I remember once taking salsa lessons with a group of friends. It was the first time I had danced where the women and men had clear roles: the men were to lead and the women would follow. Growing up as a woman in modern-day America, it was almost ingrained in my psyche that women should never allow themselves to be subject to man’s dominance. But as I came to enjoy the complimentary dance roles of leader and follower, and considered how God desires to lead us, I realized that many of us (both men and women) may have mistakenly come to equate leading with dominance, to our own detriment.
In ballroom dancing, the main purpose of the man is to empower the woman to express beauty, elegance, and grace through dance, hoping to wow their audiences. The man’s primary role is to continuously survey their surroundings, determine their course, and confidently guide the woman by gently pressing his hand against her back. When this occurs, the woman, who cannot see where the man is taking her, is freed from fear that they are in danger of colliding and instead, yields herself to the enchanting beauty of the music.
I will never forget one particular dance partner. He repeatedly failed to keep his hand strong and purposeful on my back. As a result, I found myself continuously looking over my shoulder in fear we might crash. Why? Because I could not trust a guide whose presence and confidence was lacking; it felt like I was dancing blind. But when I was paired with a man who confidently took the lead, careful to guide and protect my steps, I felt safe and secure in his arms, finally free to enjoy the dance.
Likewise, God desires to lead us, not in order to exercise dominance over us, but rather to free us to express the dignity and grace He intended for us from the beginning. In turn, because we are made in God’s own image, when we yield ourselves to His loving lead, embracing our God-given roles, we more accurately reflect His beauty and grace back onto a fearful, lost, and colliding world.
How can we learn to let God lead our lives?
Jesus warns us in Matthew 15:14 to avoid leaders who exercise religious dominance but reject the truth, “They are blind guides. If a blind man leads a blind man, both will fall into a pit.”
Instead, when we yield our lives to a loving, all-wise, all-knowing God, we are free to become all that God intended us to be. We are confident He can lead us there because we have learned to trust in His unfailing Presence, Goodness, and Faithfulness.
“You hem me in, behind and before, and lay your hand upon me…If I take the wings of the morning and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, even there your hand shall lead me, and your right hand shall hold me.” Psalm 139:5, 9-10
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