Leaders Retreat

12 years ago, a shy 9 year old girl stepped into Sunday School for the first time, she learnt about God and the love He had for her. She knew He was almighty but there was always a sense of timidity and fear in her heart that were barriers to her courage.

Fast forward a few more years, she was still shy. Mingling with people were never her strongest trait, people never really approached her but little did she know it was the barrier she created that repelled the friendships she could have made. The barrier made her hate the people in church, she felt the world was against her and the church was an enemy… she couldn’t accept the fact that God and the church came together. She loved God but the church could never be her friend and she couldn’t be friends with the church.

Yesterday, I returned from a church leaders retreat. I was laying in bed on the first night of the retreat thinking to myself… oh my gosh I’m a leader in a church. Even though I’ve been at the church for 2 years now, I still have moments like these that makes me feel gobsmacked at my current position. Though it makes me uneasy as I get flashbacks of the mistakes I’ve made, it made me also realized how far I’ve come, from the little shy girl I used to be.

It wasn’t and instant transformation and I still have struggles with the barriers I’ve made for myself. The barriers I made for myself made me feel safe, the concept of “sharing” in church (as in the forms of telling stories about your life) still daunted me… ironically I own a blog. I’m not that enthusiastic worship or youth leader who hops around people questioning the lives of people and exposing their own. I was a kids leader who was there to facilitate and inspire young lives the way God did for me, in more of a background work sort of way.

We were in groups in one of the sessions where we were told to go around in a circle for prayer requests. It came to my turn and my mind went blank despite being in this position for about a 100 times in the past couple of years since coming back to church. “Pass” I said, as people went around the circle for backache and shoulder pain healing requests.

All of a sudden as the prayer circle started, one of the older members interrupted and pointed to me, “I don’t really know your name, but God tells me that He wants you to learn how to trust in him, trust in the Lord with all your heart and He’ll make your paths straight.” I’ve heard that Proverbs verse many times, my favourite one of all time in fact. I do trust Him… but why do I need to be reminded? Sometimes reminders to me is a reminder to myself that I’m incapable of reminding myself stuff, which annoys me.

Prayers continued on for the girl with no prayer requests and then, a second elderly member said, “I have a vision for you, a vision of an upward spiral, it’s not an easy road that God will take you, but if you trust His ways, you will always head upwards.” Not that I didn’t already know that I’m taking the tough route in my life, another reminder that my life is… hard.

But it’s these hardships and tests that God builds me to take me to higher places. As much as I occasionally still beat up myself with those mistakes I’ve made in those flashbacks, they happened for a reason. I don’t know many of them yet but I only know it is God’s will and part of His plan. It took years to beat some of those barriers down but I felt some of it being knocked down as the group prayed for me, it took seconds.

A normal person who finds out that life ain’t gonna be easy would probably beat themselves up even more, a normal person who sees their peers moving on into the next phase of their lives while she stays back for another 5 years to attempt to new course will feel ashamed, a normal person who sees a crush being taken away by a close friend will be heartbroken.I feel at peace, surprisingly.

I feel at peace, surprisingly but not. I have never been more excited for a season so unconventional to the way I was brought up to believe, a season that was meant to be daunting for me. But the comfort of knowing that my buddy Jesus is gonna be next to me in this upward spiral gives me that peace and hope, knowing everything will be okay and maybe even better.

Lord, you made that terribly timid girl a leader, You must have seen things I couldn’t see and even now, it sometimes still seems a blur to me.. whatever the reason was or is. But, I am still your daughter and love you the same as I always did despite the times I’ve rebelled. You’ve been merciful and still give me the things I have today. I trust you with all my heart and am excited for this new adventure we’re going together because you’ve always been the best teammate I could ever ask for in life. We are on this upward adrenaline filled spiral of life that will take us places. Let’s go!