I’m currently sitting in the car driving back from a staff retreat in Michigan. It’s been an amazing couple of days as we’ve celebrated, processed and enjoyed the company of each other.
We started off this retreat with a spiritual practice on the shores of Lake Michigan, listening to God and reflecting on what is setting in our lives. Like the sun sets, what in our lives is it time to let go of in order for new things to rise.
I realized that for most of my adult Christian life, this Lake has been where I see God. Where he has revealed himself to me in so many ways. And how many times I almost missed what he had for me. So as I join in on this week’s link up at Mrs. Discple, I’m continuing to process this. So here we go –
#FridayFive: Blessings I almost missed out on
When I first moved to MI in 2007, I barely knew anyone. It was my first experience away from my family. I was also in the midst of a particularly challenging season where it felt like I was constantly running away. One day I went to the beach of Lake Michigan with my head phones and iPod, ready to spend time with God through my music. Only I got to the beach and my iPod was dead. I remember being so mad. How am I supposed to hear from God without my music?? But I sat down in the sand anyway. I had never been still before God. Silent before God.
In those moments I felt God in a new and powerful way. It started me down a path of healing. I’ve always struggled with being alone- I’m an extrovert. But I’ve come to a point now where I can be alone and not feel lonely. There are so many times in my life I wish I could go back to and tell younger me to be okay by herself.
Paying my dues
When I’m in a healthy place I understand my own limitations. There was a time in my early ministry days when I was offered a job I was not ready for. I turned it down because of it. But there was another time of my life that I wasn’t offered a job I thought I was ready for. Instead I was offered an opportunity to be mentored and grow. I was really disappointed. But I took the opportunity given to me and now I know that God still had things to do with me.
The year that followed that hard decision was an unbelievable blessing. My ministry has benefited from that year of refining and growing. But I almost missed it because I thought I was ready before my time.
Influence of deep friendships
I am a 2 on the Enneagram – I’m called the loving one. The way I function in relationship is to always be looking to care for people. Sometimes that opens me up to being used and taken advantage of, I put others needs before my own. I went through a season of life where I was constantly giving of myself but not getting much back. It closed me off to having meaningful relationships. I always felt that no one could give me what I needed and I was constantly giving others whatever they needed.
I had a friend come into my life that was also a 2. Frequent readers know her as my Roomsmate. She entered my life in a time when I needed someone to care for me. To ask me how I was doing. Through her love and friendship I was able to open up more. Process why I felt the way I felt because she felt it too. I wasn’t alone.
Through that blessing of a relationship, I was able to quantify what I needed in friendship. So now, I can see relationships for what they are and choose my investment level. I understand more now what I need in my closest friends in order to feel filled.
I might just be writing this one because I’m the last month I’ve been to three of our denomination’s camps. But let’s just talk about camp.
I did not grow up going to camp. I went camping a ton and I went to sleep away Girl Scout camp. But I did not do camp the way that most of my colleagues did camp. To be really honest, I never understood the appeal. I didn’t get why people talked about it all the time. It seemed a bit like a cult classic movie I’d never seen.
But then I discovered camp. As an adult I’ve fallen in love with camp. Mostly because the three camps near us are really spectacular but also because I’m starting to see it through their eyes. The beauty of life at camp is something that tugs on my heart. I love my job and I love getting to do ministry in this church so don’t worry friends- I’m not leaving. But I’ll be glad to drive up to camp any day.
Trying new things
I can be a bit of an nay sayer. I’m sure we can talk about my psychological development and get to the root of it. But simply put, I’m not super into trying new things. I’m set in my ways, just a bit. But recently I’ve found myself trying to do more out of my comfort zone. Challenging myself to shake off my insecurities and just live my life. Suddenly I’m thinking, what have I been doing all these years?
When we let our insecurities stop us from living, we are being robbed of a blessing. We may hate the new things, but what if those new things let us understand God or others in a new way.
More on this to come because I’m still processing. But I’ve almost missed out on a lot of blessings and moving forward I want to keep my eyes open for more of God and less of the lies that hold me still.