Here it was, the weekend I had been looking forward to with a strange mixture of excitement and overwhelming fear all at the same time. I was stepping WAY out of my comfort zone. To be honest, stepping out of my comfort zone was almost becoming PART OF MY COMFORT ZONE, but this time was different. I was going to a women’s weekend retreat at a christian camp nearby, BY MYSELF! Ok, seriously, I don’t about y’all but the going by myself part was what was completely FREAKING me out. Going to the retreat and soaking in God’s word, broadening my knowledge, deepening my understanding and sharing in fellowship with women for the weekend, heck yeah! THAT sounded amazing and I was ALL for it. But alone, el solo, lone ranger, single… phew that’s scary. I’ll be honest, I had thoughts of totally backing out. It’s not like anyone would miss me, right?
Before I knew it, there I was driving down the curvy gravel road that led to camp, one car in front of me and one pickup behind me-there was NO turning back now! “Breathe, Robyn.” I muttered to myself as I parked. My stomach was doing some salsa dance and my nerves were doing the samba, but God brought me to this and I was gonna DO THIS! Walking to the welcome center I felt my bravado building up, “yep, this is going to be okay. I can do this” Determination in hand, I walked in ready to start the weekend that would be stepping up and stepping out, exactly what God was telling me to do. “Oh my gosh! Everyone is with someone!” “They all have groups they’re with” my mind screamed and my inner self, started to shrink. Gone was all the bravado of before. Somehow, my body kept moving, my mouth knew my name and I made it through my first challenge, and SO much to my relief I found that I had a cabin to myself! Oh thank you God! You see, I’m an introvert but I love to be with people, I get so much energy from being with God loving, happy people, but at the end of the day, I need ME space. JUST ME SPACE.
OH friends! Can I just say what an amazing speaker they had for the weekend! And digging deeper into the book of Philippians was AMAZING! I knew immediately that I was going to LOVE the topic of the weekend and couldn’t wait to learn more. The praise, gospels and speaker were so lively and upbeat, even if it WAS awkward being ALONE. Because, yes! It was still weirding me out but there were so many women in the worship center I didn’t feel alone since no seat was spared. Upstairs in the dining area a delicious little snack awaited all of us before heading to our cabins for the night. “Ok, Ok breathe” I was going to show myself that I could be brave and bold, I was going to step so far out of the box that the box just might break. I walked cautiously towards the table with a woman sitting by herself, intent on joining her. Snack in hand, I sat down at the table with her, smiling and saying hello. Nothing could’ve prepared me for what came next, she got up, took her things and walked away. CRUSHED. I just wanted to disappear.
It was all I could do to not get in the car and go home. But I knew in my heart that wouldn’t change anything. I needed to persevere. To push on, to push through. Besides, she hadn’t really gotten up to avoid me I don’t think, she went to go sit with people she knew. With prayers for a better tommorow said, I went to bed hopeful for a brighter, much different tomorrow.
Walking across the frosted carpet of crisp grass, I was ready to start the day. (and get some MUCH needed coffee) I’ll admit sitting at a table by myself again didn’t really excite me, it scared the crap out of me, but I needed to do this.
“Are you here alone?” Four words that meant SO much to me to hear! How often do you reach out? Or maybe, you’re like me and you’re ALREADY reaching out of your comfort zone, and you just can’t reach further. I get it, it’s SO HARD! Especially when you feel like you put yourself out there already and got rejected, but God did not intend for man OR WOMAN to be alone, we weren’t designed that way. Where 2 or more gather… we need each other and God. It takes a special person to reach out to another and invite them into your circle, but Jolynn was and IS that very special, amazing lady. It didn’t cost her anything to reach out to me, but it built up her treasury in heaven for sure.
I know it’s not always easy or even possible, but helping others, IN ANY WAY THAT YOU CAN, will make you feel infinitely brighter inside. And honestly, sometimes that help is just a smile and a hug, other times it’s reaching out to someone who’s alone and too scared to reach out themselves. What you do on earth today, is stored in your treasury in the New Heaven, don’t let the love and gifts that God gave you go to waste,use them to build an abundant treasury in the New Heaven.
If you ever have the chance, I pray that you would be a Jolynn. Be an inviter. Reach out and show someone that you care. Let them know that they ARE WORTH IT. Be a friend. Pray with them and for them. You just might be the only one that has in a long time.