Last weekend I went on a retreat with 10+ people to Bagdad, KY. Where is Bagdad, KY? I don’t know, but we past Frankfort. It was a part of the prayer event that was going on at church. The area was off in the country, and I couldn’t get a signal on my phone, so my message to my mother that I was there and safe until I was back around town. It was good to hear from the speakers, and it was challenging to do the team games that were planned, like going from point A to B with 3 boards, not jumping or falling into the “lava.” It was crazy, because I was the first to go up and start it, and I’m a hesitant person. I was trying to get it done, even if the team had to try again and again (we only officially tried once, and we were talking it through).
The biggest thing I got out of the retreat happened on Saturday after lunch. We were given some free time, and I wanted to find a place and chill, since I felt socially drained with the retreat. I was walking around, and I saw wooden lounge chairs, so I planted myself on one. As I was thinking, something came to my head, and it sounded like, “You are my son.” Okay, it was like The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air where Uncle Phil would tell Will that statement. Yet, I was imagining God saying that, somewhat with a James Earl Jones voice. It kept repeating in my head, “You are My son. If anyone has something to say, they will have to answer to me.” I imagined myself standing behind God, looking over His shoulder. I walked to the building we had our sessions in to cool down, and I have a little conversation with the first speaker. Then, the couple who came to pray for us came out, and the husband revealed a little about me, how I am in the shadows and that I need to step out of the shadows. The couple prayed for me, and he mentions the son part, and there was a little water works, a little. I thought about what he prayed about, and I would like to step out of the shadows, but I don’t know where. I need to ask the Lord specifically where I need to step out of the shadows, because there are different areas, and I may need to step out of all of the areas.
The next thing that stood out was how I perceive myself. This came about on Saturday evening. I was asked by a young couple to play basketball. I didn’t have on the proper attire among other things, so I prepared to go out and play. When I get to the court, there were people playing, and they included me on a team that made the match-up uneven. I get out there, I get the ball, and I immediately shoot a 3. That was the last 3-point shot I would make that evening. That game ended, a few people leave, and we go to another court to play on the goal that was lower, in hopes to dunk. Now, I feel worn out, but I do a few things, like block a shot. I was given compliments, but I was repelling them. The reason why is because I grew up where I felt I had to be as good as the people I’m around and not make mistakes. I would think I would get criticism for not “making the shot,” and there were peers that would do that occasionally, and I gave that kind of criticism to the people I was closest to. Noticing that want to be good encouraged me to turn from that kind of mindset. If I did my best, I did my best, and if they didn’t like it… they will have to answer my Father. I want a confidence that doesn’t seek the criticism and approval of others, but relies on the Father. I want to walk away from “making shots” without beating myself up for missing some. I want to be who I’m wired to be, walking as God’s son.
It will take a while to process the follow-up from the retreat, and I want to strongly follow-up so that I can grow better as a person. It is told that folks who go to retreats and conferences would get a fire inside of them, and when they return home that fire dies out. I would like to start off as smoke and allow the fire to grow, and if the retreat helped in the process, then I’m good.
And I’m just getting started.