Entries in three week (2)


they told me i was crazy

If I were going to Europe, it would seem slightly more understandable. But no, I was about to embark on a three-week solitude retreat without technology, friends or leisure reading material. I was spending my entire vacation and travel savings on quiet and less than luxurious surroundings in Washington state. 

I was scared they were right.

I was about to spend two of the most precious equities of our day: time and money. Without any guarantee it would be worth the risk.

I decided to go anyway.

Two weeks before I left, my mind was racing.

What if I hadn’t discerned correctly? What if this was a waste of time? What if my travel savings would be used on a miserable experience … when I could have gone to Europe?!?

The questions were endless, sometimes leading into panic. “What if I, I … I?”

All of my questions surrounded this one letter, a pronoun — me. I was concerned about my time and money. My energy. Me. Somehow I had forgotten the original purpose of this three-week solitude retreat. I had forgotten that it was about what God wanted to do. That it wasn’t for me. (In our culture this is practically a sin.)

It was for God. For us — my relationship with Him.

Moreso, I had forgotten who He is — loving, kind, merciful, purposeful. Could I really think that God would use time and resources on something pointless? Why not prompt me to use this money elsewhere?

I realized I was asking the wrong questions — questions I was taught to ask.

The lies of our society entangled myself in the awe of time and money — that time and money had a higher value than trust in God and stepping out in faith.

The lies of perfectionism and productivity were wrapped into these dirty little fears and doubts. This trip must be productive in some way or else it isn’t worth it. What will people think of me? The lies of our society entangled my trust in God.

Slowly, but steadily I began to turn my questions around. What if God uses this trip for His good? What if God has been calling me to this trip? How will God work on this trip? If I’m this deep in, God must be up to something.

I’m not sure how I would have reacted had I returned and decided it wasn’t worth it, but I don’t think that’s how God works. I’m positive that years later, I would discover the benefits of stepping out in faith, defying societal and cultural standards, denouncing the power of a guarantee on my investments and giving up some of my most precious equities of time and money to His use. The practice of surrendering alone can bring one to new heights in their relationship with the Lord, whether immediate grief or joy follows.

For me, I knew within the first few days that surrendering to whatever God had for me on this trip was worth it, but it took years to get there. One year later, I’m still unpacking the goodness of God from those three weeks alone with Him and I'm positive that will be the case for the rest of my life.


Where is God calling you to step out in faith during this season of your life?

I'd love to hear what you think about stepping out in faith and how society impacts our daily choices, even in following God. Join the conversation and leave a comment below.

*Photo taken on my three-week retreat in Gig Harbor, Washington. Summer 2012.


perfect timing

Warm lights dotted the sky like fireflies. Popping up as the sun faded past the trees and the blue sky deepened into pink and yellow hues slowly darkening to navy. Porch lights. Lanterns. Cozy living room lamps. Homes.

I looked down over the acreage dotted with light from my perch on the second story cupola and wished I could be invited for after supper tea. Comfort. I was seeking comfort and rest — hospitality. My heart yearned for it. To be with another person. To be in a place of comfort.

A few days later, I made my way into the city for my day off from solitude.

White knuckled and wide eyed, I navigated my car towards the city. Glancing at my iPhone occasionally felt much more like a death dare than usual. I hadn’t driven more than 20 miles per hour or more than 20 minutes a day for two weeks. Now, I was making an hour trek into the city.

People drive fast in the city.

… I did not feel fast. I felt like sludge.

As my car progressed, I continually felt further and further from it, as if my body was watching the car move along the freeway as I sat at the on ramp. I was being forced along like sludge down hill. Exhaustion overcame my body, overwhelmed.

“I should just go home.”

I pulled off my exit for Pike’s Place. An immediate hour drive back did not sound ideal, but neither did a market with crowds and noise.

I really wanted to be invited for tea. To sit with someone I knew. To be able to talk about life or nothing at all. I wanted to be in a home. A cozy home.

That’s when I got her text. Perfect timing.

Relief washed my mind and body.

I had told her I may be in Seattle that day, but had held the idea of seeing her loosely.

She invited me for coffee. In her home. So simple and so perfect.

I couldn’t have cared less about the space needle and experiencing the market. I was going to see someone I knew, someone I know ... someone who knows me. Not a stranger or a neighbor that I waved to on a walk, but my dear friend, Carly.

I was getting my wish and it was better than what I had wanted. I was getting the comfort of a home and the comfort of being known.

Carly invited me in, introduced and handed me her six-week-old son, Jameson, to hold and brought me coffee as I sat on her plush couch. Carly, Jameson, being in her home, and that cup of coffee were the most restful moments of my weekend out of solitude. And a highlight of my time spent in Washington. I've learned that the best hospitality isn't planned nor premeditated.

Carly apologized for not being able to go out, but being invited in to share life for an afternoon was exactly what my heart desired. She provided rest for my soul at the perfect timing.

When has someone offered you hospitality and rest when you needed it most?

Thank you, Carly, for the blessing you were to me on my three-week.