This past weekend, the entire Life Teen staff went to Camp Covecrest in Tiger, Georgia for our staff retreat. I will admit that when the retreat began on Friday night, I felt like I wasn’t completely open to what the weekend may have in store for me. It was only a week after coming off of our silent retreat, and we were going to be seeing all of the other missionaries who I was with for the first month of this mission year. Honestly, in my mind, I hadn’t been thinking about retreat. I had been thinking about seeing everyone. During our first session, some of the points really hit me, as they seemed to introduce some of the same themes from my prayer during the silent retreat. I had heard people talking about how vulnerable you are after coming out of solitude, but in the week between the silent retreat and the staff retreat, I had not really encountered that. But then Friday night, it was like all of the sudden I was getting slapped in the face, realizing how vulnerable my heart still felt. And with that, there was this part of me that just wanted to shut off. I didn’t want to have to share my heart with anyone, as I thought about how I was just sick of constantly having to tell everyone everything. I can’t really describe the feeling. We talk about the importance of community and sharing what God is speaking in your heart with your community. In sharing, we are better able to understand how the Lord is speaking to us. At the same time, in St. Therese’s Story of a Soul, she describes how it is impossible to share everything that the Father speaks to you and does for you. Some of it is so intimate that it can’t be described, and in a way, trying to describe it at times can almost take away from that intimacy. So there is definitely a level of prudence in how much you share, although we are called to share to a certain extent. In my desire to shut myself off completely, I think the devil was definitely trying to get to me.
I kept pushing myself to be open to the weekend. I tried the best I could, and my heart became gradually more opened, as this odd feeling of vulnerability began to dissipate. As I shared in a past post about my silent retreat, I really struggled during my silent retreat to understand how new insights didn’t negate anything from the past. I am starting to realize how essential my understanding and acceptance of those personal insights are as I continue on my journey. This weekend, the Lord continued to shed light and provide deeper insights. And although I was actually open to accepting them, there was this part of me that was filled with angst that I had to figure everything out. In light of these insights about myself, I must try to figure out what they mean and how to fix them. At the same time, there was this part of me that really felt like the Lord was just asking me to rest in Him and to be at peace. But I kept fighting that peace, thinking that there were too many things to “figure out.” At one point, I realized how much I was resisting the peace, and I knew I needed to stop resisting. There are always going to be things to “figure out.” There are always going to be things to work on. So many times I feel like I can’t be peaceful because I know that A, B, and C need to be done. Well the reality is that A, B, and C are always going to be there. Sometimes you need to just rest and not figure it all out. As I had this realization, it hit me that the Lord has definitely spoken about this to me multiple times this year. The theme of focusing on being, not doing comes up constantly. It is not new to me, yet with the realization of the need to just allow myself to be peaceful, it suddenly seemed new. The Father knows me and knows He must continue to reiterate things to me until I finally get it. And once I get it, He calls me out and shows me how He wants me to go deeper. I have gotten a lot better with the concept of being, not doing. I can now be more relaxed instead of thinking of all the tasks I need to work on. In a sense, I have gotten better at being, not doing tangible things. Now the Lord is asking me to take that a step further and to let go of doing the intangible things, such as figuring out my life in my head. First of all, I am not alone. It is not me who is supposed to be figuring this all out. As with all the insights and revelations, I think it is quite clear He is showing me that He is the One who is in charge of figuring it all out. And in His time, He will continue to shed light and understanding to me. I need to let go of my desire to control, being shown in how I want to figure everything out that is being spoken to my heart, and I need to let Him be in control. Has this same message been spoken to me before? Yes. Since it is coming up again does it mean I wasn’t really as convicted as I thought I was the first, second, or even third time it came up? No. It simply means that He continues to call me deeper, as He is consistent in reminding me of how He has spoken to me in the past.
With all of these realizations, I realized my overwhelming need for a sense of peace and the time to rest in the Lord’s presence. I feel like so much has been stirred up in my heart recently that I really needed that. He knew that. That’s why He kept inviting me into that peaceful embrace. Saturday night, I really allowed myself to just rest in the Lord’s presence. As I sat in front of the Blessed Sacrament, I did not think or pray about anything. I sat there, breathing in the Lord’s love and peace, and it was wonderful.