I am currently at the women’s retreat for my church, and the theme is “renewal.” We attended sessions on renewing your heart, your strength and your mind. Now I sit here during a private time allotted to renew my soul, and I’m left to ponder what that word renewal really means to me, today, at this point in my life. Truth be told, I didn’t come here because of the topic. Oh, it sounded interesting enough, but I came for the fellowship and for the pure fact that it is the first women’s retreat for our church and I wanted to be a part. But I also came with baggage. I’m used to being a part of events, if not the planner. It’s difficult for me to sit on the sidelines and not do anything. I thrive on being involved, being helpful…and doing, doing, doing. For this event, however, I was only marginally involved – and my small part was due more to the fact that I hounded my friend who was planning it to give me a job. As it got closer to time, I realized that I was feeling kind of bitter. I suppose my feelings were hurt. It made it worse to have people begin asking me their questions, as if I knew. So I came with a critical eye and a dramatic flare. In my mind I exaggerated the weather (albeit pretty nasty) and the effect it would have. I started looking for things that could’ve been done better (and presumably would have been if I was more involved…ouch that hurts to confess!). What is my deal? Here, I just worked on some of these very issues of envy and acceptance at Mount Hermon. I was naive to think that God ripped it all out and I wouldn’t have to deal with it for a while.
So renewal, for me, has come in the form of this. Lord, I need you to renew my heart and my mind. I need you to give me the desires of my heart, because the desires that are there are definitely not yours. I need you to renew my mind to think on things of eternal significance, not on earthly gain. Father, help me to discern when I am trying to win the approval of man or of you. Or when I am trying to please man. Lord, when I am still trying to please man, I am not being your servant. I want to be your servant. I want to be open to your use. Father, set aside my old self and help me claim my new self. Help me to be renewed today.
(PS – I realize that some people from my church are now reading my blog – which I love. I don’t want this to come across the wrong way. In the spirit of authenticity, I’m still going to post this. But please don’t think it’s an attempt to gain pity or make anyone feel bad. Obviously, God needed to do some work in my heart, and that’s what I wanted to share.)
Photo: Retreat Center (2007)