The first time I walked into FreedomHouse, I was mesmerized first by the thick presence of God and secondly by the line of worshippers dancing at the front of the room. I had avoided religion and churches my whole life and didn’t know what was “normal.” When my spiritual father greeted me that day I asked, “You can dance in church?!?!”
Later, our apostolic leader would tell a story about someone asking why we dance at FreedomHouse. His reply was a bold and simple, “They danced in the Bible, so we dance.”
Some of my favorite passages in the Bible were about dancing.
In Exodus 15:20-21, the Bible says, “Then Miriam the prophetess, the sister of Aaron, took the timbrel in her hand; and all the women went out after her with timbrels and with dances. And Miriam answered them: “Sing to the LORD, For He has triumphed gloriously! The horse and its rider He has thrown into the sea!”
This singing and dancing came after God sent Moses to deliver the children out of Egypt and out of slavery. Song and dance is a sound of deliverance!!! Before coming to FreedomHouse, my perceptions of God were built upon movies like Footloose where religion banned dancing and everyone was a slave to a set of rules. Jesus died so that we could be set free!
Another story in the Bible is of King David, a man after God’s heart. It’s one of my all time favorite passages.
Then David danced before the Lord with all his might; and David was wearing a linen ephod. So David and all the house of Israel brought up the ark of the Lord with shouting and with the sound of the trumpet.
Now as the ark of the Lord came into the City of David, Michal, Saul’s daughter, looked through a window and saw King David leaping and whirling before the Lord; and she despised him in her heart.
So they brought the ark of the Lord, and set it in its place in the midst of the tabernacle that David had erected for it. Then David offered burnt offerings and peace offerings before the Lord. And when David had finished offering burnt offerings and peace offerings, he blessed the people in the name of the Lord of hosts. Then he distributed among all the people, among the whole multitude of Israel, both the women and the men, to everyone a loaf of bread, a piece of meat, and a cake of raisins. So all the people departed, everyone to his house.
Then David returned to bless his household. And Michal the daughter of Saul came out to meet David, and said, “How glorious was the king of Israel today, uncovering himself today in the eyes of the maids of his servants, as one of the base fellows shamelessly uncovers himself!”
So David said to Michal, “It was before the Lord, who chose me instead of your father and all his house, to appoint me ruler over the people of the Lord, over Israel. Therefore I will play music before the Lord. And I will be even more undignified than this, and will be humble in my own sight. But as for the maidservants of whom you have spoken, by them I will be held in honor.”
2 Samuel 6:14-22
I didn’t even know I liked dancing until I found myself busting a move at a high school dance. I was a quiet math and English nerd. Who knew that was inside me?
When I lived in Oregon, I would meet with a group of people on Wednesday nights to salsa dance. It brought me so much joy. Later in the Navy, I would use dance as an escape, usually preceded by copious amounts of tequila to reduce inhibition and increase courage. I never knew it was part of my spiritual DNA. God created me to be a dancer.
I recently received a prophetic word, “You know what its like to run from a region. But now you know what it’s like to run to Me says the Lord. And you are much better at running TO Me than running from something. Gone are the feet of the runner. Here are the feet of the dancer.”
In Chapter One of Set Free, I’m trying to run from NE Florida. I hated the region. I hated the weather. I hated my life circumstance. I was trying to escape the only way I knew how – by running. I’d been doing it my whole life. Once I got saved, everything changed.
God was calling me to NE Florida. It’s the place where the French Huguenots came to escape religious persecution. They were a bunch of spirit-filled believers who danced on the shores of the First Coast. (You can learn more about the Huguenot’s history and NE Florida’s prophetic significance in Guy Diffenbaugh’s book The Tip of the Spear).
When I got saved and discovered I had purpose and destiny, and I was part of a family who had dance as part of their heartbeat at FreedomHouse everything changed. Just as my prophetic word said, I stopped running from the region and started running to God.
My whole life I’ve been a fearful and anxious person, and I just thought that was part of my personality. But as I’ve been connected to FreedomHouse, I’ve learned that fear is a work of hell and is absolutely NOT from God. I’ve also learned that it’s something I can get free from. Anxiety, fear, depression. All those things that were bedrocks of who I thought I was were actually part of a false identity that was molded and fashioned by hell.
I just came out of a deep and powerful session of Level 2 Freedom Ministry which has broken some of those bondages and surfaced some deep rooted places of trauma that needed healing. Irrational fear and terror have been bearing down on me this last week, and I’ve felt such a survival instinct to run.
Last week in worship, I was looking up at Jesus, overcome with fear.
And I said, “God, I don’t want to be afraid anymore.”
And He said simply, “Dance.”
Part of the last month or two, Holy Spirit has been unlocking the gift of dance within me. In May, a prophetess released a word to me that said, “I’m calling forth the dance that brings breakthrough.”
Since then, Holy Spirit has been using dance to break off fear. When I surrender to Holy Spirit releasing dance through me, it’s the time I feel most strong, bold, brave, and free. Each time I surrender to Him, I get a little more fear broken off. I have moments where I think, “THIS. This is who I’m supposed to be.” God didn’t create me with a spirit of fear, but of love, power, and a sound mind.
This time last year, I would lay in bed staring at a wall in the deep depths of depression, and now I find it hard to sit still because there’s such a leading of Holy Spirit to move. Part of my discipleship process of restoration has been to empty me of the false, and to be filled with Holy Spirit. As I’ve become more and more of who God created me to be my thoughts and behaviors have shifted. Not because I’m trying really hard to be different, but because I’ve surrendered to the power of the cross and Holy Spirit has given me grace.
No man could have done for me what God has done.