Coming back from Kenya
Insecurity has been one area of my life that has been a continual struggle. I long to be the best – the best teacher, friend, most creative person…all the same types of feelings that I think most of us are challenged by. For me, I could see that it showed itself with putting a lot of time into school. But was the time I was there quality time or just time that I was there and doing work inefficiently to make myself feel busy? It also showed up in my expectations of relationships. I put very high expectations on those in my life. I expected people to include me first and to simply just always be included. I found my feelings were easily hurt if I was not.
The height of these emotions and the need for change really came to a breaking point when I was getting ready to leave Kenya, and even though I could recognize the areas that needed growth, I found myself coming back from Kenya angry and bitter with God. It was at this point that I began to meet regularly with Jean. I knew I needed answers and I had some hard work within myself to do. God directed me to seek her wisdom and spiritual guidance. It was then that I found myself drawn to the more contemplative practices. During our sessions, Jean would ask me where God was. In the beginning, He seemed so distant. I realized that it was even hard for me to let God in – to believe that He truly loved me and wanted to bless me simply because He loves me and no other reason. I appreciated that we could read a text and whatever word or phrase stood out was a good place to focus. I had not been in the practice of reading scripture in this way.
During this time, I was also struggling with just feeling tired. I was longing for a break to just give my body this rest from all the things I felt I needed to do – school commitments, church commitments, etc., So when Jean began to mention the Silent Retreats, I found myself drawn to the quiet and rest they sounded like they would provide, along with time just to do what I wanted for that day – rest, read, walk, pray. I was excited for what they would provide. I appreciated that there were no expectations for the day. Jean provided some structure, but it was a day for the Lord and I to meet each other – the work I did the first time I went was based upon those needs. There was no expectation to be at a certain place or complete a specific task. For me, I was longing for rest, and that is what I found. It was a start to the work I needed in the areas of insecurity and friendships.