So this past weekend I went on a retreat called Fall Renewal with my church. Because I volunteer as a leader for high schoolers I went as a small group leader. Each year we have a theme for the weekend and try to tie that theme into all we do. This years theme was "Wonder."
Leading up to this event my life was super busy. I just took on a full time position at my job that requires me to work 40hrs a week plus the 10-12 hrs a week I spend at church or serving in the ministry. So honestly, I didn't have time to really think about what I expected from the weekend. All I knew was I needed to be prayed up and ready to give it my all [even though I was running on 3hrs of sleep.]
Nonetheless, God pulled through my weakness and did His thing. I think this weekend as a leader really showed me what it's really like to be working through His strength and not your own. I literally had maybe 4 hrs of sleep each night and just finished working 43hrs that week. How would one expect to have the energy to serve students? Or have enough energy to jump and dance during worship? Or to put a smile on my face, talk, and interact with hundreds of high school students? Yeah, honestly I didn't. God did. In Matthew 11:28-3o it states;
"Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest..."
And that He did. It's crazy because I made sure to spend time in prayer every day leading up to the event and the Lord made sure to spend time during my sleep giving me spiritual rest. More than that, He gave me extra energy that I promise you, did not come from Starbucks. I was jumping up and down and singing loudly and hanging out with students, dancing and everything. I was shocked myself too. But besides the amazing fact that I was [every second of the weekend] relying on God's strength He did so many great things in the students lives.
For most of my life I have struggled with confidence. Just being transparent with anyone reading this, the struggle still lingers. I never thought I was good enough for....anything, or really anyone. I never saw myself as beautiful, attractive, smart, important, needed, worthy of love or friendship, capable of doing any good, called, anointed, talented, ect.... And what's really funny is that I danced in all the recitals, I preformed in all the plays, I auditioned and got the roles, I got the likes on myspace, then Facebook, then instagram, I had friends, I had cool clothes, I got the job, I got good grades, I had everything inside of me to be everything I was but was so blind to it all. Fortunately, the Lord delivered me from the lies of the enemy and am [for the most part] able to live every day knowing that
I AM CALLED. I AM BEAUTIFUL. I'M FUNNY. I'M A GOOD DANCER. I CAN DO ANYTHING THROUGH CHRIST WHO GIVES ME STRENGTH.
This is just a small part of my story and I promise I'm getting somewhere with this. So with having struggled with confidence I never thought that would come into play during Fall Renewal. Like I said the theme was Wonder and most of the time on these retreats the students let go of unforgiveness and secret sin. Most of them are called into ministry or even physically healed of an illness. But in my small group I was shocked to find out that all the girls struggled with self confidence. What's even crazier is that I actually knew about 80% of the girls in my group because they are heavily involved in our ministry and serve as student leaders. So to know that even those girls struggle with insecurities was crazy.
The first session all I could see in each and every girl was myself, but not in the way I see myself right now or ever but in the way the Lord sees me. I would look across the circle and think to myself, "Why does she feel so ugly? She's gorgeous. She's so talented and smart. Everyone loves her, I would be friends with her." Yet the Lord reminded me, "This is what I see when I look at you."
Long story short the Lord took the time to remind me everything that I forgot and used my past struggle to reach out to others. By the end of the week, all the girls were in tears because the started believe the truth. The truth of their beauty. It says in Psalm 139;
" I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful. I know that full well."
Sunday, all the girls in my small group decided to make a public declaration of their faith, and the truth they all discovered by being baptized in the ocean [which is by far the coolest thing I've ever been able to witness.] I'm so happy that I went and relied on God's strength instead of my own. I'm glad for my suffering and struggling in the area of confidence or else these girls and I would have no ground to connect on. I rejoice in what God did and I'm forever in awe of His Wonder.
Below are a few pictures from the event. If you are struggling with self-confidece reading this or maybe you just need a reminder then listen to His truth.
- YOU ARE CALLED
- YOU ARE MEANT TO BE IN THE PERFECT WILL OF GOD
- YOU'RE NOT ALONE
- HE'S NEVER LEFT YOU
- YOU ARE WANTED
- YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL
- YOU ARE HANDSOME
- YOU ARE TALENTED
- YOU ARE A GREAT FRIEND
- YOU ARE A GREAT BROTHER/SISTER/SON/DAUGHTER
- YOU'RE HARD WORK WILL NOT GO IN VAIN
- HE SEE'S YOU NOW AND THE FUTURE YOU, SO RELAX
- HE'S SO IN LOVE WITH YOU
- YOU ARE A WORLD CHANGER
- YOU ARE WONDERFUL
- YOU WERE MEANT FOR GREATNESS