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The Day I Took a ‘Me Retreat’

September 12, 2010

I would say that as a whole my blog posts have been quite positive, focused on the brighter side of life. I may even be so bold as to say they that in these posts I’ve painted my DC experiences in fairy tale colors. I wouldn’t say that I’ve been deceptive–in fact, I think this blog has allowed for some pure, authentic reflections. While I have not posted the depths of my heart for you all to read online (you’d have to steal my journal to read that–which I strongly caution against), I would never want to allude that life here is perfect or that I some how moved away and figured life out.

While life is good–I still very much exist in reality.  I don’t think anything I my insights are unique to the human experience. In many respects you could probably find these same experiences in the life of the Augustine, Martha Washington, Abraham Lincoln, or Martin Luther King Jr. I do not elevate myself to these greats–I just think there are experiences common to mankind regardless of age, race, gender and time.

Now… lets sit down, grab a cup of tea and a have bold, honest, gut wrenching heart to heart. I owe it to you, and to myself if I’m going to try to truly “Live life as is.”

Hmm…where to begin? I was really looking forward to this weekend. I’ve had a lot on my mind, brewing in my heart, and to many to dos to mark off to get my dreams and goals sorted out. I decided to set Saturday aside to put some of this on paper. The weekend before when Rachel and Bri were visiting I announced that I was going to take a “Me Retreat” and unplug and loosely plan my life. Of course, realizing that God can always change it in a second.

And maybe that is what happened to my Saturday: He changed my plans (although I’ll give you a preview: I have no idea what the purpose was). I had high hopes of writing down my life goals for both the short term and long term. The places I still need to see in DC (there are a lot of them!), the ways in which I want to serve, and my commitment and growth at work. I was going to look deeper at my love for baking, for serving, for people and for counseling. I was going to try and tie in my education, location, and relationships. I was going to think loonngg term: countries to visit, foundations to give to, a family, children–seriously: I wanted to get all thats been brewing from heart to head to pen to ink to paper! Thus my plan…

“Me Retreat”: Plan…vs…Reality

Wake Up Early…I slept in

Breakfast: yogurt, apple + cereal…Pancakes w/ peanut butter and syrup

Spend time reading my Bible…I read an entry from Utmost for His Highest

No Internet…I booked my flight home for Christmas

Turn off my phone…Left it on all day

Not call anyone…talked to my Mom 3 times (at least)

Go for an early AM run…I went for a run, but at 11AM

Give ten sandwiches to the homeless I’ve been seeing on my walk down to the Mall…I gave away one

Spend the afternoon by the Capitol writing out all my plans…I brought my journal and forgot a pen [let’s pause…that was RIDICULOUS! I could’ve cried when I realized my pen was in my other bag… oh, wait, I did. I sat and read my journal and was that girl sitting alone reading and crying]

Spend the whole afternoon outside…I went home early, I couldn’t continue to read and cry

Limit my peanut butter intake…I ate two of the eight left over PB&J’s

Decided to finish the Staff Handbook so I could attempt my failed “Me Retreat” for Sunday…I fell asleep

Wake up early to crank out the Staff Handbook…what I thought would be 2 hours turned into 6…once the document downloaded the whole formatting was crazy. Simple edits turned into retyping 14+ pages and annoying reformatting that always takes longer than it should

Go for a run…horrid stomach ache

Hang out with friend after church…continued stomach ache + to do list

    I started thinking of sharing this little heart to heart earlier this morning, and by 8:00pm I thought I would have one plan I had succeeded on, but my lack of self-control got the better of me. I had to bake Red Velvet cupcake for Tuesday Treats (on Tuesdays a different organization brings treats for the whole floor–a wonderful thing for a girls who lives alone and loves to bake) and for a cupcake testing for the Enista-Smith wedding. Since I’m not a huge fan of these guys I figured I could limit my sugar intake for the first evening in…oh…about 3 months. (hmm…I think I may have found the stomach ache culprit). I only ate ONE cupcake–that’s right one! But…the cream cheese frosting…let’s just say: FAIL. Major fail.

    And I wasn’t going to share any pictures in this blogpost because I wanted it to be sheer, blunt, honest chat. Let’s be honest though, these guys are too cute not share:

    I really didn’t write this post to rant or complain. (Maybe just a little bit–hey, I’m trying to be authentic). I guess I wanted to set aside this Saturday to sort out the things I desire, the things that make my heart beat. I was going to make a plan for and with them. I’m tired of always falling short and I was hoping that putting my desires on paper would help me be realistic with my goals and alleviate some of those feelings of failure. But I failed at my attempt to alleviate my sense of failure. I failed at a self-initiated “Me Retreat.” The Apostle Paul’s words of not doing what you want, but doing what you don’t want (poor paraphrase and possibly out of context) seem to align with my current reality. I’m sure some of you think I am being hard on myself, and in some ways I am. Some of the things that happened instead of what I planned were still good things. I probably needed to read my journal instead of write in it again. Giving away one sandwich to someone hungry was still better than zero. I needed to book my flight home for Christmas before it doubled in price (again…).

    My “Me Retreat” had a lot of rules. And was slightly (if not largely) legalistic. It was also well intentioned and the purpose was pure. The purpose of my “Me Retreat” was to take my desires and make them tangible, practical, and doable. I’m not trying to be God, rather I am trying to be a good steward of the time He has given me. I’m trying to live in the grace of day to day faith and action. So I guess there are a few things I can take away from this reflection:

    1. I will take time to explore my dreams and draft some goals: 100% flexible to His leading and His timing
    2. I’m going to give myself some grace. I’ve too quickly forgotten the need for healing.
    3. I’m cutting out all unnatural sugar until Miss Kelsey Shields graces DC. I know, I know, it sounds like another rule…but this one is health related and much needed. I’m hoping this will provide room on this blog for a few COOKING recipes and if it continues to cool down I’ll make soup :) Mmm

    Well, I hope you enjoyed your cup of tea while in the face of my raw confession and reflection. I wish that this was not just a monologue. But I’ll leave you with the lyrics to a song that in many ways, on multiple occasions lifted me up when I was without strength:

    I Will Lay You Down

    -Brandon Heath

    You’ve got the whole world on your shoulders
    and it’s more than you can bare
    I hear you calling for some help
    but is there anybody there
    well I’m here to let you know
    this was never meant for you
    I know what you’re going through

    So Come to me weary now
    and I will lay you down
    throw all your cares aside
    you will never be denied
    come set your burden free
    you will be safe with me
    come to me weary now
    I will lay you down

    So don’t you worry about a thing
    I’m gonna get you through the night
    I know you’re scared
    but it’s gonna be all right
    and if you wake before the light
    don’t be afraid
    just call my name
    I’ll hear you pray
    I’m on my way

    So Come to me weary now
    and I will lay you down
    throw all your cares aside
    you will never be denied
    come set your burden free
    you will be safe with me
    come to me weary now
    I will lay you down

    Everything is all right
    ’cause I am on your side
    and if you need to
    you can hide in me
    ’cause all you need to know
    I would never let you go
    I am the lover of your soul

    So come to me weary now
    and I will lay you down
    throw all your cares aside
    you will never be denied
    come set your burden free
    you will be safe with me
    come to me weary now
    I will lay
    I will lay you down

    I will lay you down

    P.S. One day I would like to meet Brandon Heath and thank him. His music changed my life. I say that in the most sincerity I possess in the least dramatic way. His music was (and is) a gift from God to me. It taught me grace.


    From → Reflecting

    1. Elisa permalink

      Thanks for sharing, Emily! I enjoyed reading your post because it reminded me of myself sometimes…and I have to admit my eyes were moist as I read the song lyrics. Take care.

    2. Dave permalink

      cupcakes, I need cupcakes!!(said in a moment of sugar low)

      nice blog though

      • thanks, Dave. But…hey…I’m just waiting on the order. Are you waiting for Christmas or something? Delivery may be a tad easier then

    3. Dave permalink

      Ok anything scrumcious (sp) and if one was to send something your way how would that be done?

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