Have you ever listened to Tiao Cruz’s song Dynomite and thought, “I need to live that way?”
“I throw my hands up in the air sometimes
Saying ay-oh, gotta let go.
I wanna celebrate and live my life
Saying ay-oh, baby let’s go.
Cause we gon rock this club
We gon’ go all night
We gon’ light it up
Like it’s dynamite.
Cause I told you once
Now I told you twice
We gon light it up
Like it’s dynamite“
Over the last few weeks, I’ve learned a few lessons from my students and the songs that they’ve given to me. Songs with words like party, caraba, fiesta forever. Dance like it’s your last night. When I blast those songs, I have to fight the urge to throw my hands up in the air and let go, to have fun, and not worry about what others think of me. You might think that a guy who’s known for fist pump dancing wouldn’t ever have reservations but, I feel like I need to let go of expectations others have for me. Their love is my drug. Life’s too short to hold onto the worriers about what others think. It’s only going to break, break, break your heart.
Os Guinness, one of my favorite Christian authors, believes we are all living in front of an audience. He Says, “Only madmen, geniuses, and supreme egotists do things purley for themselves. It is easy to buck a crowd, not too difficult to march to a different drummer. But it is truly difficult-perhaps impossible-to march only to your own drumbeat. Most of us, whether we are aware of it or not, do things with an eye to the approval of some audience or other. The question is not whether we have an audience, but which audience do we have?” He wants to know if we are living for others or for Christ.
Guinness made this statement clear when he said, “A life lived listening to the decisive call of God is a life lived before one audience that trumps all others-the Audience of One.”
I think, if I am living for Christ, then I take the song Dynomite and learn to let a few things go. What if I just threw my hands up in the air and lived my life? What would I not have time for? Seriously, I gotta feelin that life is a lot like my student’s dance parties. Life’s just one big performance, but who is in my audience? Am I making sure that God’s opinion of me is the only one that really matters?
My students could dance until they died. They love to throw dance parties. The weekend of October 10th they got their fill. Ashley and Alisa, in seventh grade, celebrated with a huge combined 13th birthday bash at Club Tennis, a local hot spot for birthday parties. The dance floor was decked out with lights and fog machines. There were kids from all over the city, rockin from side to side, side, side to side, just dancing, having fun. The next day Sharom, Ale, and Luispe celebrated their 16th birthdays, and of course they rocked it with a dance party too. At the sweet 16 party, just like all other parties, the kids formed a circle. Everyone on the outside of the circle kind of rocked back and forth in a semicircular line dance. Typically, someone does something unique, but for the most part it’s a mosh of silly dances and then randomly someone is shoved into the middle, to shake it like a Polaroid picture. And no matter what those moves are, everyone on the outside cheers. It’s interesting to be in the audience and then suddenly be on stage.
Two years ago I saw Sharom steal the show while she was dancing on stage for her Spanish Flamenco dance recital. She really knows how to dance. And then once last year at lunch she taught a few of the girls how to use the Castanuelas, hand clappers, and so if anyone wanted to know how to dance, she’d be the person to consult. But she is also very good at just having fun at these parties. Therefore, I was shocked when she was forced into the middle of the dance floor and she threw down my fist pump move like a pro. And then she asked me to join her. Of course I obliged.
The problem with posting a dance video on Youtube is that it could go viral. Now all of my students have seen it, and I’ve become a mild dancing celebrity. Just the other day Emlio, a kindergartner, came up to me and started doing my moves. Never thought that would happen. I can’t go to a party without being asked to show off my moves. I guess the club can’t handle me right now. And so I stepped out into the middle, pumped my fists into the air, grabbed my leg and gyrated around and around. I must’ve looked a fool. But on the dance floor, in the middle of everyone, with the music blasting, I didn’t have time to worry about that.
I’m willing to act foolish on the dance floor because I know only God’s opinion of me matters, but I feel like he is asking me to transfer this to my every day life. Life’s a serious matter and with God as my only audience member he is requiring that I live a certain way. In Xela I live surrounded by wealth and poverty. As a member of the middle class, I feel like I need to be doing more for the poor. The other day I was at Wendy’s and a little kid came in asking for my small change, so that he could eat. I didn’t have any, and before I realized that I should have just gone up and bought him food, he’d vanished.
If I’m living for Christ, then I’m taking the serious things in this world and placing them ahead of the frivolous things. I must let go of my self doubt, whether my students like me or not. Or if I am in good enough shape to consider myself fit. Or what my co-workers think of me when I do go make a fool of myself on the dance floor. If I’m living for Christ I am throwing my hands up in the air and worshiping him with all I do.
Following Christ looks foolish sometimes. It might even look a little like my dance moves, very silly, but I believe once I start moving to the beat, I’m really caught up in the rhythm that God wants me to be in. I know he is challenging me to let go of what other people think. To perform my life as if he is the only one watching. He will cheer even louder than my students do when I try to dance, if I step out and serve him without any reservations. He wants me to throw my hands up in the air and move, move, move.