? Control. Dominance. Grasping for a role she wasn’t created for. Leading when she should follow. Don’t get me wrong. I don’t think men are superior to women, nor should they “control” them, and I won’t even address Adam’s complete silence! Women are excellent leaders. But I’m beginning to realize that the sin of Eve extends to her daughters, and a woman’s desire to control and manipulate when she shouldn’t stems from original sin. When we should be feminine and nurturing as God created us, we are instead divisive, grasping and catty. When we should be both gentle and strong, we are brash and aggressive. Why?
So as my friends and I were driving home at 1:30 in the morning, we discussed our salsa experience. One began relating our difficulties in following a guy’s lead in dancing to our own relationship with God. The dance of life is so much easier when we finally relax, let go and allow Him to lead. So why is it the hardest thing for us to do sometimes? Why do I control and put restrictions on my relationship with God? Why do I fight so hard to maintain my “three feet of personal space” instead of falling into His arms and allowing Him to swing me gracefully across the dance floor?
For each of us, there are plenty of factors. We have our stupid baggage, our “issues.” Trust. Fear. Doubt. Insecurity. Control. It’s fascinating how this extends into our relationships with others too, as our relational habits take their cue from our most important relationship.
As we watched the dancers Thursday night, the skilled Latin ladies made salsa look like pure art. The more they allowed their partner to lead, the more at ease they became with his wild turns, low dips and chaotic rhythms, something happened. They became more graceful and beautiful on the dance floor. As he led, the man made his female partner look great. They were one. Their movements and motions complemented and corresponded perfectly. The longer they spent in each other’s arms directly correlated to their ability to anticipate the other’s movements, allowing them to become fluid and attempt more difficult steps.
It is the same way with God. When we give Him full control, when we allow Him to lead, it becomes easier, and we become more beautiful. The longer we spend in His arms, the better we become, and we are able to tackle difficult moves with ease. We become one with God, able to feel the gentle pressure of His hand on our back, giving us direction and guidance. When we submit ourselves wholly, we become the feminine (or masculine), graceful creatures He designed us to be.
Maybe my salsa dancing will always be gawky and unskilled, but I pray that my own dance with God only grows in beauty and grace.[Brooke Wesson is a guitar instructor/secretary and along with stepping on guys’ toes while dancing, she enjoys playing her guitar and pondering how often the small things in life always point back to the Creator.]