My Pointe of View

My thoughts on God, Life, and Dance

Are You Hanging Out at the Barre?

Written By: jamieu - Feb• 12•12

I take a ballet class every day. And every ballet class begins the same way, at the barre (yes that is how it is spelled). The barre is just that, a horizontal bar that is mounted onto a wall or onto standing legs. Its purpose is to provide support for the dancers as they work to maintain proper placement and balance. At the barre you begin a progression of exercises that build upon each other. Plies, tends, degage, etc. If you are not a dancer, just consider those the ABCs of ballet. You cannot read a novel if you do not know what sounds the letters make and you can not be a successful ballet dancer if you do not know these steps.

Every dancer from the beginner to the professional begins their class at the barre. It is the foundation of ballet. This is where you begin to warm up your muscles. Each combination helps you work on your technique. Are you turning out enough from the hip, are you working through every part of your foot, and is your tailbone dropped, shoulders down and rib cage in? Everything done at the barre is meant to prepare you for the second portion of class where you dance in the center (I am laying a foundation here people – stick with me)

It is amazing how the same combination that you did at the barre can be twice as hard in the center. You have to apply all that you learned there in order to succeed the second portion of class. Even when you are doing your best, there are going to be times when you may fall (I know I do somewhat frequently…just ask my teachers). New challenges arise as you travel across the floor and you have to go back to the ABCs in order to push to the next level.

Now that I have given you a quick peek into a ballet class let me get to my point. Our walk as a Christian is very similar to the scenario I just painted for you of a ballet class. The barre is the time that you set aside to spend with God (reading the Word, prayer, going to church, etc.), the center is life, and the teacher is God. So many of my younger ballet students would love to skip the barre all together and get right into the center combinations. Who wants to do tedious combinations in one spot when you could be waltzing across the floor? Or better yet, they just want to dance on stage. They love the pretty costumes and the feel of the warm lights on their face. Who doesn’t love applause? But they do not want to put in the foundational work that it takes to get there. So many Christians feel the same way. We do not want to take the time out of out busy schedules to spend time with the Lord. When your life is going 90 miles per hour and the bills need to be paid and the kids need to be fed and you are already running late for work – we tend to forgo the barre and dive headfirst into life. But when the challenges come we find ourselves unequipped to handle them. Just like a good ballet teacher knows that her students must follow the progression of a class, God knows that we must spend time with him if we want to mature in our faith. In those quiet times with Him, he is speaking to us, preparing us, stretching us so that when we are walking out our lives we have a foundation. There will be times when you fall – but He is always there to help you up, just like the teacher is there to help you correct your mistakes.

When we do not put in the time with God that we should we are only causing ourselves pain and setbacks in our walk with the Lord. You may be like my overly zealous students who do not know how to stand correctly yet are already picking out their tutu for the big show. You may have the best intentions in mind of all the wonderful things that you want to do for the Lord – go on the mission field, start a new ministry, be a leader in your church. All wonderful and important things, but you have to ask yourself if you are taking the time to lay your foundation? Like the dancer that returns to the barre EVERY class, we have to make spending time with the Lord a constant thing. Not a once in a while, or if you have time.

I have struggled with this very thing over the course of my life but I have also discovered how vital it is walking out the destiny that God has for me. Take the time out for God; He has all the time in the world for you. Build your foundation and sharpen your skills. It will make the dance of your life a beautiful piece of choreography!

The Garden of Your Thoughts

Written By: jamieu - Feb• 12•12
                                                      
My schedule is not quite back to normal yet so I have had some extra time in the afternoons. I have been attempting to use this time to work on class plans for all of my dance for the second half of the year (I have been slightly distracted by the joy of re-watching all 6 amazing seasons of LOST on Netflix). So my brain is slightly fried.

I find that when I have time off (or in this case an afternoon) it is so easy for my thoughts to get out of line. But I suppose that can happen to anyone when you have time to be alone and just…think. Today I was so distracted by nagging thoughts in my head. Fears, worries, what ifs, etc. There was a time when fear ruled my life. I was bound up in it for years. I would have panic attacks on a regular basis and I would literally get sick from worry. Praise the Lord I have been delivered from that state, but it is so easy to slip into negative thinking if I am not careful. I have to make the choice to align my thoughts with the will of God. Philippians 4:8 tells us:

8 And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.

I promise that anything that Satan tells you will NOT be true, honorable, pure, or lovely. When his voice starts flooding your mind you have to recognize it immediately and make a conscious effort to change your focus from the lies of the enemy to the truth of your God. It is not easy. I often wonder why is seems so much easier to believe the negative than the positive. Satan has a knack for hitting you in your weak places, he hits below the belt and has no problem kicking you while you are down. The truth is that all he really has to do is plant the seed. WE usually choose to water it, fertilize it, and let it grow out of control.

The trick is to pull it up before it has time to take root. If we immediately counteract the lie and poison it with God’s word, it will die and peace will grow in its place. But don’t be fooled into thinking that that pesky weed will not try to pop up again somewhere else, because it will. Tend the garden of your thoughts and tear up the lies of the enemy!

The Little Things

Written By: jamieu - Feb• 12•12
Ok – so if you know me at all you know that I am slightly addicted to Dr. Pepper. Yes, I know that soda is not good for you – no lectures please. I do not have very many unhealthy habits and I am in pretty good shape, so I give myself this little indulgence (…on a daily basis)
Believe it or not, my love for Dr. Pepper makes me think of a Bible verse (yes, my love runs that deep). Psalm 38:13 says:

“The Lord directs the steps of the godly, He delights in every detail of their lives.”

I am very glad that the Lord directs my steps, but it is the second part of the verse that has always jumped out at me. He delights in every detail of my life! How cool is that?! EVERY DETAIL – that means that God cares that I love Dr. Pepper and He knows how happy it makes me when my mom surprises me with a large one from Sonic! It is very easy to assume that God has way more important things to do with His time than be concerned if we like our new hair cut or if we happen to find our favorite movie in the $5 bin at Wal-Mart. But He delights in you! Good old dictionary.com gives this definition for delight:

a high degree of pleasure or enjoyment; joy; rapture

God created you – He gave you all of your fun quirks and he finds joy in the details of your life. Just like a parent cares about the happiness of their child (like when my mom brings me sonic). God cares about the little things that are important to you. I will leave you with another one of my favorite scriptures:

Psalm 139:17 “How precious are your thoughts about me, O God. They cannot be numbered! I can’t even count them; they outnumber the grains of sand! And when I wake up you are still with me!”

Next time you feel like no one cares know that God thinks about you more than you could ever measure! That blows my mind!! Today I am thankful that I serve a God who governs the world and cares that I love Dr. Pepper

Today is a Gift

Written By: jamieu - Feb• 12•12

Today’s picture is simply a snapshot of the date. I know that it is said all of the time but today is a gift. Since Christmas day I have found out about 3 different people in the prime of their lives who have passed away suddenly. It is always a shocking and disturbing thing to hear, especially around the holidays. In the book of James there is a verse that always makes me stop and think.

13 Now listen, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.” 14 Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. 15 Instead, you ought to say, “If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.” 16 As it is, you boast in your arrogant schemes. All such boasting is evil. James 3:13-16

Even if you lived to be 150 years old – compared to eternity your life is just a puff of smoke. I always think of this when I blow out a candle – we are just that little vapor that is there for a moment and gone in an instant. I have actually blogged about this verse before – but I will say it again. Make your today count. We are not guaranteed a tomorrow. This is not something any of us want to think about but it is the truth. Hopefully everyone reading this will live a long and full life – but if your time was cut short would you be ready to face eternity, to come face to face with your creator?

6 Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. John 14:6

Jesus is the only way –period the end. If you do not have a relationship with Him, do not put it off for another day. Most people do not wake up in the morning thinking that it will be their last. When you are confident that you will spend eternity in the loving arms of God, death is not so scary. You can live with confidence that no matter what happens in this life your end will be good. Once your vapor is gone there is no going back. It is done – no more chances to say, “I will get serious about my relationship with God when I am a little older.” Procrastination catches up with us all at some point. You were given TODAY – what are you going to do with it?

A New Blog for a New Year

Written By: jamieu - Feb• 12•12

As the year draws to a close it is my usual tradition to think back over all that has happened during the previous 12 months. I usually aid my memory by cracking open my journal and reliving my experiences as I documented them. SO that is my first picture of the year! These are only three of the journals that I have kept over my lifetime. I am SO thankful that I have them. There are so many things that I think that I will remember and never bother to document. I have discovered that that is usually not the case and regret it. When I write an entry right there in the moment (or at least sometime in the same day or so) I am able to paint a picture that will live on both on paper and my memory.

I encourage you to keep a journal as well (yes even they guys). In the pages of the books I have kept are memories, prayers, scriptures, and words from the Lord. I look back and am encouraged to see what God has brought me through – it gives me hope for the future. We live in an age of text messages and emails. We hit send and it is gone into cyper space in an instant and into someone’s deleted file within moments. There is so little documentation now. I miss the days when I got letters in the mail! My friend Amanda lives in Texas and as kids (before email, texting, and skype) we would write letters to each other all the time. I saved those letters in a binder and it always brings me joy to read over them and relive our childhood escapades. I feel like this generation is not going to have anything like that to pass on to their children.

Over Christmas break I was visiting my grandmother and she gave me her scrapbook from when she was a child and teenager. It is full of letters from friends and newspaper clippings. So far the oldest thing I have found is a valentine she received in the first grade – which would mean it is from around 1927! This is a treasure that I will always cherish – I am so glad that she took the time to save some memories to pass on to me.

So maybe this year instead of an email send a letter to a friend – even if they live in the same city! Write down the things that God does in your life in 2012 and in 50 years when your grandchildren crack open your journal God will use it to encourage them. Let’s make sure that when we are gone someday we leave something behind for those who follow after us.