About two months ago, when I started this journey of actually making headway on my issues with anxiety and fear, I started praying for a place of respite. I looked into different places, retreats, centers etc that I could go to just to get away and focus on getting things out and in order. I couldn’t really find anything. In my search I did happen upon a retreat for women put on by Stasi Eldredge (the husband of John Eldredge…aka Mr Wild at Heart) and put it in the back of my mind. The retreat is lottery based. Their website explains that instead of letting others sign up first come-first serve, they do a lottery and they pray that God will pull out those names that He ordains to be there. My half-empty personality thought…what are the chances I would even get a spot?
Fast forward two weeks ago: I entered the lottery. I thought, what the heck, let’s see what happens. Then last Friday I found out I had a spot. It’s not free by any aspect of the imagination and in addition to lodging etc costs, there is airfare and people to help with my children while I’m gone for 3 days…etc. So, I’ve been sitting with this for the last 4 days. How can I turn down something that I know is ordained by God. Not just because they said it on their website, but because I know it. It scares the crap (I mean crap) out of me to think about going all this way from home to be with a bunch of women that
oh and I have to actually get on an airplane to get there. Neither of these are high on my list of exciting things I would like to do for a weekend.
I paid today and we are working on arranging a flight. And do you know what happened as soon as I hit “pay” on the website? I had the first anxiety attack I’ve had in like 3 months. In like 2 seconds I freaked about money, logistics, children, being alone, flying…you name it and it hit me.
Then I read this on a note to all the participants from Stasi Eldredge:
…preparing to go away for a few days – it’s HARD! And preparing to go away for a time with God can be even more difficult . Not only are there a million details to take care of, but also, there is spiritual opposition in your preparations!…the fact that there may be hassles, crises and outright oppositions does not mean that you are not supposed to come. Quite the contrary, the battle signifies that you are going right where God wants you and the advancement of His kingdom will take place, beginning with your own heart.
You would not believe what has happened with us the last couple of days. Car trouble and tax trouble and all sorts of things to rile me up and freak me out. But it’s the realization that I know where those temptations are coming from. I know who is tempting me and trying so desperately to lead me back into my old ways of fear.
But I know even better who I AM clinging too as I walk forward…
For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses,
but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin.
Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace,
that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.