I was in the throes of a sweaty Zumba class yesterday when it dawned on me how much gym classes and Christianity have in common. It sounds a little weird, I know, but just go with me and let me explain. As Jesus is to the believer, so the Zumba instructor is to us in the class. He knows exactly what he is doing, he is our example and he is the one who we should emulate. If I am going to have great class, I need to keep my eyes on the Instructor and copy what he does. And even more than that I need to catch his passion and find his rhythm. As I do, the steps become more instinctive and I grow in confidence and maturity as a dancer. In the class there are those who (unlike me) have been doing the class for years and dance a whole lot more like an Instructor than me. Watching and imitating them will also benefit me. They know the dances, follow the Instructor well and can help me learn the steps. But the best thing I can do it keep my eyes on the Instructor. I have found that the moment I look around and compare myself to the others in the class, I lose my step and it takes me a while to get back in the dance. There will always be dancers who do “better” or “worse” than me. That is totally irrelevant to my dance. The best thing I can do is watch my Instructor, give everything I have and commit myself to dancing more like him. Another thing that totally kills my groove is wondering if the super-fit gym bunnies outside the studio are watching me through the glass doors. Am I making a total fool of myself? Are they amused by the sight of me dancing my heart out? Who cares, actually! Those questions distract me and take the fun out of the dance. I am not dancing for anyone other than the Father. What pleases him is that I am watching the Instructor, keeping in step with him, and find joy as I grow. Some of the dances are easy for me and some are a little trickier. But the Instructor has a way of uncomplicating things, of breaking them down and patiently teaching us, so that after a while, even that which seemed hard starts to come naturally and we are dancing steps we never thought we could. One of my favourite things about Zumba is that I do it with a group of other people who love it and who are also following the Instructor. We share a love for dance, encourage each other, laugh at our mistakes, help each other, sweat together and grow together. I promise you, if I was doing Zumba alone in my lounge with a DVD to follow I would have given up long ago. Half the fun is doing it with other people: they keep me dancing when I feel too tired to carry on and their joy and passion rubs off on me. But what keeps me coming back to Zumba is my Instructor. He exudes life, his passion is contagious, and he is patient, kind, loves teaching and loves people. And he is just a man. How much more Jesus who calls us to imitate him in His dance? He is the perfect Instructor whose dance is perfectly beautiful. Every day he is calling me to watch him, catch his passion and dance my heart out. And in his eyes, as I try out new steps, stumble and trip, get up and keep learning, my dance is perfectly beautiful too.