dancing with joy

Dancing with Joy

I originally wrote a variation of this article and it appeared on Truly Simply Healthy. I remember this day, and this woman, and how envious I was of her joy. I want to find moments of happiness in even the simplest of things. I want to be more like this woman who was dancing at the gym on a random Tuesday for no other reason than she wanted to.


“Let them praise his name with dancing
    and make music to him with timbrel and harp.”

Psalm 149:3 NIV

There is a woman I see frequently at the gym and she is always dancing.

Literally. Dancing.

She can typically be found in the front row of treadmills, staring at a cement wall in front of her. Walking at a reasonable pace, and dancing.

I’m talking about arms waving in the air, raising the roof, snapping her fingers, pounding her fists, dancing.

This woman doesn’t stop. She moves it to the left, she shakes it to the right, never breaking a rhythm and never giving a second thought to what anyone else might be thinking about her.

She always manages to do so without breaking stride on the treadmill, which is also impressive in its own right.

Whatever this woman is drinking in the morning; I need it with a double shot of espresso. I can barely walk straight on a treadmill, let alone bust out an electric slide.

She exudes joy. Real, honest to goodness, joy.

And I find myself spending my elliptical time staring at nothing but this woman.

She is at the gym, on a boring old treadmill. Doing the mundane, everyday thing that we often do because we feel we should, or we want to lose weight, or we’re trying to make our hearts healthy.

And she’s doing it like it’s her favorite activity in the whole entire world.

Me? I trudge.

I trudge through my workout, often annoyed that the clock is moving so slowly, that the woman next to me keeps staring at me and I don’t know why (I mean, it’s not like I’m dancing at the gym or anything?)

I trudge home to meal prep and get some work done before I have to run to the post office, where I trudge through the motions there to beat the crowds to the grocery store so I can pick my son up in time from school, just so we can rush to his after-school sports.

I trudge through paying bills, and doing laundry, and picking up endless messes around my house.

I trudge. Everywhere.

And I often complain that I’m tired, that there aren’t enough hours in the day. That it’s too cold, too hot, too much of this, too little of that. I couldn’t tell you the last time I danced.

I bet this woman dances everywhere.

I bet she wakes up in the morning and the moment that toothbrush hits her mouth she’s moving.

She’s smiling, she’s singing, she’s already praising God for knowing she has an endless list of tasks ahead of her that day.

She dances through the gym, she moonwalks through the post office, and discos through the grocery store.

I bet she cha-chas picking up her grandkids from school, and river dances through sports games.

I bet she’s constantly dancing until the moment her head touches her pillow each night.

I know absolutely nothing about this woman (other than the entire story I’ve made up about her in my head during all those strides per minute).

But I know she’s giving me major life goals.

She’s got it all figured out, people. The secret to life that some people spend their entire lives in pursuit of; she’s got it. Right here in Iowa, dancing at the YMCA, this woman just knows.

So my goal for the rest of this year is to embrace joy. As Pastor Rick Warren says, happiness is something we choose. And friends, when we truly know Jesus, there’s no greater joy or happiness than that.

So much so, that it makes me want to dance.


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Psalm 149:3

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