The entire audience laughed. And I froze.
It’s a story mama recounts ever so often about my ballet debut.
“You were probably five or six-years-old at the time, and you started out fine. But everyone began laughing and you froze; wouldn’t budge until the dance was over.”
No graceful gliding in my pink ballet shoes.
No tutu springing as my body bounced in unison with the other dancers.
No bending or bowing like a gentle willow.
No motion; I stood like a statue, which I assure you was not part of the choreography.
Do you know something? A similar emotion plagues me to this day. The freeze comes in the form of a pause; a pause before taking action. I am not saying the trauma of my ballet debut is the source of this trouble.
God simply used a story from my past to help me with perspective in my present.
I began hosting a home Bible study with a couple of long-time friends a few months ago. We laugh, encourage each other, and help one another to grow stronger in our faith. Hosting our gatherings and teaching others how to study God’s Word is my passion. When God grew our little gathering by three I thanked Him with tears of humility. Serving others through Christ is thrilling but scary for this naturally behind-the-scenes woman.
For years, I prayed for a way to serve my community by sharing the truth of God and His Word. A couple of weeks ago, I sensed God’s prompting for me to move forward with my mission. Inviting my neighbors to our gathering was the next step to take.
Design ideas for the invitations tingled my brain. Purchasing components for a care packet for each neighbor energized my spirit (now, that’s saying something…I despise shopping!). Planning dates to visit each neighbor…
That meant knocking on a door.
That meant walking out…there.
Even though I promised God I would go, I sat.
Paralyzed in a pause.
I prayed, “What does this pause represent?”
My shoulders sagged under the weight of fear of despair. After years of being a disciple of Christ and allowing Him to prepare me for this ministry, when the time came to step out there, I froze.
Three words came to mind, “Count the cost.” And it was true. Once again, I was counting the cost of following Christ.
“Now large crowds were going along with Him; and He turned and said to them, “If anyone comes to Me, and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, even his own life he cannot be My disciple.” – Luke 14:25 (NASB)
This type of pause always represents a moment of decision.
- What if I don’t go?
- What if I go, but say something foolish?
- What if they ignore me and won’t open the door?
- What if they challenge me and attack what I believe?
- What if…they laugh at me?
“Whoever does not carry his own cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple.” – Luke 14:26 (NASB)
Long ago, I counted the cost of following Christ and agreed to die to me, love Him more than anyone and anything else, and live according to His will.
But, when I considered the source of my fear, all I saw was me.
God never directed me to trust in myself; He commanded me to trust in Him.
I reduced the ministry from God for those in need – a ministry I requested – to a form of service, which kept me comfortable. But I wasn’t comfortable.
Every time I drove by the neighborhood homes, I wondered if someone behind the walls cried out for God to move.
When I recall the ways God met my needs through His people the past few years, I wonder if God might use me for one as close as my next-door neighbor.
“For which of you, when he wants to build a tower, does not first sit down and calculate the cost to see if he has enough to complete it? Otherwise, when he has laid a foundation and is not able to finish, all who observe it begin to ridicule him, saying, ‘This man began to build and was not able to finish.’” – Luke 14.28-20 (NASB)
My foundation is Christ, and He is all I need to finish well.
I have care for others; the cost of neglect is too high.
I have the love of Christ and the desire to serve.
I have God as my Father.
I have Jesus as my Savior.
I have the Holy Spirit as my Guide.
I have the Truth.
When I counted the cost of following Christ, I discovered priceless living.
“Mama, why did they laugh?”
She smiled, “You stopped dancing because you thought they we were laughing at you, which wasn’t true. We laughed out of happiness.”
My goodness. I wonder if knowing the truth might have helped me finish that dance.
Sigh. That dance is long gone. Besides, I outgrew the ballet shoes.
But, through this invitation to my neighbors, I have a new opportunity to go out there with the right perspective.
Maybe my knock on her door and a friendly greeting will be an answer to her prayer.
Maybe this invitation to our gathering will lead to God’s invitation to life through Christ.
Maybe these steps of faith are the beginning of a dance that will never end.
What opportunities has following Christ made possible for you?
Do you have a story of priceless living with Christ?
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