My best friend, Micki, and I transferred to a large university our junior year. When we scheduled classes, getting in to those for our major wasn’t difficult, but finding an open class for the required PE class was a challenge. Students had registered at the close of last semester, so few classes were open. Micki stood next to me registering for the same. “Well,” the advisor said, “it looks like you have a choice of wrestling, basketball, and intermediate modern dance. All other PE classes are closed.”
Micki and I looked at each other in a panic. I didn’t know if I would laugh or cry. “Intermediate?” I asked incredulously. “I’ve never even had beginning.” (Not to mention that I wasn’t remotely interested in the class.)
“That’s fine, you can still get into the class.”
Micki and I registered, not knowing what we were getting into. We needed two PE classes and couldn’t double up in the three remaining semesters.
The day came for class to start, and wearing our leotards, we walked into the gym. One of the students said with (sickening) enthusiasm, “Our instructor studied abroad this past summer. Isn’t that wonderful? I can’t wait to see what she teaches us.”
I wasn’t feeling it. The beautiful instructor, long straight blonde hair, and walking toward the center of the gym in statuesque posture, read the class list. It appeared she knew many students. Of course, she did- they had been in beginning modern dance.
“Alright ladies, let’s go to the bars.” Micki and I followed the others’ leads. We had no idea what we were doing.
“Third position”, the instructor called.
I imitated the girl in front of me. Micki, behind me, said in a stage whisper, “Marilyn, what happened to first and second?”
“I have no idea,” I whispered. “I’m just following the girl in front of me.”
It was nothing short of a miracle we got through the semester and actually passed the course. I won’t even describe our group presentation for our final.
Positions. It amazes me how there are purposefully designed positions in dance. The techniques enable you to move with grace, flow, and ease.
People in scripture have been positioned to move purposefully too.
In Genesis, Hagar a slave girl, was thrown out of the house and sent to a desert. It was there she met God. It is the first time in scripture we read the name El Roi. She gave this name to the LORD who spoke to her: “’You are the God who sees me,’ for she said, ‘I have now seen the One who sees me.’” (Genesis 16:13 NIV)
Hagar was positioned to be the first female to see the character of our God who sees every detail of our lives.
In Genesis, we meet Joseph-sold into captivity by his jealous brothers. Joseph rose to leadership, was falsely accused and imprisoned, then released to use his wisdom to save people from famine. When reunited with his brothers, he told them,
“ ‘You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.’” (Genesis 50:20 NIV)
Joseph understood God had positioned him for specific roles and purpose.
As an infant, Moses was placed in a basket in the crocodile infested Nile River, by his courageous mother in an attempt to save his life from murder by Pharaoh. An Egyptian princess rescued him and he was raised and educated in a palace. Later, he became God’s instrument to deliver the Israelites. (Read the accounts in Exodus.)
God positioned Moses for a task.
Esther, a Hebrew orphan, was sent to a palace, chosen to be queen, and then saved her people. She had “come to royal position for such a time as this.” (Esther 4:14b NIV)
God positioned Esther for an amazing life-saving role.
God positions us today, perhaps not to save a nation, but to influence people. You may be positioned in your family, neighborhood, workplace, small group, organization, committee, or in a simple conversation. Your life may have changed in a move, by a diagnosis, or with an empty nest but has purpose. Each of us has been positioned.
We may be uncomfortable, but our positions matter, and so does what we do about them: words, decisions, attitudes, and interactions are opportunities to use our positions.
Intermediate modern dance, was an experience I’d like to forget, but fifty years later, it’s fresh in my mind. So is the fact in that semester’s position, I persevered through the unfamiliarity and discomfort and passed the course.
What about your positions and the position you are in now? How do you see your purpose and influence to dance in your God-appointed position
*Photo courtesy of Bailey Rose Foland