Months ago I agreed to lead this Spiritual Retreat for a United Methodist Women’s Circle at my church. I was super excited because we had just picked out our church’s Lenten theme – Sabbath. At the time I was in a really good place and figured I had this whole “Sabbath rest” thing (finally) figured out and that I would have a lot to offer the group from my knowledge and experience with Sabbath.

These past few months have been crazy busy/stressful (even though I contend that most of the stress was “good” stress, it still takes a toll on me physically). Lately I’ve really been struggling to carve out time for rest. It seems like there’s always something that needs to be done, or always something to distract me from really embracing God’s gift of rest.

I led the retreat this weekend, humbly confessing my inability to embrace Sabbath rest recently and admitting my lack of truly mastering the art of practicing Sabbath.

It was such a beautiful, wonderful weekend of worship, fellowship, exploring Sabbath from various perspectives, and sharing our experiences and wisdom together as a group.

The whole time I was preparing for the retreat I felt God’s Spirit leading me, nudging me here and there, even the night before as I skimmed through one of Parker Palmer’s books and found a great paragraph on “guidelines for discussion.” When I realized we were going to take more time with the first part of what I had planned, I practiced something that is really hard for me – letting go. I let go of my anxiety about not staying with “my schedule” and words cannot express how liberating it was to experience the Spirit move. 

This whole process of planning and leading the retreat really transformed my relationship with God. In letting go of control over various aspects, and in following the Spirit’s leading, I felt like I was really co-creating with God and with the Spirit in each of the participants. It was a beautiful experiment in letting go, and it turned into a meaningful exploration of Sabbath with a wonderful group of women.

Thanks be to God!