I have been trying to explore what discipleship means in this day and age, what it means for me specifically. I'm the kind of person who starts by creating a foundation of understanding in how something is defined. Discipleship is defined not only as a follower of God, but also a supporter of, a devotee of, a witness to, and a student of God.
The last two definitions in particular resonate with where I am at. How can I keep my testimony relevant if I am not learning more and more about God? If I am not experiencing Him in fresh ways in my life? There are thousands of characteristics of God, if I am not learning about, experiencing, Him in new ways then it's because I'm not trying.
I have felt the pull to become a student in more than one ways these days, and this curriculum I'm finding is a lot like my Counselling studies, they need to be hands on, experiential. I need to be God's apprentice. Apprentice - to bind to a master artisan for instruction.
To me, discipleship has come to mean connecting with God, to understand Him better, which will lead me to receive His instruction better. But I think that's only a secondary benefit to knowing God, His ultimate heart is to connect with us for relationship sake. God is always trying to use new things to show us another side of Himself, to become intimate with us on a whole other level.
Take for instance, waltzing.
Almost 3 years ago I was blessed with some newer friendships with women who experienced God tangibly, through very realistic visions. Back then I mentioned here some life changing moments they facilitated in my life, like this vision and this vision, God had been responding to my choice to seek Him out in new ways, showing me sides of Himself I longed to know better. Then suddenly, out of the blue, He chose to reveal a part of Himself that I hadn't even asked for.
One day at Church, as I was worshiping, I began seeing my own version of a vision my friend had shared, Jesus sitting on His heavenly throne, being worshiped by a sea of thousands, I being just one of those. I was far, far away from Him but yet still so in awe of His glory I could feel it even there. Then, suddenly I saw Jesus walking through the crowd, right in front of me, making His way through them, towards me. I could touch His robe, I still remember what it felt like. He looked like the earthly version of Himself, not the heavenly one that glowed so brightly moments before. And then He took me in His arms and we started waltzing.
While perplexed, I let the moment happen and just savored it. These types of visions are few and far between for me, I had wished dozens of times the visions I heard from my friends were mine, and this was mine, so I basked in it. It didn't matter why.
But now, two years later, as I contemplated discipleship, this moment spontaneously came to mind and suddenly it did matter why. I am just the kind of person who sometimes gets burdened by the why, and when I do, I need to figure it out. So I examined why God could possibly have wanted to connect with me through dance.
I DO have a desire to dance, I love dancing and find myself constantly moving when the right rhythm comes along. But it isn't a huge part of my life, I can't even full on dance when no one is watching, never mind LIKE no one is watching. Unless I'm not alone. I suddenly have the freedom to dance if I am not the only one I know on the dance floor. Growing up Mennonite, dancing was not encouraged, and I danced maybe a handful of times by my grad. I never dated anyone who liked dancing, only had 2 friends for most of my young adult life who would go out dancing with me. There has been only one time I've even danced with a guy using more movement than just a mere sway.
This one time was with my guy friend, who happened to be gay, so he didn't just dance next to me, he danced with me, swinging me all around the dance floor and it gave me this inexplicable feeling, this wave of femininity washed over me. There is just this mysterious chemistry that happens when a man and a woman dances, I've seen it in others many times before, but never experienced myself. But because he was gay, he and I were able to simply embrace it without any burden of a deeper meaning. And now, married to a non-dancer, I have never felt that particular chemistry or particular femininity ever again.
Weird, right? No one else in my life has ever been able to give me that feeling in any other way. I don't know what it is about a twirling twosome that elicits a womanly essence . Maybe it's all the Disney princess movies? Yet I've seen it in little girls who haven't ever watched Disney.
Or maybe it's a desire God has planted in females for some reason.
I am inclined to believe the latter since a couple of times in the last 2 years God has taken me for a spin on the ballroom floor of my mind during worship at Church.
After examining the whole experience, I see now He was blessing me for pursuing Him in a brand new way. For opening my mind to who He is, not who I want Him to be. And I think He was redeeming my one encounter with femininity of that kind. If I had not been open to getting closer to God, connecting to Him in more and more intimate ways, I maybe would have just dismissed that first waltzing worship, maybe even been embarrassed by it, shut it down because I grew up with dancing as 'bad'. But it turns out, God is a complete gentleman who wants to embrace me as we glide around to beautiful music, in step together, like only dancing can do. He wanted to meet a need I didn't even know I had, a desire to dance, a desire for a different kind of intimacy between man & woman. And, in a brand new way He spoke to me the same ancient lesson.
And so I've added this to my growing list of lessons on the character of God. And my discipleship has grown ever stronger for it the last few years. Just a few weeks ago He showed me even more about the harmony of life with Him. Our life with Him a song, a dance. A song I can't get out of my head, or my heart, and I look forward to the many new verses I will discover until we finally dance again in person.