I recently had the opportunity to facilitate a women’s retreat at a local Lutheran camp. While gathering together with a multiage group of women, we spent time listening to, discussing, and exploring the words of the hymn “It Is Well.”
I arrived at camp very tired, feeling much more drained and empty than I have in years. As I drove into camp, I tried to find every bit of energy to lead and encourage others in my midst. What I found was that just by showing up—by listening, by indeed retreating from the day-to-day that had been wearing on me—I was deeply blessed and encouraged by the participants, potentially more than I blessed them.
I wonder if this is not one of the significant challenges for women in my midst. In so many contexts, we are expected to be doers, to have things taken care of, to lead well, and simultaneously to follow well. Even when we attend worship or Bible study or small groups, we spend so much time planning that we forget to be present, to listen, to trust the promise of God in His Word telling us “it is well.”
For thus says the LORD:
“Behold, I will extend peace to her like a river,
and the glory of the nations like an overflowing
and you shall nurse, you shall be carried upon her hip,
and bounced upon her knees.
As one whom his mother comforts,
so I will comfort you;
you shall be comforted in Jerusalem.”
When we scroll social media, we find ourselves in a comparison game with friends and family and strangers. Am I eating the right things? Am I using the correct planner? Which Bible study should I do next? Which ministry needs my help? We forget that our God is a God of peace, not of comparison and rushing. The voice of the world resounds in our minds.
As we fall asleep at night, the to-do lists haunt our thoughts. Thoughts of “I’m not good enough,” “I need to do more,” and “I need to do better” run through the recesses of our mind. We have a promise in our Baptism. Jesus already redeemed all of you, your doubts, and your brokenness at the cross. You need not do more; in fact, you would do well to do less. Be still. Listen in the comfort of friends and mentors. Hear the words of Scripture in the quiet spaces of your lives. Be honest and earnest in prayer, and release the voices of the world.
This process is a seemingly impossible task in this world of constant pressures, but, friends, I believe that you, too, might just show up one day to something you were planning to lead and instead feel “peace like a river” flowing from the presence of others speaking truth into your life.
Our God is present, He is with us, and the work is already done. May you enter this spring drinking from the rivers of peace with a heart open to His calling.
Are you struggling to feel like it is well? Like you’re enough?
Download a free sample of the new women’s Bible study Enough for Now (and a free decluttering guide too!).