by Allysse Shank

This past week, I had the opportunity to attend the annual women’s retreat held by my church. It’s always a great time to unplug and focus on what really matters. Normally, I just go and enjoy everything the retreat has to offer, but this year I was given an opportunity to serve in two areas: worship and decorating committee. Worship is near and dear to my heart as well as decorating the space, transforming the environment into a beautiful getaway.

The thing with the decorating committee is that all the servants need to have everything ready BEFORE the women arrive. (This = Very early morning). Long story short, I knew I’d need to be pulling out of the driveway at 6:20 AM the morning of the retreat. Okay, fine. It isn’t that early, but coming straight off three extra long work days, I wasn’t really looking forward to it.

This year, I had much to get done before I could go, and I was so worried I wouldn’t get things done in time. At 10pm the night before the retreat I finally had to accept that I would have to save some of my work for Monday. That wasn’t really a big deal, but I felt that I would never be able to fully relax at the retreat when I knew I had so much waiting for me at home.

So, here I was, bright and early, heading to the retreat. I was still so wound up and trying so hard not to think of the mess of work I’d left behind, but I prayed and asked God for clarity of mind. I knew I could choose to count this retreat as a loss or I could choose to take every thought captive and avoid all the worrisome thoughts.

We arrived at the retreat center and worked from 9am – 3pm. I forgot to bring food for breakfast AND lunch and I was so tired from going to bed so late; but by the end of the set up time, I realized that my mind was ready for the retreat. I realized that all the work that morning had caused me to distance myself from any stress.

Had I shown up to the retreat at the normal arrival time, I know I would have shown up a hot mess. It probably would have taken the whole evening just to calm down and relax (let alone get anything out of the messages). I’m not going to lie. When my alarm went off that morning at 5am, I was totally regretting committing to the decorating committee. However, serving in the decorating committee was exactly what I needed to be fully present at the retreat.

Sometimes, all it takes is a change of perspective to make lemonade.