Last weekend I attended Sunset's Men's Retreat.
Ya, I know, I'm a girl and it's a Men's Retreat.
When I heard they booked Don Miller for the Sunset Men's Retreat I began to wonder how I could wear a baseball cap, go incognito and get in.
As it turns out, the Senior mission trip team served in the dining hall at the Retreat so I had a free pass to attend. The weekend, at a glance, was perfect for an extroverted girl who loves camp, serving and oh Donald Miller's writing.
In the end, the weekend has rocked my world in a few ways.
First, I absolutely loved serving with the Seniors. I have limited High School ministry experience outside of my own kids and peripheral connection to the worship team kids and I love this age group of kid. The adult leaders i am serving with are awesome and I look forward to getting to know them and forming as a team.
I feel a tremendous responsibility to dive in and give this my all, the best part of me. They deserve it and they seem open to having me around. I absolutely believe that each of us will be changed as a result of giving ourselves to Him in service the next few months and in June in Helene.
Then there's the more difficult stuff... God and I have been talking alot since Sunday about my identity in Him. You see, I have lived a life comfortable with the notion that I live/work/serve in the shadows. At least I thought so. I serve behind the scenes, I try not to draw attention to myself (too often), i hide behind the notion that I'm a great second, and not an out front leader, it even translates to how i dress and dont doll up much or often. I thought I could go to Retreat and honestly be invisible there. It was, in fact, one of the ways that I justified being a woman at Retreat. In reality, as time went by there I realized that I know more men than I would women at a Women's Retreat. I live in a man's world. I lead a team of men. So I was not invisible. And, it made me uncomfortable at times. I tried to lean in to it, use it as energy to power serving, but I wondered about the women at home who would have liked to hear Don, but couldn't come- was I betraying a sisterhood?
When I got home, a friend told me straight up that it wasn't cool that there were women in the room/at retreat. On the one hand, that's a no brainer- he was right. On the other,it stung- it's still stinging.
I had had such a wonderful experience during the weekend, pretty naive of the fact that I could be intruding. The notion of invisible was easier to deal with because I got what I wanted without responsibility for the whole. Not very proud of that.
And, this has me thinking about why I am so comfortable with this invisible self-image. It's comfortable there. I don't have to take on too much responsibility, be open to too much criticism, and maybe that I can get/do what I want without so many restraints on my actions because no one is really paying attention to me. I'm challenged that this really isn't how God wants me living.