Annette Wiley
Sharing the message of hope.

The Dance Instructor

Haven’t you found that as you read a good story, your imagination takes flight? Pausing after reading a chapter in a book, I pictured myself in the scene. In the story, an elderly man was teaching a teenager how to waltz. The words on the page drew me back to some favorite memories of my dad dancing with me as I stood on his shoes. What a precious memory.

I lingered in the past for a time. The sweet nuances of my memories kept my imagination poised on the dancefloor. For a short time, I was the teen trying to learn the steps. The longer I stayed on the dancefloor, the older I became. Still trying to master the steps. Still holding onto the hands of my dance partner. Finally, I saw myself at my present age. Unfortunately, my dance technique hadn’t advanced much over the years. My partner had tried diligently to teach me the steps, but I was so clumsy.

Though frustrated by the complicated steps, my partner remained very patient and he didn’t grow aggravated with my mistakes. Yet, my heartbeat skyrocketed and beads of sweat glistened on my brow. Why was this so difficult? Nothing in my partner’s demeanor suggested disappointment in me, but I was terribly unsatisfied with my lack of progress. I had been practicing for so long.

My partner’s voice was calm and reassuring. There was something familiar about that voice … Oh my goodness! It was His voice! I had heard it before, the undeniable voice of The Father, spoken in my heart. It was not an audible voice, but an interior expression. Could it be? Would that mean The Father was dancing with me? I dared not risk a glance, afraid I would lose my balance. How could I possibly concentrate now? Ever so patiently, He continued teaching me in His gentle manner, arranging my hands just so, as He lightly held me in the correct position. I was excited, but truthfully, also a little terrified. It was difficult to focus, and I could not seem to get the rhythm of the steps. With every stumble, His firm embrace kept me steady.

I heard the lightness in His voice as He instructed me to count the steps. One, two, three. One, two, three. I looked down at His feet wrapped in elegant leather shoes that floated across the floor, as opposed to my clunky feet tripping over one another as I tried in vain to guess the next steps. Drawing my attention, He told me to stop looking down. Turning my head, a little to the right, I kept my vision settled over His shoulder while my mute lips kept counting. One, two, three. One, two, three. I knew if I quit counting, I would surely tumble over and plummet to the slick hardwood floor.

What a disaster that would be, the Lord, bending down to pick me up with my legs tangled in my dress and no doubt my carefully styled hair a tousled mess. I panicked. How humiliating. Truthfully, it probably would be no worse than the multitude of times He had bent low to rescue me from some foiled attempt to go my own way. Many times, over the years, I had fallen. However, just now, I really did not want a repeat performance.

My mind drifted back to some of those rescue moments. I have to admit I am not a very compliant student. Each fall from grace had a common denominator. I tried desperately to lead my life-dance. God has been working with me for my entire adult life on this one aspect of maturity. I always want to be in charge. Calling the shots. Barge in and deal with the consequences later. Being in control is my “safe place”. Most people can see the problem with this mindset.

I am a slow learner. I have not trusted my Partner to lead me. What! I inwardly shouted at myself. The mental berating continued, who do I think I am? The Father is here holding my hand in His. How can I not trust Him? Careening back into the awareness of God’s closeness, I mustered the courage to look up at Him. His playful smile told me He knew what I was thinking. Of course, He knew! In His warm gaze, I saw no sign of condemnation, only love reflected in His eyes.

We continued to dance, and the tempo of the music quickened. My Partner kept His steps sure and smooth, inviting me to do the same. He guided me across the floor and twirled me about. I could see my reflection in the floor-to-ceiling mirror across the room. I was finally the graceful dancer I had always dreamed I could be. With my dress whirling about, I did not fall. I wasn’t even counting the steps anymore. I was waltzing! I felt like a princess at her first ball. The Father looked down, smiled, and He asked me, “Do you understand now?” Nodding, I answered, “I think so. You aren’t my dance partner; You are my dance Instructor. Right?” Oh yes, Father!
Now I get it! As the remnants of the interlude faded, I didn’t want to leave the dance floor. 


It’s been a while since my fanciful story unfolded. I wish I could say I’m waltzing through life, never missing a step. Truthfully, I still forget to listen to my patient Instructor from time to time. If I could just remember to let Him lead, my life would be a beautiful, fabulous dance. As we stumble with mistakes and missteps, the Instructor invites us to the sweetest dance of all, the one of mercy, forgiveness, and reconciliation. Through our life-dance, we are never alone. We are never without the Instructor lending His strong shoulders, sure footing, and firm grasp, ready to
guide us on the way. The Instructor, your Father, and mine is always ready to teach us the next step and then the next…

Questions for Reflection:
1. How do you feel about your level of “needing to be in control”? On a scale of 1-10,
where do you fall?
2. What things do you tend to worry about?
3. Do you usually think you can “fix” the problem and take matters into your hands?
4. How has prayer helped you release the anxiety that comes with worry?

“Look at the birds of the air; they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not more valuable than they? And can any of you by worrying add a single hour to your span of life?”
Matthew 6:26-27 NRSV-CE