I took a step outside my comfort zone. Thursday through Sunday, I attended a writer's retreat in North Carolina. The plan? To get away and spend some quality time writing. The intimidating part? I didn't know anyone who was attending - but from start to finish, God's hand was on the entire adventure.
A new member of our local writer's critique group shared the four hour trip to Buladean with me. Our conversation touched on everything from writing to family. As we chatted about the upcoming weekend, we discussed the room arrangements. We were fairly certain two ladies would be assigned to a room. I struggled to remember the last time I had shared a room with someone other than my husband.
Scripture verses were tastefully stenciled on the walls of many of the rooms and I noticed bookshelves lined with volumes of inspirational literature. A smile spread across my face - I liked this place!
From the first gathering at dinnertime, I could tell this would be a memorable weekend. A common bond greater than writing knit this group together - we were sisters in Christ. Our writing styles and genres were as different as our backgrounds, but each of us shared a common desire: to magnify the Lord with our talent.
Generous blocks of writing time were punctuated with fellowship around meals and times of prayer and Bible study. I was challenged and encouraged by this diverse group of women who wanted to point others to Christ with their writing. I was reminded of the wisdom Solomon shared in the book of Proverbs, "Iron sharpeneth iron; so a man sharpeneth the countenance of his friend," (Proverbs 27:17; KJV).
I made good headway on my writing project. But what had originally intimidated me - reaching out to women I didn't know - became the most valuable reward of the weekend. Each woman had life experiences that led her into a deeper walk with her Savior. I reflected on God's goodness in my own life, refocused on His presence, and drew closer to the One who had orchestrated this getaway in the first place.
I thank God for the new friendships formed and can say with the psalmist David, "Praise ye the Lord. Praise God in his sanctuary: praise him in the firmament of his power. Praise him for his mighty acts: praise him according to his excellent greatness. Let everything that hath breath praise the Lord. Praise ye the Lord," (Psalm 150:1-2,6).
Are you willing to step out of your comfort zone?
Prayer: Gracious Heavenly Father, Thank You for challenging me to step out of my comfort zone. Help me to use the talents and abilities You've given me to magnify You. Thank You for friendships that develop because of the common bond we share in You. I praise You today for Your incredible goodness. In Jesus' name, Amen.
*I'm hosting over at Living by Grace today. Come join in the discussion!