Dancing with the Master Choreographer

As a child, if you had asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up, I would have said a missionary and a mom. Professional ballet dancer was nowhere on my radar. But as I look back, I see my dance journey and my spiritual journey parallel and God has used dance in my life to reveal Himself and His faithfulness.

Growing up, my parents were amazing to tell my three younger brothers and I about Jesus. I think I had a solid understanding of the gospel at a young age but a turning point in my faith came when I was eleven. My uncle passed away very unexpectedly and my grandfather was diagnosed with cancer and passed away within a year of my uncle. During this time, Jesus became really real to me in that I realized He was the only thing that was going to be constant in my life; He was the only person who would never leave me. I had to ask myself if I believed simply because the gospel was something my parents taught me or was it something I could truly stake my life on. From this time forward, I began to take responsibility for my own walk with Jesus and what it looked like to live out my faith.

I had always done ballet for fun as a child but thought I would quit as I got older. During the year of family tragedy, the studio became a safe place for me to process everything that was going on. As I grew, so did my love for dance and I began to think about exploring it through college. When I was 16, I attended a summer intensive and I mentioned to the director that I would probably quit dancing after college. “Don’t stop performing” she said “you have a light on stage.” That message, coming from someone outside of my spiritual mentors, gave me pause to think, maybe God was calling me to consider a different direction with my life. At the same time, I was looking at colleges and I thought I had my school all picked out. But when I went for a campus visit, things weren’t settling right in my spirit. It was like I was trying to fit a square peg in a circle hole.

The second half of my junior year in high school, I made a major pivot. I figured out how to get my undergraduate degree non-traditionally and began training in the pre-professional division of the a well known dance school. All through life, my parents encouraged my siblings and I to look for ways to point those around us to Jesus. I realized, as I entered this new season, that I was indeed a missionary even though it wasn’t to the small caribbean island I had originally thought I was called to*.

“Ok, God has called me to be a professional dancer, now, I need to do this, this, and this in order to achieve that, that, and that and my path will be smooth sailing”…or so I thought. Needless to say, God’s ways are not our ways. It’s not that things weren’t working out, they just weren’t working out the way I wanted/envisioned them to. God was painfully refining my heart and clarifying His dreams for me.

I found myself waking up some days and not even wanting to go into the studio. I began to wonder if this was really what God had asked me to do with my life. I thought about quitting again but “Who would I be without dance?” I thought. It was a really scary prospect. God revealed to me that dance had become an idol and I had placed my identity in something that was ultimately going to leave me empty. Dance isn’t who I am, it’s what I do. I wrestled for a while but He was asking me to surrender. “You’re not a dancer because you signed the dotted line [of a contract], you’re a dancer because I called you to be” He whispered. When I accepted that, there was so much freedom in the realization that my acceptance was not based on my performance.

I’ve given you this gift for a reason, how are you going to use it?” God asked. I remembered how my parents encouraged us to use our unique circumstances and gifting to glorify God. I began to see the bigger picture. Dance is such a powerful form of communication and can go places that words can’t. “What do people need to hear through dance?” I asked myself. The words hope and dignity came to mind— hope because Jesus is hope, and dignity because we were all put on this planet for a purpose.

It’s cool to look back and see that in the midst of those frustrating years, God was still working. If things had gone the way I wanted them to go, I wouldn’t have seen certain friends come to Jesus. My world would have been so small and I would have missed out on a lot of amazing opportunities. Following Jesus is not easy but it is more fulfilling than we ever could imagine.

Today, my passion is to bring hope and dignity through dance; whether that be as a freelance artist, the director of a company, a choreographer, or teacher. I know that one day, this body will not be able to withstand the rigors being an artistic athlete and my role in the dance world will change. I thank God for His faithfulness, His provision, and for purpose here on Earth. I want to hold these gifts with open hands and follow His lead.

It’s been beautiful to watch the Lord choreograph the steps of this life adventure and I’m excited for what may be next.

*PS—I actually did get to go to the small caribbean island on a dance mission trip no less! But that’s another story for another day :wink:

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Thank you for sharing part of your story, @RebekahD! I love to see how people discover the gifts God has given to them, but it thrills my heart even more to see how they give that gift back to God.

It is amazing how God works, weaving the fabric of our lives in ways we could never have envisioned, yet when looking back on it, in ways we would never want to change. It’s the dark times that make the golden threads more glorious, and it is the painful times, when responded to with humility, that prepares the soul to be a place where His love can blossom. That’s when our testimony becomes tangible.

As Tim Tebow stated, not everyone can relate to our highs in life, but everyone can identify with our pain—even if it is not the same scenario. And when the world sees a Christian going through those times of confusion, heartache, and darkness, and still have a light in their eyes and a lilt in their step, it draws them in and from there we get to point them to Christ.

Keep dancing for Him :two_hearts:

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Thanks so much, Anna!

I agree, it is so beautiful to see the golden threads and this story only scratches the surface of His faithfulness in my life.

Grateful for your encouragement!

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@RebekahD I just loved this. The truth of this statement comes as a such a comforting balm when we realize that while the world, people, and our own bodies fade away, God never does.

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Yes! Praise God, He is eternally unchanging and reliable.

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Hi RebekahD,

I praised God for your life. Your statement afore-cited is always the starting point where the hands of God is evident and we start to follow where He wants to lead us. I wish to see your dance videos.

Blessings,

Elsie

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Thanks so much, Elsie! I’m grateful for you and your life as well!

Hehe, you just might be able to find some with a google search :wink:

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Hi RebekahD,
thank you very much for sharing your story, :heart: Such a delight to read it!
It is a very good reminder and a great encouragement!
Stay blessed,
Malala

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Thank you Malala! Blessings to you as well!

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@RebekahD thank you for sharing your story with us !

I’ve been quite lost in terms of what major or career I should pursue in the future and your post has reassured me that the Lord has a specific plan for my future that He will reveal in His time.

Many blessings,
Linda

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Love the emphasis on the need to make the gospel your own. You are a friend of God. Not a friend of a friend!

How important to realize where the mission field is! Two feet in front of where you/I am standing.

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Seriously pivot event to have realized the potential for idolatry here. How many people have shipwrecked when their professional or hobby gets taken away. So glad you are the safe harbor now.

And last, and really a cool emphasis…when you answered God’s question. Now, what are you going to do with dance in my service. I think there are far too many of us (me at the front of the line) waiting for God to type out the instructions. He does give us the framework, like the framework we’ve been learning in this training, but He invites us to create, to envision, to carry out, to serve. We are not robots. We serve our Beloved in the freedom He has given us, and we love and respect Him enough not to dishonor that freedom. I think He delights in seeing how we will use the gifts He has given us to make Him known.

God’s blessings as you continue to serve Him and to reflect His love and beauty in dance!

KC

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Hi @RebekahD

I found your testimony so interesting to read through because the dance world is far off from my personal experiences, and I’m so encouraged that there are people like you pursuing God within creative arts.

This is such a good reminder that we all should hold our gifts with open hands. Every now and then, I realise I’ve clenched my hands shut over what God has given me. Praise God that our identity is solely in Him and that He’ll do everything He can to remind us where we truly find our security, safety and direction. Thank you for sharing this.

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@RebekahD

Rebekah are these testimonials not the greatest thing ever! :pray: :purple_heart: What I find so remarkable is God called you at age 11. I’ve always wondered if God could genuinely call someone at such a young age? Your explanation makes the answer a resounding YES. I had to wait several more years than you so your story is remarkable to me! I thank you.

Your other quote that is so, so near and dear to my heart:

When I speak to my adopted children, when I speak to my guys in prison, this is what I try to make stick. Just the other day I said to my son, he was having anxiety problems related to new job position and COVID19, I said… this is a difficult premise to comprehend but to relieve stress for the long term you have to know God is your father and I am your Dad. If God is your father, you will have a father for eternity, the most reliable father ever possible. I will be your Dad for eternity as well. (And imagine what this would mean to someone in prison).

How you figured this out at such a young age Rebekah, well God was so with you. Is that truly not the definition of a miracle? I would have to say yes!

Thank you and may God continue to be such a clear voice for you.

Paul

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Hello @RebekahD I have thoroughly enjoyed reading your testimony and the journey the Lord has you on. I loved what you said -

So true! May the Lord continue to guide the steps of your life for His amazing purpose.

God bless you, Rebekah!

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Thanks for Sharing Rebekah, you truly do have unique gifting, may the Lord’s light shine brightly through you to those you journey through life with. :sunny:

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@linda.1.dagher so glad it encouraged you. Yes! God has a specific plan for you and often uses our passions + skill sets to give us clues as to which direction to take. You don’t have to see the whole road map, just take the next step in front of you. I trust God will clarify His dreams for you as you seek to delight in Him :slightly_smiling_face:

Thanks so much @KCB! Yes, so grateful that God invites us into a partnership — definitely scary at times but oh so worth it!

Thank you @artownsend I’m honored to speak the language of ballet to the tribe known as dancers. I agree, sometimes it’s really hard to hold things with open hands and life is a journey of finding freedom in surrender.

@pdangelmajer! I have loved hearing everyone’s Jesus story as well! Echoing your praise to God for being our eternally steadfast Father. Your comments reminded me again of God’s faithfulness over my life. Thank you so much!

Thank you so much @MaryBeth1 and @don58.baker! Grateful for your prayers.

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Hi Rebekah, I just wanted to say that the way you wrote out your testimony and life experiences was already like that of a Choreographer. It seems as if you beautifully crafted out a dance out of your words itself, I’m not kidding. You really do have a knack for this :slight_smile:

In all honesty I was not expecting to come across a testimony like this in this corner but I was pleasently surprised. It really spoke to me, as a believer and someone who wantd to do Art. Sometimes God calls you beyond what one would understand, sometimes you feel and wonder if it really is from God or if there is any point at all. Be it dancing, training or drawing, it’s not always an easy path. You fail, you get burnt out, your work declines and there are many dry seasons.

Your testimony has spoken to that part in me whereby I doubt my calling and my capabilities. Things aren’t always certain but your reminder of our identity not being in our work but our work coming from our identity in Christ is something we should all remember.

Will be praying for you Rebekah, lets chat more!

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So glad you could relate to this, Kiko. Thank you for your kind words and prayers. I’m encouraged to know another artist who sees her skills and gifts as a means to point others to Jesus!

May He continue to strengthen your identity in Him, guide your path, provide you with strategic connections in your community, and use you to create redemptive art that helps shape culture.

Yes! feel free to PM me.

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Thank you for sharing your heart and experiences. Your descriptor: Choreographer reminds me of Grand Weaver. What a blessing it is. When you know that you know that you know there is great satisfaction as well as security. Your testimony exemplifies that. God bless.

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Beautiful testimony! Thank you for sharing.

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