Shut up and show up.

I’m writing this after a pretty tiring weekend. Another Engaged Encounter weekend followed immediately by teaching Sunday School in the evening to Junior High aged kids. Phew.

I’m happy to have a chance to finally reflect and decompress. As usual, I started Friday night not wanting to be there. Giving up a whole weekend nowadays seems like a big sacrifice in the weeks building up to one of these retreats. I can always tell by the looks on the faces of the couples when we start the retreat which people feel like I do — they can think of lots of ways they’d rather be spending the weekend.

If I were less responsible, I’d walk up to one of them some time when the weekend is starting and comiserate, “Man, I know. I don’t want to be here either.” But I don’t because I shouldn’t. I’m supposed to be one of the leaders after all. Being the leader can suck sometimes.

And then later on during the weekend some things were going on that made me feel like things weren’t going well. Some couples were giving me distinct signals that they were not pleased with the retreat. So by Saturday afternoon I was building up a big case of Bad Attitude. Being the leader can suck sometimes.

And then it hit me. Actually Heidi pointed it out to me gently in our sharing. This isn’t about me. God doesn’t care what I’d rather do with my weekend. He wanted me here. And it is not my job to ensure the quality of the weekend and that every couple is pleased. That’s God’s job. I’m not the leader; God is.

My job is to just show up, do my part faithfully, and turn the rest over to her. In other words, practice some of what we preached on the weekend.

And alas when I did, in prayer, offer my attitude up to God, he answered me. The weekend went well. My pessimism was disconfirmed. And I had some very meaningful dialogue with my wife. So it was a renewing experience for me and, as far as I could tell, good for the couples as well.

I need to learn to shut up, show up, and let God do his thing. I guess that’s why we go on retreats, huh?

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