About a month ago I went on a spring retreat with my sorority sisters from Sigma Phi Lambda. We went to Fall's Creek and stayed in a cabin and it was so much fun! It was so good to take a break from school and take a weekend to be off of my phone and social media. I grew closer with God and with my sisters during that weekend. We had a lot of quiet time, worship, and devotionals. I loved it though because it brought me a sense of peace in my busy life that I didn't really have before. I just wanted to reflect and share what I learned during the retreat. During the three days, we had a guest speaker, Brittany, and she was so encouraging and inspiring with her words and stories. I feel obligated to share it because the message was so good and has honestly stuck with me!
We talked about life messages. Expectations versus reality. We have to rely on the Holy Spirit to fight our battles.
1. I have to be the best at everything.
2. Follow the rules, or else.
3. From the outside, it looks like I have it all together, but I am actually torn up in the inside.
4. Emotions don't make you look weak.
5. Don't admit that you need help.
The spiritual side is only one side of us.
With hurt there is healing.
With fear there is wisdom.
With loneliness there is intimacy.
With shame there is mercy.
The loneliness is about wanting to be known. There is a difference between belonging (if I can be like me) and fitting in (if I can be like you.) If we aren't showing who we are to each other, then we're not really known. Belonging is about showing who we are. Loneliness shows us that we desire a relationship- with ourselves, with other people, and with God.
Every day we take off our old self and put on a new self.
The relationship with myself: awareness and lack of self-knowledge
Life mapping is to look in the past to move forward.
The relationship with others: God wants us to be in community. Seek Him first.
There is a difference between intensity and intimacy.
Intensity: attempt to strain or have struggled.
Intimacy: being known, to live in vulnerability and responsibility. Exposure of limitations. Make your needs known and accept help.
Brittany talked about marble jar friends and this definitely stuck with me. Marble jar friends are the small moments of trust built over time. Marbles get added and taken away with time, just like friends come in and out of our lives.
The relationship with God: longing for goodness, joy, celebration that we don't want to end. We aren't going to understand the fullness of forgiveness. Being lonely is not a negative thing.
Next Brittany talked about 3 ways to transform ourselves.
1. The openness of heart.
Making our true selves known while being open to new relationships.
2. Attentiveness of heart.
Having the capacity to notice things. Let them talk, be aware of things but don't try to fix everything.
3. The curiosity of heart.
Curiosity is about wanting to know the soul of another person. Ask questions when you have them.
Pretty much the entire weekend Brittany kept hyping up this last devo before everyone went home. It was about silence and solitude. Here are some bullet points:
-People are disgusted with being busy in our busy lives.
-We live in a time that we are super distracted by technology.
-Technology is robbing us from an intentional presence with others, ourselves, and God.
-Even Jesus retreats. Read through the gospel. Retreat is about going into silence and solitude with the Father.
Retreat: intentional time in the quiet to be alone with ourselves and with God.
She mentioned the difference between external and internal silence.
External silence: getting to a location or a place to be quiet.
Internal silence: a list of things to do, self-criticism, quiet those thoughts.
An example of this would be when you're driving in a car but always want to turn on the music because you don't like silence. That silence is intentional.
Then we talked about the difference between solitude and isolation.
Solitude: chosen separation for finding your soul so I can re-enter relationships and do it well. It's intentional. It's a desire to find God.
Isolation: draw away from other people. Always thinking of the approval/disapproval of others and not thinking of God or what He wants and the desires that He has for you.
Without silence and solitude, a lot of things can happen. We begin to feel a distance from God. The truth is that God is always with us, even when we don't think He is. It's so important to rest with Him. If we're not having intentional time with God, then everything will start to turn bad.
Be in the presence of the Lord every day. We're human beings, not human doings.