Thank God for Swing Dancing (Music: 3 of 3)

Listening to Music on the Train

Is the music noise or something we are 'listening' to?

When are we going to get tired of living a life that is not up to the snuff of God and do something about it? This is the last part of a 3 part series (if you have not already, please start with Part 1).

3 – I’m thankful for music – because we must not forget to listen to it.

It was another great ‘follow’ I was dancing with that congratulated me by saying “You are doing a great job with your steps – you have definitely got the steps down.” And then she paused looking at me as if she was going to say something more, but held back. I asked her, “What else were you going to say?” She was a good follow, so she asked, “Are you sure you want me to say anything else?” Since I was here in class to learn, I told her to please proceed knowing it was going to be something that would tarnish my otherwise ‘glowing review’.

She told me, “You are forgetting to listen to the music.” [my reaction: Doh! *heavy sigh*]

Let me explain what she meant. The Lindy Hop steps are an 8 count step – and it goes like [1, 2, 3 and 4, 5, 6, 7 and 8]. Or you could hum it [hmmm, hmmm, hm hm hm, hmmm, hmmm, hm hm hm] or breath it [hooo, hooo, huh huh huh, hoo0, hooo, huh huh huh] (where hoo0 is a breath out, and huh is a breath in]. Now it may not sound that hard – but when you add turns and twists and spinning, you have to keep that step going. What my friend was telling me was that I had the steps down – but they didn’t sync with the music. I was so-called ‘off-beat’, even though I was doing the steps, 8 counts each time, but my steps would drift out of line with the music. I was not in-tune.

I was following my own beat.

This caught me off guard because I was so worried about stepping wrong I forgot to remember that the reason I step in the first place is to dance with the music; with the music’s beat. Does this sound familiar? – getting bogged down with details and forgetting the reason behind it. It’s similar to the situation Jeremiah found himself in.

Jeremiah 17 is another chapter I encourage you to read. Jeremiah 17 is a decent summary of Jerusalem’s seeming impossible situation: The people of Jerusalem where not in-tune, even though they were doing the 8-count beat of sacrifices and listening to prophets – it wasn’t the music of the bible and Jeremiah’s message that they were in tune with. Jerusalem was humming it’s own beat – and quite oblivious to the melodic music of the marching Babylonians and God’s warnings. If you read all the way through chapter 17, God does give Jerusalem a potential way out of impending doom if they start by looking at the Sabbath day as a day for God. What caused most of this was what is found in Jere 17:5

Jere 17:5 For thus says the Lord: “Cursed is ‘the man’ who trusts in ‘man’ and makes flesh his strength, whose heart departs from the Lord.”

Re-Saying that verse with my analogy in hand – cursed is the man who dances to his own beats, whose ears have departed from the music of God.

I am thankful for the music of God – for the sheet music we call the bible. But as Christians we can not let the music be unheard, we have to listen to it, and let it change the steps we are dancing. Our steps must be in tune and on beat with God’s music – but we can’t do that if we are not listening.


I started learning how to do swing dancing because I was tired of going to church dances and not knowing how to dance to swing music. I got a lot more than I bargained for, though, because I never expected for it to be as hard as it is.

When are we, myself included, going to get tired of living a life that is not up to the snuff of God and do something about it? We will get a lot more than we bargained for, and it’s a lot harder than anything we expected. But God’s Kingdom is worth it.

I am thankful for good leads – because leading is hard. (James 3)
I am thankful for good follows – because they help tremendously. (Eph 5)
I am thankful for God’s music – we must not forget to listen to it. (Jere 17)

From all these points, hopefully now you understand why I say the following.

Thank God for Swing Dancing.

[Part 1: I’m Thankful for Good Leads]

[Part 2: I’m Thankful for Good Follows]


3 responses to “Thank God for Swing Dancing (Music: 3 of 3)

  1. Pingback: Thank God For Swing Dancing (Leading: 1 of 3) | Jason Nitzberg

  2. Pingback: Thank God for Swing Dancing (Following: 2 of 3) | Jason Nitzberg

  3. This is a wonderful analogy, Jason! I’ve been greatly enjoying your series on swing dancing– it is so true that it has many life lessons embedded in it.

    There is another wonderful thing about the music in swing dancing– something I didn’t even understand until many beginner lessons and many dances with far superior leads. What I eventually learned is: if you both are listening to the music, it is *easier* for you both to lead and follow!

    As a follow, if I am dancing with a great lead, I don’t have to just “read his mind” to figure out what he’s going to do next. If the music is slowing down, I can expect him to slow down. If I know the song and I know a long pause is coming, I might expect him to do some sort of dip or other exaggerated move in that time. There are all sorts of variations where a lead might throw in a jump or a stomp or swivel or some other flair that looks really hard– but if you listen to the music its really not as difficult as it seems!

    So in going with your analogy… in our relationships with our brothers and sisters in Christ, we can submit to and follow one another so much more easily if we are both “listening to the music.” 🙂

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