Grace you said, “To take deep breaths requires mindfulness, stillness, and silence–it’s really waking up to life and taking it all in.” I certainly did that on my silent retreat at Immaculate Heart Center for Spiritual Renewal. Being mindful and present to deep breathing set the pace to be in the silence. You also suggested that I let God lead me. Although I didn’t pay too much attention to that idea, he showed me the way when I got lost.
The first thing I did when I arrived was eat dinner along with the other guests that were present. Ten of us gathered in the dining room to savor a homegrown and organically produced meal. We introduced ourselves, learned where each was from, and how often we take retreats. I was the newbie of the bunch. Thereafter, I was escorted to my porch room, built of stone above the kitchen.
Taking in the stone structure, I sat on the bed and looked out of the window at the vista. Mountains covered in lush and marked with trees in the distance, I took a few deep breaths and felt spiritually at home. I picked up the guest journal on the desk and began to read about the experiences other guests have had while making the stone porch room their home for the weekend. I was thankful to be present, to be in the same room as these people who had had a spiritual awakening or clarity of purpose. I, too, was in search of something.
I started with choosing a sacred word, a word that would bring me back when my thoughts drifted at any moment to being present for the weekend. Renewal. This is the word that came to my mind as I meditated. I was to seek renewal, renewal of body, mind, and spirit. I prayed and was grateful for taking the time to care for myself, to do something I needed for a very long time.
The next morning after breakfast I left the main house in search of La Casa de Maria to schedule a body massage. After all, I was there not only to renew my spirit but my body too. I have labored for so long, I had not taken time to show my body some love as well. With map in hand and 26 acres to traverse, I got lost. Surprised that I did not find it as intended, I turned around to walk back in another direction. A short distance away I came upon a labyrinth. I chucked and thought, “Well, God, here I am. I said I would let you lead me and this is what you want me to do this very moment.” Setting aside the thought of scheduling my body massage, I prepared my mind to enter the labyrinth and walk the spiritual maze.
Little did I know at the time I entered the labyrinth that God would give me the words and clarity I was in search of. In the middle of the journey, I let it out. I cried at the revelation I had and embraced his love. He was there for me, had been there all along, and I felt renewed in spirit. God had created a flame within me. I knew at that moment the spark I had inside reignited, and now he was giving me fuel for the fire!
Grace, I am on fire, passionate about life and his purpose for me!
What a wonderful rendezvous with God! You can never go wrong setting time aside for love alone. As you know, God was waiting for you and desiring you alone as well. Though you thought you were lost, you are truly never lost when you become present to God. You see, “he directs you directly” even when it appears you are not going in the right direction. There is no wrong direction when you enter his holy presence, which is called Kairos. This is when time is ripe and God can give birth and make the invisible visible. All the work he has been doing in the silence and hidden parts of your heart and soul become ready to bear fruit and provide nourishment you long for.
Now when I mentioned the importance of “letting God lead you”, it’s not about thinking and making a conscious effort or evening trying to focus on this. Since you experienced a retreat, I can share a little secret. “Letting God lead you” simply means meeting humility and allowing her to remove anything that is an obstacle to letting her having her way with you. Humility helps you shed control, fear, righteousness, pride, anger, anxiety, condemnation, etc. Humility opens your eyes, heart, and soul to God and reminds you that you’re not God but his Beloved.
Experiencing humility enhances your ability to appreciate his beauty around you, to hear his truth, and be filled with his goodness and love. Humility is not something the world around you seeks. It is perceived as a weakness, an impediment to winning, to controlling, and reaching what your goal is without every asking about God’s will or desire is for you. Many have said that God’s desire is greater than your desire for yourself.
Humility also makes room for you to rest because you recognize your humanity and are able to honor it. As you become aware of being in God’s Holy presence, humility is an irresistible and unexpected guest who leads you into the heart of God. You will find what you are looking for, which is him alone. Here’s a quote to help you remember your weekend: “God, you have made us for yourself, and our hearts are restless till they find their rest in you.” (Augustine of Hippo)
So remember a little Kairos, a little humility, and a little desire goes a long way with God. As you rest in God, he begins to restore, renew, and re-unite you with himself, yourself, and his creation. All becomes whole to help you awaken to the abundant life he has for you.
Enjoy your time with our favorite Lover!