life, My Faith

Out of the wilderness

I just spent over an hour in the car driving back from an amazing weekend, and I had this song on repeat. I must live under a rock because I’ve never heard Thy Will by Hillary Scott before (or I did and never noticed). Thursday though it came on while I was running errands and the words are what I heard. Yes it’s a beautiful song, but the words spoke from the very core of my heart. Every single line. My soul understood them all. So an hour of this song and some time with God driving back…just me, Him and my own personal concert interrupted by the occasional conversation.

That’s why I drive by myself places. I love being alone in the car. I can sing as loud as I want to. I can listen to songs on repeat for an hour. And I can have honest conversations with God sometimes because no one else is there with me.

I went to a retreat this weekend. It was up kind of in the middle of nowhere. When I started hitting those curves in the woods I thought to myself, I’ve seen horror movies like this. (Well no I’ve seen previews. I’m not a horror movie person. But I’ve seen enough to know nothing good happens in the middle of nowhere.).

I’ve never been before. But God. God knows me. He knows I’m a chicken about things that involve a bunch of people and He knows I would come up with a reason I couldn’t go. Because of this He had them ask me really early to do some things, so I had to go. (He also sent some of my people as backup because He cares that I need that too).

I’m so glad He did. There’s something about the middle of nowhere. There’s something about nature. And there’s always something about water. God shows up there for me. I’ve noticed a pattern in the last couple of years. When God wants to really tell me something. When He wants me to hear it and sit in it, He takes me outside. There’s usually water nearby. And as I sit in nature and watch the water go by, He does business with my heart.

I’m not an outdoorsy person. I’m not athletic by any means. My idea of camping involves a hotel. Bugs and I are not friends and the sun and I aren’t good friends either (#redheadproblems). But some of my best searching times have been spent outside. This weekend was no different.

I’ve had questions for a while. Big ones. Where do we go from here questions and I think He answered some of them this weekend. And it’s terrifying. And it’s exciting. But it’s terrifying.

I sent a message to someone I trust, someone who is almost a mentor (though she might not want to be that; I don’t know) because while it’s not ready for public consumption God knows me. He knows if I don’t tell someone or talk it through with someone, the devil will get ahold of it again and we’ll circle the same mountain forever. Also He knows I need support and guidance.

God sent me to this place. He took me out of my comfort zone so He could give me the direction I have been seeking.

It was a church singles retreat. I had been dodging those events for years before about a year and a half ago. My mom had told me I needed to be involved there. I said, no I’m good. I signed up for some events, but I never showed up. I had a preconceived notion of what singles events were and I didn’t want to be a part. I also didn’t want to go anywhere I didn’t have friends because at the core I’m an introvert. I’m socially awkward sometimes (read: a lot of times).

My people pulled me in. I wanted to be with them so I went with them to things. At the end of the year, my people and my flare for creativity and organization got me pulled into the leadership team at a time when it was changing. I definitely felt out of my element then. But God….

He knows me. He knows if you give me a job or responsibility, I feel obligated and compelled to do it. To show up every time. He knows, too, what it takes to make me feel valued.

This weekend, they told me I was going to emcee the event. My introverted side said, oh that’s a bad idea. My inner peacock said, give me the stage one more time. The peacock won out. They gave me a mic and a crowd and something came over me. The shy introvert got left in Tulsa and I had a great time. They may have wondered why they gave me the mic at times, but if they did, I did too so that’s fine. But God knows me.

By the time I had to share a piece of my story, I had been up there cutting up enough that I was comfortable in front of this crowd, and God told my story. It was unusual because this planner, this writer, wrote nothing down. I had thought it through, yes, but I guess I decided subconsciously to wing it. God told my story.

And then He used a man named Gospel to speak into my life for the rest of the weekend. (For real, the retreat speaker’s name is Gospel).

It was an amazing time. I had some great conversations, met some new people, and had a stress-free weekend. I haven’t had that in a while. And God showed up there.

Saturday afternoon, people were playing games and I started getting a crazy bad headache. Instead of entertaining a crowd, I took some Tylenol, put in my headphones and laid on a bench outside. (Why not in my bed? No idea…). As I lay there God and I had some conversation then I fell asleep. Outside. On a bench. I woke up when an random internet signal hit my phone and made it ding and then was gone.

You see it was also a weekend unplugged. There is absolutely NO cell service there. It was stressful for a minute. I’m thinking what do I do without scrolling through social media? What if my alarm company needs to tell me someone broke into my house? What if someone needs me? But then I let it all go. I did what I could do. I connected to real life. It was good. I left my phone behind when I went out because it didn’t work anyway. When I took it, it was because it contained music and a camera. No followers. No likes. Just people in the real world.

So the random internet signal that dinged my blogsite and then wouldn’t let me check the notification was just God’s wake up call I guess. Get off the bench and back to people.

And now we’re back to the real world. But there’s so much to be done here with what we learned. It’s now that the rubber meets the road so to speak. It’s now where we decide to sink or swim. I have a mission. Do I accept it? Do I stay the same? Do I choose comfort over purpose? I hope not. But it’s daunting and scary and all the things I don’t like. But God. He calls us out of our comfort zone and into a place where He can use us well for what He created us to be. I’m not sure why or how or when but I know who and while I’m confused by His choice, “Sometimes I gotta stop. Remember that you’re God and I am not so Thy will be done!”

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