I knew that organizing a retreat would be a learning process but I didn’t realize just how MUCH I would learn. I’m sure I’ll be unpacking those lessons for months, but here are some initial thoughts:
1. For the participants, Reset was a lot about rest. For me, not so much. I knew that going in, of course, but I did not anticipate how much rest I would need afterwards.
New fun fact: apparently you can be so tired that you become dizzy. Yesterday I couldn’t even do the simplest math problem.
My. Brains. Are. Jello.
My tummy is, too, but I’ll spare you the details. Several of my friends mentioned how wiped out I looked in the recap video I posted Monday. (Why didn’t I wait to post until after I’d recovered?!)
In retrospect, a week-long trip out of state with several speaking engagements, followed by holding a retreat (and doing all the cooking) the very next week probably wasn’t the smartest idea. I tend to overestimate my resilience levels.
Lesson Learned: I need to pace myself and make sure to schedule more downtime.
2. I get that some people thought it was a little crazy that I chose to cater the food for Reset. Honestly, I thought I’d left all that behind years ago; that was my old life, but then a writer friend challenged me on that mindset.
“Why not use it all?” she said; all meaning all the gifts He’s given me. What if there was a way to weave together all my experience and use it for others?
Turns out there was!
It made me realize that who I am today is a compilation of all that has gone before; the events of my life aren’t random. There’s nothing that’s for nothing; God uses it ALL. It’s all part of His plan.
Those years of catering and running a gourmet-to-go were physically grueling, but that wasn’t all they were: they were an opportunity to express my creativity and learn leadership skills. What amazing preparation for organizing an event!
“Occasionally, God rips aside the veil, and you begin to see this very fact: All things happen for you. All things. Everything is knit together.” Tim Keller Click To Tweet
Lesson Learned: Embrace the season you’re in more fully by incorporating what you learned in the past.
3. There’s nothing like holding an event to deal with your ego. What if nobody comes? What if it’s a flop? What if I’m just kidding myself that I have anything to offer?
Me and Jesus had some serious talks about this over the past few months, and when I say talks, I mean me begging Him to take over, because “I got nuthin.’” I can’t even tell you how many times I sang, “I surrender all.”
Lesson Learned: If you want to know how big of an ego you still have, try putting yourself out there in a big way. That rumble in your stomach? EGO.
4. Reset wasn’t something I dreamed up over the course of the summer; some form of it has been brewing in my heart for years. Decades, even. It was time and I knew it, but I also knew I couldn’t do it alone.
Enter: Karen (Everybody Loves Karen) Lanouette.
Karen brainstormed with me, prodded me, helped me find the location, set up the online registration, and patiently fielded all of my panicky texts and phone calls. She put the linens on the bunk beds when we found them unmade, then she put on her Miss Congeniality hat and greeted the guests and made them feel at home. Did I mention she was also sous chef and dishwasher extraordinaire?
And my personal onsite therapist?
Lesson Learned: If you want to do big things, find yourself a Karen.
5. I have to admit, there are times I miss working in the food world. The process was so simple: cook it, sell it, the customer eats it, they love it, start all over again.
With writing and speaking (and now organizing retreats) it’s not that clear cut. It’s a lot harder to know if you’re making an impact, and the truth is… sometimes you’re not.
Not everybody is going to understand what you're doing or why you're doing it. They won't connect with your personality or your message or the way you do things. This doesn't make me happy (hello... ego) but it's part of the deal. Click To Tweet
Lesson Learned: Pleasing God is more important than pleasing people.
6. There were lots of ups and downs the last few months and the nightly practice of #countingitalljoy was a lifeline for me while I prepared for Reset Retreat.
Finding the perfect Airbnb counted as joy. When I found just the right giveaways, I counted that all joy, too. The charcuterie board my brother made for me, the pumpkin swag I found at the dollar store, the messages that started to come together… joy.
The days when no one signed up, I counted it all joy. (Not saying I felt like it; it was a choice.) Staring at the blank computer screen, endless grocery shopping trips, kitchen basically impassable because of all the boxes and bins…. joy, joy, joy.
Friends donating so others could attend—JOY.
Making new friends—JOY.
Using the gifts that He gave me—JOY.
Learning how much I still have to learn—JOY.
All that counting added up to the overall joy of Reset Retreat.
Lesson Learned: The journey is every bit as important and precious as the destination.
7. Last month I shared a message called “Cultivating a Life of Beauty and Strength.” It was based on a prophetic word about women being roses with stems of steel. This past weekend I got to experience that beauty and strength up close and personal with the women at Reset. It was breathtaking listening to their stories. As they wrapped themselves in a “mantle of praise,” I thought to myself, “Beautiful warriors, every single one of them.”
Lesson Learned: We need to tell each other how beautiful we are.
8. Last but by no means least, never underestimate the power of cheese. I brought home tons of crackers but sadly, very little cheese.
Gorgonzola? Gone. Brie? Bye, bye. Asiago? Adios.
Lesson Learned: If you build a cheese board, they will come.
I’m looking forward to my own Reset at the end of the month when Roger and I head to the mountains; we’re praying there will still be some fall color to enjoy. In the meantime, I’m making notes and jotting down ideas for how to make the next Reset Retreat even better, based on what I’m learning.
Tell me, what do you look for in a retreat?
And now a contest for those of you who weren’t able to attend Reset Retreat!
Winner will receive the same giveaways that our attendees did: a Reset journal, a copy of Bob Sorge’s book, “Reset, 30 Ways to a Consistent Prayer Life,” homemade soap, a handmade piece of pottery by Pottery With Parkinson’s, a Clinging Cross, a “Re-words” bookmark, and a “Re-word” stone.
Rules to enter:
*1 entry for commenting on post
*1 entry for sharing
*1 entry for subscribing to blog
*1 entry for Tweeting
Winner will be announced on Sunday, October 13th.