Living in the Two Hearts

My Spiritual Insights and Musings

Complete Retreat

Posted by Anne Elizabeth on July 20, 2008

So, I went on a Passion and Purpose retreat this weekend. I drove four hours – it seemed much longer – to Milford, OH. There I stayed at a Jesuit retreat center and listened to a favorite speaker/author remind me of the basics. We need that from time to time, ya know? That’s why Mother Mary always says the same thing, over and over again, whenever she comes to us. Pray. Pray for sinners. Sacrifice, (offer to me your faults, feelings, and failures so I can help you grow) and Fast for the salvation of yours and other’s souls. We all need to be reminded of what we already know.

Anywhoo, basic FACT OF LOVE:

God has a PURPOSE for every human being that He ever created. He also has a PLAN for us so that we can best live out our purpose to the fullest extent. How does God do this? He does this by implanting in our hearts certain desires. These desires then develop and become our dreams – that which we wish to do with our lives. These dreams will NEVER contradict God’s Holy Will for us, nor will they ever compromise us. This is how we can best tell when the dreams we have come from God or from our own selfish desires.

So how do we discover these dreams? By discovering ourselves. And with only two days to do this in, creativity is a MUST!

Try this, it’s really fun! Just answer honestly the following questions. When you answer them, make sure you also state why you answered that way.

1) What is your favorite color?
2) What is your favorite animal?
3) You are in a dark room with only a single keyhole providing the smallest amount of light. What do you do?
4) You are faced with a bear (black, brown, grizzly – makes no difference, they’re all going to do the same thing ) that is ready to charge at you. What do you do?
5)You have come into a lot, and I mean millions upon millions, of dollars; more than you could ever spend in a lifetime. What do you do with the money?

click here to find out what the answers say about YOU. 🙂 I’ve also included what my answers were.

After this, we we’re taken through an exercise that had us look at our Dreams, those desires placed by God within our hearts to help us become who He created us to be. During this time, we were also asked to keep three things in mind (a perfect number in God’s eye, btw):

One, none of us have pure motives for the things we do.  We always have an agenda, something we desire to accomplish. This isn’t a bad thing, we just need to be aware of it so that when we make our choices, we understand as best we can where those choices came from.

Two, God always wants our future to be bigger than our past. The mistakes we’ve made are in the past. The things we’ve experience and done are in the past. All will contribute one way or another to our future, but we can never go back, and we shouldn’t desire to. God doesn’t desire us to. He desire repentance for our mistakes, yes, but He also desires growth from our failures; He desires us to always move forward so that our Future can become bigger (more) than our past.

Three, it’s the Dreams that we have which gives us hope that our future will be bigger than our past

I was truly amazed that I had to really think about my dreams and what they really were! They weren’t necessarily on the forefront of my mind. I have always said, I desire to do the Will of God, but I never really asked, what exactly does that mean for me? This is why God brought me four hours east. This is why He desired me to be at this retreat and this particular time. I have a purpose, God gave it to me at the moment of my conception, and God also has a plan for me. I’m given the ability to choose whether I’ll continue to follow God’s Will in accordance to that purpose and that plan, or whether I chuck the whole thing out the window and follow my own folly. Sound too easy? Think again!

I’m happy to say, two of my dreams are within my reach. I have completed my Masters program in Theology, and will take my final comprehensives on August 2nd, please pray for me! God has placed the desire for continuing on to a PhD and presented me with a thesis question and everything! But the timing needs to be His, needs to be spot on. For I also have several others, definitely more pressing Dreams/desires that have been on my heart since 2005, and it’s possible they might need to come first. Knowing what I want to do for Him, I place my entire trust in His perfect plan (something that I needed reminding of and which I got plenty of this weekend), with perfect timing that will let me know which to pursue first.

Repeatedly this weekend I said to myself, “God is in-charge, not I. His ways are not my ways. Jesus, I TRUST in You!” Wonderfully enough, above my door read the following plaque ~My child, let me LOVE you! Be still and know that I am God… PS 46:10

This wasn’t my original room assignment either. But as I have often said and will say again, “God has a wonderful sense of humor! ” Knowing that I would rather be cold (cause you can warm up) instead of hot (how easy is it to cool down, I ask you?), that He placed me in the pathway of another retreatant who wanted to know if I knew how to turn on the heat? I asked, “Turn on the heat?!” The weather outside was sticky and humid, and my own room was no better. What in the world could she want heat for? Suspending all judgment, if only for a moment, I decided to investigate.

So I walked into her room and said, “Oh! You are so lucky! If only my room was this cold!” To which her ears pricked and she inquired as to what I meant. So I took her a few doors down and across the hall to my room. When she entered the room, the same words came from her that had come from me only moments earlier, “Oh, you are so lucky to have such a nice warm room!” At that I offered to switch rooms with her. She said she would let me know, because she had already unpacked and she didn’t want to trouble me. I assured her on my part it would be no trouble. I would pack up in an instant if it meant having a cooler room. Five minutes later there was a knock on my door and there she stood, freezing. Dressed full in sweats and a long sleeve pull-up, and looking very cold. I smiled sympathetically and offered to help move her things into this room as I had not yet unpacked. She accepted and we switched with grateful hearts!

God has a wonderful way of getting us past our inconveniences and assisting us to place ourselves where we really need to be. I slept well that night! Much more so than I would have had I stayed in that hot and uncomfortable room. She slept well also. Much more than she would have had she stayed and froze in that very cool room. God knows what we need, and more importantly, God knows perfectly when we need what we need.

The final proof of this truth came just today (Sunday), as I was lamenting the apparent uncooperative-ness of a certain young man whose life is just waiting for it to be more than his past. I was about to let go of the Dream within my heart (and it was tearing at me, begging me to reconsider), when I read the reflection for today in my Word among us.

The part that truly stuck out (because it is just SO ME), was: “But the faults that seem so glaring to us usually have another side. For instance, my stubbornness can come in handy when I find myself in a situation where I need to hang on to God’s promises with all my heart… God is infinitely patient with us. You can afford to be patient with Him as well – and with each other.”

Prayer is powerful, and I have prayed for this young man for quite sometime. If our greatest thought becomes our greatest action, then the knowledge that God always keeps His promises gives me the courage I need to be stubborn enough to hold on to this Dream until God accomplishes it.  And how God will accomplish it is entirely up to HIM! Your will be done, oh Lord, not mine!!!

Do you know what your Dreams are, the desires that God has placed in your hearts? I defined and focused on mine this weekend. I learned. I was reminded: Thirty minutes in a comfortable chair, in a comfortable position, still and silent: Be still, and know that I am God…  The desires of my heart surfaced, engulfed me, contained all of me. The tears I cried that morning were tears of great joy.

I then went and walked with Jesus and Mary for an hour. Not speaking, just being in their presence. Okay, I did wonder a few things, but I quickly caught myself, re-focused, and allowed myself to just BE. When was the last time you allowed yourself to just BE? If 30 minutes is too long to sit still try 10 minutes, and see what wonderful things God has in mind for you!

Interested in a retreat to help you refocus? Click here for more information and maybe you’ll find a retreat opportunity just perfect for you. 🙂


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