Thursday, March 14, 2013

Metanoia--Beautiful Turning


I cannot dance. No, seriously. We’ve talked about this before. Ask my daughters. I like to dance. I love to dance, but I have NO innate ability of any sort. None. And much to their dismay, I do it anyway.

My daughter, my third daughter, is a dancer. I have mentioned her in a previous post (Dead Eggs). And I thought of dancing as soon as I discovered this new word: metanoia..

It’s a Greek word. Metanoia. It is a radical, spiritual, transformative change of heart.

When I discovered this word in a Lent devotional, Bread and Wine, I texted Olivia and asked several rapid-fire questions. She texted back speaking in a language she understood, in a vernacular with which she is quite familiar. She explained what a chaine turn was and what had to happen in order for it to be executed well. I had to work to follow her.

Subconsciously I learned something from the years of watching my daughter dance. I can close my eyes and see her. I can still see the fluidity of her hands and arms. I can still feel the buoyancy of the joy in her face. I can still remember the elegant grace that carried her.

I watched her listen to her instructors, watched her turn her ear to hear and her body to mark the choreography. Little did I understand that years later the Spirit would use her discipline, her art to teach me.

The Father through the Spirit is always calling for me to listen for His mark—hearing his timing, his counting—in the deepest recesses of who I am and who he has called me to be.

Metanoia is a turning. A revolution.

And like Olivia’s chaine turns Metanoia is not just a one time radical pivoting.

Metanoia is an ever-turning toward him, toward the light, toward his voice.

A repentant, repetitive willful act.

Toward Him.

Metanoia is an inevitable turning. In the midst of it I need to keep my balance; therefore, spotting is essential. Spotting is fixing your eye on your end goal, fixing your eye on your desired destination.

In ballet when a dancer attempts chaines turns across the stage she must fix a spot. And then she turns with rapid fire turns until she has covered the length of the floor required in the choreography. Like Olivia I have to keep my head and eye on a fixed place or object or my inner balance will be thrown awry.
I must fix my eyes on Jesus. Fix them. Spot on Him.

Why in the world do I think this ballet technique applies to us?

Peter lost his spot when he looked away from Jesus’ face and instead looked at the mounting waves above him and the black depths of water beneath him. Martha lost her spot when she looked at the pile of dishes and the list of chores and the bank account needed in order to feed and care for the entourage of Jesus. Judas lost his spot when he expected Jesus to do and be something less than what He came to do and be.

My precious friends, life will keep us endlessly turning, always and forever turning. Expect it. But it is these very turns that makes life’s choreography so breathtaking--so far from the mundane.
And our lives, hidden in Christ, do not simply make just one turn. Yes, we turn in an initial transformative act of repentance. We change direction and he bends our bodies toward him, but we must continue to turn—ever turning toward him. Always. Regardless. But we have to remember to spot. We must remember to keep our eyes on Jesus or we will end up in the cold water or on the hard floor or steeped in bitterness because our sisters won’t get up and help us.

Today, where is God’s mark telling you to turn? What has he asked you to do and you are avoiding it because it’s going to require effort and moving outside your places of comfort and security? Where is he sending you that will stretch your skill and engage your faith? What is he asking you to lay down and leave behind? From what is he asking you to disengage?

Ask yourself. Don’t just read these words and allow them to pass. Ask yourself. Ask him.

Then turn. Do it. But remember to spot.

Remember to fix your eyes on Jesus—watching him the entire time.

I can’t dance, but it doesn’t bother me anymore. I dance in my head and heart. I dance on paper and a computer screen and in prayer.

I try so hard to listen for his mark. I attempt to follow his count.

And oh, glory when I remember, I spot.

Lord, help me to remember more.

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