I’m so not a blogger. One might venture to ask, “Then why are you writing on a blog?” Good question.
So, I’m not a blogger, but I am a retreater, I may even be (or may be on my way to being) a passionate retreater. So we’ll just say I’m a retreater who happens to be writing on a blog about retreating. Wah-lah! Glad we got that out of the way.
I’m a retreater, are you…? It’s OK, you can be honest, because I’m about to be.
I remember my first retreat. It was 3 years ago and I was about 5 months pregnant. I was pretty excited to scoot away for the weekend: a bunch of my friends, meals cooked and served, hot tubs, shopping outlets, GAME NIGHTS! (I love games), mani, pedis, kids at home with Dad… yes, this was going to be a great vacation. And then it happened…. I went on a retreat, and not on vacation. Fast forward to Sunday afternoon, I found myself in the bathroom at In-n-Out, a crying mess on the phone with my poor (sympathetic but baffled) husband, whining about how I just wanted to get home. I didn’t want to grab lunch or stop to shop at the outlets like my carpooling friends were planning. I was desperate to just get home.
I was so not a retreater in that moment.
How on earth did I get there, to that moment?
I’m pretty sure it was my expectations. I wasn’t coming to the retreat expectant. I was coming with expectations– specific “things” I expected to “do”, really they were temporal things that I thought would leave me feeling pampered, rested, and entertained…like a vacation.
I wasn’t expectant for what the Lord was going to do – spiritual things that would urge me to worship Him, that would magnify the areas of my heart He was going to refine, that would reveal sin still crouching at the door (for instance, GAME NIGHT!… and perhaps how one might conduct themselves when losing…. or winning, but that’s a whole ‘nother blog and I’m so not a blogger). Because I wasn’t expectant I wasn’t open to His itinerary, I was gripping onto mine and mine was not satisfying. This combined with the fact that I’m a complete extrovert who was virtually attending a 3 day slumber party left me utterly overwhelmed and overstimulated.
So how does one go from being “so not a retreater” to becoming a passionate one?
Ladies, we belong to a God who’s mercies are new every morning. Oh, how new they are in a year’s time!
The next years retreat wasn’t void of those amenities. In fact, I enjoyed them much more, because they weren’t the center of my expectations, (and because the Lord is faithful to grow me in self control…GAME NIGHT! Ephesians 4:29 – Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.) they were fun things, but the best things were certainly coming from God and that’s where I was going to be expectant. I was preparing to receive them and ready to rejoice.
I’m passionate about retreating because the Lord is passionate to lather me in love, satisfy me with His word, and mold and shape me towards greater things.
I think a good retreat is a little like a good massage, though sometimes it hurts a little bit, the outcome far out weighs a few knots.
I’m expectant, are you?