Is It Time to Get Off the Merry-Go-Round?

As a leader, are you at a place where you feel as if you’ve used up everything in you? You’re on a merry-go-round of life. When do you say, “It’s time to get off the merry-go-round—time to renew myself”? I surprised myself this past year when I said yes to another opportunity to lead but found that God blessed and renewed me in the process.

I had the opportunity to lead and participate in a retreat. There were women in our church who would never go away for a retreat so we decided to do it at the church. I was amazed at how many signed up.

From the moment I started planning, I was on the path to renewal. I knew God was “tendering” my own heart and life. I used Psalm 139 as my focus. I read that chapter often as I prepared. God spoke through each verse specifically to me.

When the retreat date arrived, I was ready. I used activities and times of prayer to help our women grow closer. During every session, I was amazed as I watched our women truly connect with God and each other, and I could feel His presence with me.

I gave them some objects to use as they thought about themselves: play dough to form into something that describes them, a snowflake to symbolize that none of us are exactly alike and we are unique to God, a small plastic shovel to illustrate them giving areas of their lives to God that they needed to release to Him. I asked them to drop slips of paper with concerns/prayers to God in a plastic tub filled with water. Red food dye was added to the water to symbolize Jesus taking those concerns away.

As the retreat ended, I washed their hands as a symbol of servant leadership. I gave them a towel challenging them to take their experiences from the retreat and pass on that symbol of servant leadership to women in their lives. Every action came back to me so powerfully. I was humbled and led to tears as I washed each of the women’s hands. One woman reversed the process and washed mine!

When a pebble is thrown in water, we can see circles of water widening. That is the way I felt as I experienced God’s love flowing through and circling around me.

I’m back on the merry-go-round of life, but for that one weekend, I was the giver and the recipient of a spiritual renewal retreat. And when life does get difficult, I reflect on that weekend and the renewal God gave to me. I learned to be obedient to God’s leading and He will give you the desires of your heart. I needed renewal and He gave it to me even though I was the leader. He can do the same for you.

Margaret Harding is associate for adults, North Carolina WMU.

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