The dance floor was beautiful. Deep warm brown tones swimming under a surface that reminded me of glass or an acrylic layer separated us from the rich color beneath our feet. Along the edge of the floor was what appeared to be a wooden border a few inches in width. Equal in beauty to the floor and shaped like one-half of a perfect circle, it framed the area entire much like a simple frame around a masterpiece of art...designed to let the beauty of the work be enhanced by the finished edge of its surroundings. But it was more than that. It was there to separate the dancers from everything beyond the floor.
As beautiful as the floor was, it wasn't the most glorious thing my eyes, heart or spirit beheld. I had only glanced at the floor long enough to take in its appearance. There was something else that captured my attention ~ something I could not and would not remove from my gaze... For I was in the arms of the Master, Yeshua/Jesus...and we were dancing.
He held me close with such strength and tenderness. So many times in my life I'd dreamed of this dance with Him. I had never named the dance. It was just the dance that I wanted to dance with Him.
At one point during the dance, He lifted me up in the air with His right hand, raising me above His head. Then, lowering me behind Himself, He stood me gently on my feet and we continued to dance ~ with me facing His back and following His steps to the music.
I don't remember hearing music, although I'm sure it was there. I was completely focused on Him ~ my Husband, my Savior, My Redeemer, My Prince, My King...my Yeshua/Jesus.
It was then that He pointed out others on the dance floor. I saw people dancing in different form and fashion. There were those who were dressed like ballerinas, arms lifted in the air, gracefully floating around the floor in all of the various moves, the names of which I do not know. I saw other people, dressed in what looked to me like eastern dance wear... beautifully decorated jackets with wide flowing pantaloons, putting first one foot out to the side in a wide step and then the other foot out to the side in the opposite direction. All of the dancers seemed to be very focused on their own dances, much like I had been, oblivious to anything but the joy and beauty of the movements in which we were engaged.
I then saw a woman on the dance floor. She was huddled down and almost curled up in a ball. It was apparent that she was afraid to get up and dance. She had the option of leaving the dance floor, but was choosing to remain there instead. And it was then that I noticed the arrows...
The arrows were about a foot in length and came in two colors. Some were gold, others were silver. All of them were very beautiful in appearance. It looked as though each arrow was meticulously created, with layer upon layer of various designs and sections that had been molded into one piece and then covered over with a clear coating of some sort. And then I noticed the bows...
The bows were small, maybe a foot in length ~ appropriately sized to fit the arrows I just described. I didn't see if all of the dancers were carrying bows and arrows. I didn't see the quivers from which the arrows were taken, either. I somehow know that each dancer had his or her own bow and arrows. And the thing was, the arrows were sticking out of the bodies of some of the dancers. But these arrows hadn't been shot there by other people. Each person on the floor had turned his or her own bow and pointed the arrows at their bodies...then shot themselves with their own arrows!
I saw where some of the arrows hit their mark. In some places, not all, there was a green infection that flowed from the point of entry. It surprised me that there wasn't blood flowing from the wounds, but only the green drainage. The LORD said that what came from those wounds represented the sickness of pride, fear, anger, self-righteousness. It represents anything that poisons the believer's heart and soul. He told me there was no blood, because He had already poured out his blood in behalf of the dancers.
I don't know if every dancer had arrows or not. I didn't see that. I just saw some of them. And the people who were dancing were very happy. The woman who was huddled down on the floor in fear didn't feel freedom or joy. She was in self-preservation mode.
I then looked beyond the dance floor and saw angels and people watching the dancers. As I looked back at the dancers, I saw an onslaught of different arrows being shot at the dancers from outside the perimeter of the dance floor. They were not the small gold or silver arrows that each dancer had. These were coming from outside the perimeter of the dance floor, beyond the brown wood trim that separated the dancers from everything else. It reminds me of the scripture in Psalm 91:5-...
"You will not fear the terror of night, nor the arrow that flies by day,nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness, nor the plague that destroys at midday. A thousand may fall at your side, ten thousand at your right hand, but it will not come near you. You will only observe with your eyes and see the punishment of the wicked. If you make the Most High your dwelling ~ even the LORD, who is my refuge ~ then no harm will befall you, no disaster will come near your tent. For he will command his angels concerning you, to guard you in all your ways; they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone. You will tread upon the lion and cobra; you will trample the great lion and the serpent. 'Because he loves me,' says the LORD, 'I will rescue him; I will protect him for he acknowledges my name. He will call upon me and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble. I will deliver him and honor him. With long life will I satisfy him and show him my salvation.'"
And here is the understanding the LORD gave me about this vision of Him, the dancers and the dance floor and me. The name of the dance is called 'Dying to Self'. That is why people were shooting arrows into themselves...to bring an end to their own pride ~ their need to 'be right' or whatever the case may be. It was the dance of laying down everything at all costs ~ to be able to dance with the KING. It's why He picked me up in the air and placed me gently behind Him on the dance floor. He was showing me that I must follow His lead if we are to dance the dance I've always dreamed of experiencing with Him.
The freedom in the dancers...was it perhaps because they had learned to die to self? Or was it because they were still doing their own thing? Perhaps they had learned, but I didn't see Him dancing with any of them. It may be because that is a dance that is personal and only seen/known by Him and the dancer. He's not revealed that to me yet. All I know is that everyone there was on that dance floor because we wanted to die to self.
Sometimes we are afraid of the pain of that death...we wonder how much it will hurt to be rejected, or ridiculed, or to keep our mouths closed when we 'have an opinion'. Ha! Our opinions...the LORD must laugh at them often! The ONLY opinion that matters is His. And if we love Him ~ as we say we do ~ we will do all we can to make His opinion our top priorities!
The woman who was so fearful of standing up to dance reflects so many in the Body of Christ...desirous of following the LORD and yet afraid of losing her life in the process. It's another scripture that comes to mind as I type those words... It's found in Luke 9:23-26...
"Then he said to them all: 'If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will save it. What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, and yet lose or forfeit his very self? If anyone is ashamed of me and my words, the Son of Man will be ashamed of him when he comes in his glory and in the glory of the Father and of the holy angels.'"
I know that the only way I am going to dance the dance I long to share with Yeshua/Jesus is to die to myself. He MUST be my first consideration in all things...obedience to His word, His desire, His direction. I cannot afford to be in self defense mode. He is my Defender! He is my Protector! He is my Righteous Right Hand (which, by the way, is the hand He used to lift me over His head and gently set me down behind Himself)! He is my High Tower! He knows me so much better than I know myself ~ and that is true for all of His children.
I have learned to a degree ~ and am continuing to learn this lesson: The more I die to self, the more joy I have...the more peace I experience...the more rest and trust and confidence I find in doing what He asks. The more I die to self, the clearer my vision becomes, the more attractive He becomes to others through me ~ the more transparent I become.
I asked the LORD 13 years ago if He wanted me to accept a position as pastor for a church. I was so concerned about the direction that particular church was headed and as a result, didn't really want to accept the responsibility. But the LORD in His great wisdom answered me this way. He said, "You just bring them to Me. I'll take it from there." What an awesome GOD we serve. When I accepted the responsibility, I spent a great deal of time seeking Him for what He wanted the congregation to look like. I needed His vision for the leadership team, so I would know how to lead. He said these words to me...and I will never forget them. They define my purpose ~ His goal for me in this life. He said, "I want you to be so crystal clear ~ so transparent ~ that, when people look at you, they don't even see you. They see THROUGH you ~ to ME." He didn't say it in an arrogant or prideful way. He said it with love, knowing that anything less would not only be distracting, but could cause others to fall.
Beloved friends, if you are one standing there with arrows sticking out of your body because you've been learning the 'Dying to Self' dance, then congratulations on making a most difficult decision. If you are curled up in a ball, afraid of getting shot at by the arrows that are flying all around you in the words of or actions of others or even by the thoughts in your mind, then take these words to heart: You are on the dance floor for this particular dance because you said 'Yes' to Yeshua/Jesus and you must learn to die to self. You may be one who is reading this blog because He wants you to get this message from Him... Like the woman who was afraid in the vision, she had the choice of leaving the dance floor. No one was forced to stay there. But she CHOSE to stay. She just needed to come out of FEAR and get up and dance!
In some ways, it's not easy. After all, there aren't many in the Body of Christ who want to get as close to Him as possible. But, even as He said, it always requires sacrifice. 'The servant is not greater than the Master.' If He suffered ~ and we know He did ~ then we will experience trials that cause us to suffer. But we must learn to love through humility. If we don't, we won't ever really know Him, will we?
Every time something happens to get me fired up and causes me to feel mistreated or misunderstood, or justified in myself, or in some way wronged, I mentally see myself pull an arrow from my quiver, turn my bow around and fire that little arrow right into my chest. It helps me stay 'lowly in heart' in that moment. Because I know He gave me the vision to point the way to the dance I've wanted with Him ~ He gave me the vision to teach me the way to dance that will give the two of us the most intimacy and the greatest joy in our relationship ~ now and in eternity forward. And I WANT that! I WANT the deeper revelation of Him, the greater closeness, the passionate intimacy of His love and bond with me. I WANT that with all of my being.
And so, I will continue to shoot arrows in my heart. I will continue to praise and thank Him for showing me where I still need change, where I still defend or protect myself ~ where I still walk in disobedience so the arrows can hit their marks and all of the infection is gone ~ so that I can BE crystal clear and can do my part to be a vessel that He can use any way He desires...so I can dance the dance of love with my Prince, my LORD, my Savior, My King, My Redeemer, My Lover - YESHUA/JESUS.
Blessings, Beloved Friends. Dance!