I spent last weekend in Tahoe for our church’s women’s retreat. I don’t often go on retreats. Because of the way I’m wired, that atmosphere can be tough for me. But this retreat couldn’t have been set up any better for my personality.
When I first agreed to go, I could feel the anxiety building quickly in the pit of my stomach. With the retreat still over a month away, I knew I was in trouble if I was already feeling that anxious about it. But after the initial round of anxiety, I started to feel something strange. I was excited. Don’t get me wrong – I enjoy being around people, and the desire of my heart is to get more connected. But those feelings are usually completely overshadowed by the anxiety I feel. So to actually be able to connect with a feeling of excitement was an unusual thing for me. I knew that God had something for me at this retreat. As the days went by, and the retreat got closer, I kept waiting for the anxiety to build, but it never did. There was definitely anxiety present, but it was not nearly as strong as it normally is. Throughout the weekend, we had a good amount of ‘alone’ time to reflect and see what God had for each of us. It ended up being a perfect balance for someone like me. I had time to make some connections, but when I started to feel peopled out, I had the opportunity to get away and recharge. I couldn’t have asked for a better set up.
I heard some cool things from God throughout the weekend – some things that I really needed to hear. On Saturday afternoon, I went for a walk around the retreat center. It was beautiful weather. I am always cold so being up in Tahoe at this time of year is not always a fun thing for me. But it was not as cold as everyone expected it to be. The skies were clear, and the sun shining. I took my walk without a jacket (which is a big deal for me). I took my camera with me, and I just enjoyed the quiet and the beauty. As I looked around, I couldn’t help but think of God’s creativity. How do you look at the water, the mountains, and the colors of earth without thinking about the God who created all of it? Then a thought struck me. God’s creativity is most evident in us, His children. Not one single person is exactly like another. Think about how many people there are on this earth today, and how many have been here before us. It’s amazing to think that each one of them is unique. Yet, in our humanity, we try so hard to be like everyone else. Differences are not celebrated, but shunned. Being in the minority is never a comfortable place to be. But in reality, we are all in the minority. We are all uniquely made. We will never be like anyone else. God’s question to me was, “So why are you even trying?” I realized that He wants me to embrace my uniqueness. I need to know myself, and to embrace that knowledge. It doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks of me or expects me to be or do. What matters is that God created me as I am for a reason. Until I am comfortable with that, in its entirety, I will never be able to be all He created me to be or do what He is asking me to do.