Years ago while recovering from burnout, I enjoyed a few days away on a personal retreat. Sitting alone, I listened to the recorded music of a soloist singing: “God is in love with His people. God is in love with me.”
Tears filled my eyes. For a woman who doesn’t cry much, this surprised me. My soul empty for so long, filled with fresh hope. Yet my next thought threatened my newfound contentment: “But is this true that You’re in love with me, Lord?”
Returning to my room, I searched for affirmation. Then I read, “The Lord appeared . . . saying, ‘I have loved you with an everlasting love’” (Jeremiah 31:3).1
“It is true,” I whispered. “God is in love with me.” I remember praying: Lord, help me continue to believe that You’re in love with me even when my mind and emotions insist otherwise.
This Week During a Personal Retreat
Last weekend I took time to go on another personal retreat. (I’ve come to appreciate these get-away times.) Before I arrived at the retreat center, I met with a spiritual director and shared my longing: to feel God’s love in addition to knowing it. (Yes, it’s very similar to that long-ago desire.)
She listened and we chatted about the push/pull I often experience in each area of my life: work, self-care, relationships, service, dreams, spirituality. We talked about the almost constant the tug-of-war I experience between the fast-paced/goal-oriented side of my personality and the reflective/slower side.
She said something like, “You don’t have to fight this push/pull, Joan. It is a part of you. Talk with God about that and then listen for His responses.”
I acknowledged and felt a myriad of emotions during my retreat (yes, that was smile-able progress for me.) During an agitated time, I prayed, “What do you want, Lord?”
“Nothing right now, Joan. I don’t always want something extra. You’re the one who always wants something more from yourself.”
“So take a nap, Joan.”
“Uhhh, okay, Lord.” My shoulders relaxed; the agitation waned. I felt cared for, listened to–and loved. Like God wanted my needs to be met. Ahhh.
The next day when the agitation reared it’s head again, I didn’t berate myself–and neither did the One who is indeed in love with me.
So here’s a message for all you who long for God: God’s in love with you, too.
Consider planning some time for a private retreat or a few hours away from your normal schedule to connect with yourself and God. If you’d like to dialogue about how, when, where and why to retreat, send me a comment.
Here’s a few photos I snapped during my retreat this weekend.
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Joan C. Webb
Writing, teaching, coaching to empower and set free.