I just returned from acting as a chaperone for our teen’s Nothing Retreat at Camp Neotez. The idea is for the teens to just have a very relaxing time out in nature with no pressures no requirements no schedules. It’s a time for them to either refresh from a very busy summer or to renew before a very demanding school year. The students played hours of Rock Band, Dance USA, air soft gun and Nerf gun wars. We went on hikes up to Inspiration Point, swam in the river, and went boating in Crystal Fall. We watched movies, played games, had a few devotionals, and just spent a lot of time hanging out.
Two other girlfriends and I decided to take advantage of the time at the retreat to attack the assignment from “Waking the Dead” of having a very intentional and very intense quiet time with God. It involved a guided prayer of sorts and about one hour of quiet time. I learned a few things and was reminded of a few other things.
1. I really, really stink at slowing down and doing nothing. Even though I knew the purpose of the retreat I really needed Dave to post a schedule and a few suggested activities to do nothing. I know it’s sick. I needed to be told how to do nothing. I needed the list of things I was suppose to do…nothing. I tried to appear all relaxed and cool with the environment but inside I was itching to check off some things on my to do list. I finally had to put my phone away. We had no phone reception or internet connection but it didn’t keep me from checking periodically to see if different parts of camp would let me connect.
2. Because of the COTU factor I’m a pretty bad chaperone. This is one those things I was reminded of about myself. I really like to go to teen retreats, and youth conferences, and rallies because I like to be with teens and I like to see them grow in Christ, and I think I can still relate to them pretty well. But there’s also a pretty strong side of me that wants to go for me. I want to play, and be goofy and silly, and hang out, and be taken care of. The other chaperones are so thoughtful and responsible about cleaning up, and getting things ready for dinner, counseling the kids or actually keeping track of the kids and those things are simply just not my first thought. Unfortunately if someone else is willing to do those things I’m so ok just to hang out with the teens and be one the teens.
3. The purpose for the retreat was to do nothing, to get centered on our own with God, to “Be still and know I am God.” That’s something of a mantra for me since I have it tattooed on my body. However, my quiet time ripped me up. The retreat was suppose to gear us up and I just want to revert to the fetal position. My quiet time slashed open a part of my heart, and mind, and soul that I wasn’t going to ever be ready to deal with on my own. God made it pretty clear in an even louder voice than before that He is to be my satisfaction, He is to be my heart’s desire, and I am to delight in Him only. Anything else is gravy.
So at this point I am raw. I am exhausted mentally and physically. And even though God was pretty clear I’m at lost of what that really looks like. I want to talk to a friend about it but I’m almost thinking that’s one of the last things God wants me to do. I think God wants me to figure things out with Him and not complicate it with other people. Searching….