I exercise just enough to satisfy my doctor at my yearly visits. But when I do, I prefer a ballet barre, because I’ve always loved a good plié. When I focus on leaning into it with the right technique, something inside me shifts.
I find an internal balance.
But it’s more than than that. It’s what I’ve always done, long before my parents gave me the gift of my first dance class.
So when my 54 year-old self flips a chair around in our somewhat over-furnished living room, it becomes a barre, and I remember who I am.
Even after decades of not dancing, my body follows well familiar paths, like coming home after a long trip.
“Stand in the ways and see,
And ask for the old paths, where the good way is,
And walk in it;
Then you will find rest for your souls.”
- Jeremiah 6:16
Lately current events have taken me back to another old path where my soul finds rest:
Training for courage.
I don’t understand enough about genetic memory to expound on it beyond my personal experience, but before my father ever told me of his experiences as a child in the camps after World War II, I had already been thinking like a refugee.
“The bathroom would be the best place to hide,” my 9 year old reason concluded, “when they come for us, there will be running water in the bathroom.”
Obsessively reading everything I could about surviving in a hostile environment shaped my childhood mind.
As a young pastor’s wife in South Beach with two wonderfully rambunctious toddlers, I forgot for a season what I had learned. Bombarded with expectations about the American Dream version of the Christian life, I lost perspective. I lost contentment. I lost myself.
In that season I measured my husband, who was a bi-vocational missionary church-planter, by what he did for me and the children. I was afraid the kids would one day hate the church because it took so much of their daddy’s time. We’ve all heard about those pastors’ kids…
But then someone sent me a magazine from Voice of the Martyrs, and just like my muscles embraced the familiar ballet movements, my soul embraced the visceral reality of following Jesus when it’s costly.
Throughout time and geography, normal Christian life has been one of persecution.
Rather than worship festivals and family retreats, suffering has been the expectation.
And what we expect determines how we think, feel, and act.
In the company of widows whose husbands were tortured and killed for the Gospel, my petty grievances evaporated. Their children expect to pay the ultimate price because that is the path of the Cross.
The ancient path, the good path, where we find rest for our souls.
“For you, brothers, became imitators of the churches of God in Christ Jesus that are in Judea. For you suffered …”
- 1 Thessalonians 2:14
It doesn’t take a prophet to see that we, globally, are headed into hardship.
We are bracing for a storm.
But we were made for this.
For me, the physical grounding at the barre and the mental armor of accepting the cost of the Cross clarify my space on the ancient path, the Narrow Way.
As I now revive my blog to be a voice in the current conversation, I realize how much this scarlet thread runs through it.
And you have your own.
What has given you joy and strength throughout your life?
What has inspired you?
How does your ancient path lead you to find rest for your soul today?
If you’ve forgotten, ask God and He will lead you there again.
Please comment, so we can strengthen each other all the more as the Day draws closer.