That's it, I decided, as I prepared for The Journey Within day retreat we held last weekend at Mercy Center Auburn. If I'm going to give a retreat on the true self, I'm going to have to allow my true self to show up for it. I can't spend six hours empowering women and men to grow into their true selves and facilitate the whole thing out of my false self. I was scared but I knew I had to get outside of my comfort zone.
Oh, how I love my binder
Usually when I prepare for a day retreat, I spend a lot of time reading, reflecting, praying, and writing. I write out everything I want to say, put it together in a binder, and follow the script pretty closely. As a result, I'm totally attached to my binder. Oh, how I love that white binder with the front pocket stuffed with prayers and plan B handouts so I have anything for any situation.
That binder is my security blanket, my crutch, my insurance that the retreat will be perfect and I won't miss one thing. For those who attended and those currently in the online retreat you probably see where this is headed...
Confronting what I was scared to confront
As I prepared for this retreat and personally reflected on all of the things that get in the way of me being my true self, I confronted what I had been too scared to confront: being dependent on a perfectly crafted script means facilitating out of my false self. Putting my energy into making sure I perform, please, and perfect (my false self) means I'm not putting enough energy into channeling God's grace in the room (operating out of my true self). This was going to be scary. What if I forget something? What if I do something out of order? I was nervous about being so vulnerable.
Being open and trusting
The false self is not bad. I've done a lot of good while trying to have things perfectly planned, organized, and delivered, but that false self doesn't leave enough room for God's love to flow through me. When my energy is in the performing, pleasing, and perfecting, I'm creating a block between me and God. I was ready to be open and trusting and allow God to facilitate this retreat.
I still spent a lot of time reading, writing, and praying but this time I wrote a few notes for each power point slide and left a lot of room for flexibility and room to "hear" where the spirit was taking all of us that day. A lot of this material was material I have prayed and written about since I started writing my book eight years ago. I didn't need to make sure every last word was presented perfectly. I needed to make sure I was present to The Spirit.
Enjoying grace and peace
The result? A beautiful and grace-filled day. I didn't need to be preoccupied making sure I remembered every last detail, I needed to be focused on when I needed to stop and allow for quiet, a song, a quote, or comments from the amazing women and men who provided so much wisdom for all of us that day.
now it's your turn
We have a few more weeks left of Lent now. I hope you give yourself some time to reflect on all of the things that get in the way of you being authentic with the people in your life. A need to prove yourself to others? A need to prove your worth to yourself? Or to God? When you put all of your energy into your image - whether it's about pleasing, perfecting, performing, or something else - you create a wall between you and the people around you. That wall leaves little room for the Holy Spirit to enter into the conversation.
Allow these last few weeks of Lent to be a time to appreciate all that you are in God's name and sit with this quote we enjoyed reflecting on at our retreat:
I'd love to hear your comments if you've ever stepped outside of your comfort zone to give more of your authentic self. Or are you looking for the courage to be more authentic? I'd love to hear your thoughts. We're in this together.