My friend Lisa and I marveled at the twirling pair of orange and black butterflies that wove in and out of her back-yard shrubs. They never separated more than a few inches. How did they learn to dance as one?
Max and Cosette, my two standard poodles, often move in perfect synchrony. They turn their heads in tandem as if an invisible string controls their movements. They gallop through the yard shoulder to shoulder even though Max is several inches taller. Who taught them to gauge their pace to each other?
Larry and I took ballroom dance classes together. Unlike the butterflies, staying in step with each other was a challenge. My dance background helped me remember the steps easier than Larry. It seemed natural to guide him through the teacher’s calls. But I learned that’s a big “no-no.” The man always leads in ballroom dance—even if he doesn’t know the steps!
My biggest struggle was to follow his imperfect lead. Success for the woman in dancing is being a good follower. If I get the steps in sequence but my partner’s going in a different direction, I’ve failed. The beauty of a waltz is the couple moving as one.
That battle of wills isn’t confined to dance floors. It threatens the harmony of many homes, work places, and churches. It happens over simple things. Who decides what time you’ll eat: the cook, the TV football schedule, or a child’s game? When we focus on who’s right, we all lose. Instead of harmony, discord reins. No one enjoys the meal.
I’m not sure how butterflies and poodles decide how to work together, but the Bible shows us how to live in harmony. It begins with following our designated leader—Christ. Ephesians 5:15-21 says that those who submit to God through the power of His Holy Spirit are able to submit to one another and make music in their hearts. That sounds like perfect harmony!
When there is discord in my human relationships, I need to check my connection with God. Am I filled with the Spirit? The flesh is easily riled. But the Holy Spirit produces love, joy, peace, patience, kindness…and self-control, (Galatians 5:16-14). When I walk by the Spirit I won’t obey my baser instincts. The Bible doesn’t say they disappear, but they won’t rule me.
The Holy Spirit guides us when to wait for the child’s game to finish and when to honor the cook’s timetable. He shows the cook how to be in tune with the family’s schedules.
Simple everyday interactions bring joy or aggravation, harmony or discord. Being out of sync stinks! Who’s in charge of my life makes the difference in my responses. Am I following the Spirit’s lead?
The butterflies and my poodles displayed the beauty of harmony. In the end, being in sync with the Spirit is more satisfying than being in control. Staying in step with the Lord keeps a song in our hearts whether people mistakenly stomp on our toes or dance in perfect harmony.
Question: What song do you sing when people bump against you?
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Deborah W. Wilson
Photo by: Steve Browne