Standing atop a stage in front of nearly 3,000 people next to Derek and Julianne Hough, two of the greatest ballroom dancers in America, was the last thing I expected when I woke up last Sunday morning.
I had the exceptional opportunity to attend Derek and Julianne Hough's live tour "Move" at the Durham Performing Arts Center with my grandma. As it was a special occasion, we both decided to dress up. My grandma wore an adorable black and white knee length dress, and I was dressed in a charcoal grey suit with a white french cuff shirt, cuff links, and baby blue bow tie.
As we walked in the door and were ushered to our seats, I quickly realized that we were far overdressed for the occasion. Most of the audience wore jeans... As we took our seats in the front row of the second section, we caught a few surprised glances from passers-by, but otherwise we sat in quiet expectation waiting for the show to begin.
The performance was incredible. The costumes, music, movement and lights created a truly memorable experience. About halfway through the performance, Julianne asked for male members of the audience to raise their hands if they would like to participate in the show. Now as many of you may know, I am not one that enjoys being the center of attention or "putting myself out there", and I initially had no intention of raising my hand. As Julianne and several of her back up dancers stepped out into the audience to grab volunteers, my grandma leans over and whispers, "Jordan, you HAVE to raise your hand".
The thought flashed through my mind, "Eh, why not?" as my hand seemed to raise itself. This thought was quickly chased away by the next, "What in the world did I just do!?" as one of the dancers named Nika walked over, took my hand, and pulled me to my feet.
The next instant I found myself being walked up onto the stage with Nika by my side and 3,000 peoples' eyes on me. As I glanced around, I noticed that two other unsuspecting gentlemen had also made it onto the stage ,waiting as I was, to see what would come next. I stood, suit jacket buttoned, hands clasped tightly behind my back, trying to absorb the moment.
Suddenly Nika leaned over and whispered, "Jordan, when Julianne comes over here and asks you to dance, just do something ok?" Yeah sure! I'm in a suit, on stage in front of 3,000 people and now I have to improv a dance for two ballroom greats!
Julianne walks over to the first gentlemen and asks him to dance. He responded with the very safe two step, made famous by Hitch. As I watched Julianne walk over to me I thought to myself, here I am in this incredible and totally unforeseen moment, and I had two choices. I could hold back, shy away, and slip back into the background as soon as I could...or I could grab this moment with both hands and throw myself into it.
Standing beside me now, Julianne asks my name. As all these thoughts racing through my mind come to a head I respond, "Jordan".
"Well Jordan, are you ready to dance?"
I had made up my mind. "Absolutely!" I replied as I ripped off my suit jacket and threw it aside!
Nika and I ran toward the center of the stage. As she was freestyling, I kicked myself into an around-the-world.
One moment we were dancing together. The next we were racing up the stairs to a raised platform where we started doing the electric slide, and then shimmying, and then country two-stepping. After what was probably the longest, yet most exhilarating minute of my life, I helped Nika off the platform and bowed as the audience roared their approval.
Unbeknownst to me, this little dance off was being judged. Dazed I was informed that I had won the dance off as the other two gentlemen were ushered offstage.
I was pulled backstage by three of the back up dancers and was told that I was going to be asked back out momentarily and that I should have my camera ready...
As I heard my name echo from the stage, the dancers who were standing with me backstage pulled me up some stairs and out onto a platform raised about 20 feet above the stage looking down on the performers, and facing the entire DPAC audience. I was then asked to sit down on a chair which one of the girls had brought up. They slapped a cowboy hat on me and off they ran.
For the next several minutes I watched enraptured from my perch high atop the stage as the Hough's performed a rip-roaring country-themed routine. As the song faded out, Julianne ran up the stairs and plopped right into my lap and wrapped her arms around me!
So there I found myself, suit, bow tie, cowboy hat and all, with Julianne Hough in my lap, the lovely dancers of the tour at my back, and the camera flashes and applause from the audience in front of me. The next instant the stage faded into darkness.
My mind and my heart were racing trying to capture and savor everything that had just happened as I was ushered off the stage and back to my seat. Throughout the rest of the performance, intermission, as I was leaving after the show, and even in the parking garage I couldn't take more than a few steps without someone accosting me. I shook dozens of hands and posed for a number of pictures with new found fans. I was repeatedly asked if I was part of the act because seemingly my performance was that memorable.
I found myself at home in my room later that evening pondering this incredible turn of events. In a brief moment it was as if the Lord spoke to me and said, this never would have happened if you hadn't had the courage to STEP OUT.
In life I often find myself drifting through life. I give little thought to making an impact, shaking up the status quo, or rocking the boat. This experience showed me in a powerful way that our Father in Heaven WANTS to bless us! He loves us! But many times in order to experience His blessings we have to STEP OUT. Raise your hand, make the leap, ask the questions, or whatever else you're afraid to do. The Lord will meet you and bless you as you step out and allow yourself to be vulnerable.
I'm reminded of the passage in Scripture when Peter stepped out of the boat, out of his comfort zone towards his Savior. In that moment of stepping out the Lord met Peter in a very special and personal way. How is the Lord calling you to STEP OUT? The next time you step out in faith and courage you may find yourself in front of a crowd of 3,000 people as I did, or it may (and most likely will be) a completely different situation, but our Father WILL meet you in that moment and give you courage in ways you have never before dreamed.
I am so looking forward to hearing the testimonies of how God has met YOU as you stepped out in confidence! Please share your stories with me and others!