I spent this past weekend in silence and solitude, and it was magical.
I forgot how badly I need this kind of rest.
I'd been planning to take a writing weekend to get some brainstorming done and some projects rolling. My best work comes about when I give myself to time and space to get lost in it, so a couple days alone with some books and a laptop sounded right to me.
Originally, I planned to stay at an AirBnb, but for the sake of convenience and budgeting, I chose to stay at a retreat center couple hours away in Western Kentucky. Honestly, I didn't know what to expect from my time at St. Joseph's monastery. I knew that they had a retreat house, that it was on a beautiful property, and that people go there to have personal silent retreats. And most of all, it came with three home-cooked meals each day and my own room.
I went to get work done. Good work. God-inspired work that I want to use to grow His kingdom.
And I went. And I did absolutely nothing productive.
But that was the best thing I could've done —for both my soul and my work.
I didn't plan on turning off my phone. Or leaving my laptop closed. Or even putting my headphones away so that I could remove all forms of input, other than reading.
I didn't know that I needed some time to let God speak to me. I do my best to make time to listen during the week, and He meets me faithfully each morning when I rise to sit in His presence.
But still, He always offers even more when we offer Him the space to meet us.
Also, rest has a way of bringing deeply buried struggles, hurts, and questions to the surface of the heart.
For example, worries about someone trying to reach me while I was off the grid kept plaguing my mind. And then Jesus would gently remind me with these words,
"Jeana, you are not omnipresent. You cannot be all things to all people all the time. That's idolatry to even try, and it's only hurting you."
When I would ask about the work that needed to be done, He would say,
"All ideas need time to grow and then to be birthed. I'm not rushing your art or the things I've called you to create."
And when I would look out my window to see the fog and light of dawn gently rolling off of the lake, He would say,
"This is only a small glimpse of how much I love you and the peace I want to give you."
I would write in more detail about what I learned and what I did, but there really isn't much more to tell.
Went to mass and prayer in the chapel.
Ate yummy food.
Walked a lot.
And rested some more.
What I love about this weekend was how it reminds me that God is not in a hurry. I write on this blog about slowing down, and I already live a slow-paced life. And when I went to write down the words I felt He's called me to craft, He told me to stop.
"Because teaching you about how I love you is much more important, even more so than the work I ask of you," He said. "If you don't know how much I love you, then all this work is for nothing."
If we don't know how much Jesus loves us, then all our work is for nothing.
Let us not forget that truth —let us not forget our First Love.
I so appreciate you being here! I wrote these words for you, and I'd love to know your thoughts in the comments below.
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