Then He arose and rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, “Peace, be still!” And the wind ceased and there was a great calm. —Mark 4:39, NKJV
This past week I traveled to Chicago to facilitate a Sacred Sisters Retreat on self-care. The preparation was intense for me. The travel plans had caused a storm of sorts in my mind and spirit. I had run around shopping for what to wear that would say “retreat presenter.” I had looked for a hair salon to get a brand new style (edgy but humble). I also spent time searching for just the right words to leave participants renewed and transformed all in one weekend. By the time I arrived in Chicago for the event, I was ready to collapse. I arrived a few days early for some planned rest, but I knew I needed to spend part of that time doing a little more work on my presentation. It wasn’t where I wanted it to be, but I didn’t yet know how to fix it.
Imagine having three days of rest—time to stop, pray, and listen. The rest was necessary to know what to do about my presentation. While I rested, three scriptures led me to a place of insight and a fresh perspective on what was missing. I realized what to do only because I allowed myself the peace that comes from getting quiet.
A friend sent the first scripture to me. She had no idea I was working on a three-day presentation. But, as grace would have it, she sent a simple text: “Thinking of you” and the following scripture:
Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. —Philippians 4:6-7, NASB
The second scripture bubbled up during my morning devotion the day after I arrived and confirmed that sitting with God was the one thing I needed to do:
Jesus answered and said to her, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and troubled about many things. But one thing is needed, and Mary has chosen that good part, which will not be taken away from her.” —Luke 10:41-42, NKJV
The third impactful scripture I received came on the third morning. By that time, I realized I needed to change my presentation but could not figure out what that would look like. That morning during my devotion time the daily scripture from my Word Alert app popped up at 7:00 a.m. It read:
Now go; I will help you speak and will teach you what to say. —Exodus 4:12, NIV
I realized I had not included one of the promised topics: wellness. Okay, you may ask how could someone who writes, lives, breathes—and wrote a book on—wellness not have included it in a presentation? Let me say I had focused on the action plan and jumped to implementation before I laid out the reason for the action. It seems I had placed action before reflection.
This huge insight and the resulting improved presentation happened because I stopped my frenetic activity, prayed for discernment, and listened to God’s direction. I felt peace; the storm of activity had calmed. I knew not only what to say, but the words came to me easily and were appropriate. According to the feedback I received from the participants, the presentation worked well. What worked for me was the confirmation that when I have a lot to do, rather than continuing more activity, I need to stop, pray, and listen—then act once I have clarity and direction. Then I will find peace and an improved performance.
- Seeing a cardinal outside my window
- Meeting amazing Sacred Sisters clergywomen from 19 states
- My granddaughter improving daily from a sinus infection
- Returning home safely from an exciting trip
- Finding the perfect Mother’s Day gift for my daughter while traveling
- Having three days of rest and renewal