Thursday, March 19, 2009

invisible

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.

4 comments:

Melinda said...

Hmm. Don't quite know how to respond about being an intrusion...when it was the grease of the wheels to a successful men's retreat. That aside, I know you and your heart is so very other-person oriented. This aligns nicely with choosing to be invisible.

Yonas said...

As another friend of Janet, I'd say you can disregard your other friend's comment. Who cares!?

You like Don Miller (although I don't know who he is. He is not the beer maker is he?) so you went, and you were blessed...that's all that matters!

End to the battle of the sexes and the pettiness!

Need to focus on bigger and better things.

My my...it's mighty windy up here on my soapbox.

Steppin' down now.

Joni said...

What an interesting perspective on invisibility. Reminds me of a line from "An American President" movie: "Is the view pretty good from the cheap seats?" From the President to his chief of staff who was able to live the life of the presidency but not take the responsibility for it. Again, your insight is interesting. Hmm.

Traci said...

I struggled with the same thing Janet. I like you, was not the "high schooler", instead I was the 20-something single woman in the room. AWKWARD...yes, but I also like you knew so many of the men, and they more than I knew just appreciated the service side of me, willing to put myself in such an uncomfortable way out there for God.
..and your thought of invisibleness is an intriguing one. I don't think it is possible for strong willed, driven, God-fearing women to be invisible. I too enjoy being in the background...laying the foundation, only a few knowing what I really do..
I'm excited for you to go to Helene. Jealous...and very excited! :)