I am an introvert.
I can't deny this fact, and I don't really want to.
Because it's good and genuinely important for me to get my alone time in.
But it also means that we need to do a little celebrating right now, because I have successfully attended TWO retreats, TWO weekends in a row.
[I can hear the applause right now from those of you that know me...I know. It's a big deal.]
And so the past two weekends I've been out and about and doing things.
Two weeks ago was the honors retreat...
laughing like goons and meeting other smart people and then making fun of ourselves for the dorks that we really are and then laughing some more
murder mystery dinner, photo scavenger hunt
meeting new people, strengthening existing friendships
(did I mention that it was also my birthday? yeah.
I turned 19 surrounded by a bunch of hysterical fellow dorks & there is absolutely no other way that I would have preferred to celebrate! Except for the fact that they made me stay up late so that they could actually sing to me at 12:01 am on my birthday. That wasn't the greatest...but good as a whole.)
But this weekend.
Ohhhhh, this weekend.
I was in NO way prepared for the things God was going to throw at me on this retreat.
Officially called the "Who Do You Think You Are?" retreat, less formally known (in part because it's easier to hashtag, if we're honest:) the Identity Retreat.
If I am genuinely honest, I went into the weekend with a terrible attitude. I didn't need to go on an identity retreat; I had my own issues and I had them figured out and I knew that God loved me and that was that. However, with a little prompting 10 days ago (after my ignoring God's nudging for weeks), I agreed to go. Heck, $35 bucks and I could spend a weekend off campus with a couple friends and listen to some speakers and maybe I'd walk away with a personal little nougat of truth that I could fit into my fantastic life mentality and sense of self.
I have been much too arrogant and self-absorbed lately. I have been focusing so much on myself that I've forgotten that everything God has extended to me, I need to extend to the people in my life.
[If I have been a jerk to you in the past few weeks or even months, I am sorry. I'm working on it...it is difficult, but I am growing.]
Though this blog isn't the place for me to share the depths of everything going on in my life (that's the other blog, actually. if you want access to that, let me know and i'll duke it out with you:), but I can share random quotes I heard, questions that resonated me, things I scrawled down, and tidbits I have taken to heart.
"How often do we actually stop everything to look at people in the eyes and think about the things that THEY carry? Who you are and your insecurities fall to the wayside as you think about their needs and their story...just by looking in their eyes."
"When I try to prove my identity through my actions I lose my identity in my limiting actions. I am who I am, no matter what I do."
"Getting everything we ever wanted does not satisfy our appetites, it merely increases them and frustrates our identity with what we have or don't have."
"If your 'stuff' isn't your identity, you can't make it someone else's identity, either."
[a personal favorite of mine...LOVE this one]
"I am not the person that I am supposed to be, but thank God I am not the person I used to be."
"Jesus did not call me to my own obsessive standard of perfection, He called me to walk humbly and intimately with Him...nothing more."
"We hide ourselves because we think that we're protecting ourselves and our shame, but all we're doing is preventing ourselves from something good. We try to push God out because of our fear of being hurt by people."
"Sometimes we question if God is talking to our REAL selves or our pretend selves."
"God CREATED me and LOVES me UNCONDITIONALLY -- who I am is enough, for I am His PRECIOUS DAUGHTER and that is ALL that matters."
"...this is all GOOD&TRUE & I need to take it to heart, but it's also true of everyone else. I can not limit God's love and support and acceptance to just me; instead, I am called to try to love like Jesus."
"Pruning means things get trimmed off and walking on water means getting out of the boat and growth means change. And change is hard. But faith begins by letting go."
[this is the mission statement I had to forge over the weekend. it's hard. but this is what i got.]
"I am a beloved daughter of the King and am, in this very moment, exactly where He needs me. I can trust His guidance and plan for me. Above all else, His definition of me is what matters and I will learn to see and value and love myself and others like He does."