A Tambourine In The Desert

I recently attended a Beth Moore conference, where her message for the weekend was titled “A Tambourine In The Desert.” The main passage of scripture she referenced was from Exodus, after the Israelites crossed through the Red Sea. If you’re unfamiliar, read chapters 14 and 15 when you have a moment. In short, as soon as they reached the other side, Miriam grabbed a tambourine and got her praise on.

Beth encouraged anyone who had a tambourine to bring it the next day to the conference. I just happen to have one. There’s no way my introverted, insecure self would play a tambourine in a stadium full of people, but I thought I’d bring it along just in case anyone else wanted a crack at it. As we sat down that morning, the 65+ year old woman who sat next to me exclaimed, “Oh, you actually brought a tambourine! I love it! Play it proud, darlin’!” I sheepishly muttered something about being a little embarrassed to play it, but I enthusiastically offered it to her at any point during the day.

And that precious woman grabbed my tambourine during the very first song. She shook it like her life depended on it, and then she shook what the good Lord gave her in time to the clink clink clink. She didn’t just play my tambourine–she owned it.

Then she handed it back to me, straightened her blouse, and said, “Okay, it’s your turn. You better play, girl!”

Now when my elders speak, I listen. And unless they’re telling me to do something insane, I generally oblige. So I played it. Softly…until she yelled, “louder!” and then I shook it like my life depended on it. And for a brief moment, I didn’t care that I was surrounded by people. I didn’t think about being broken or having cancer or possibly annoying the people around me with my tambourine. I just looked at the big grin on that woman’s face and I laughed as I shook what the good Lord gave me.

Then I realized what I was doing, I got embarrassed, and I stopped dancing. But however brief…I did it!

There were a lot of applications from Beth’s teaching that weekend, but my favorite was this: when faith takes a journey, it packs a tambourine. I have no idea what the rest of my journey looks like, but I want to be the type of person who busts a move in the desert. I feel like I’m wandering around one right now, but that doesn’t mean the party ends. If anything, I want it to drive me to grab my tambourine more. I don’t want to care about people’s opinions of me or how silly I may look doing things that nobody understands. I want to sing loudly and hold tightly and love fiercely. I want to dance like nobody’s watching. I want to seize every moment that I’m given, and I want to praise God for every breath that causes the rise and fall of my chest.

If you’re in a desert and you need a tambourine moment, I know where you can find one. Come on over and shake what the good Lord gave ya, even if it’s only a ten second dance party.


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