Welcome to the Clarity Cafe (aka Laguna Christian Retreat)


XA Spring Retreat 2009

OK, so you know how I’ve been droning on and on about needing clarity and direction?  Well I got some.  And, boy, what a shocker!  Not at all what I was thinking, but so much better.  I’ve been trying to draw some analogies or metaphors to cleverly deliver the punchline, but what it boils down to is this:

GOD IS AWESOME!

I can’t really get into all the details just yet because, frankly – I don’t know all the details, yet.  But what I DO know is that God still speaks to His people.  You can think I’m all weird and stuff (let’s face it – if you’re reading this, you probably already have that opinion), but I firmly believe that if you sit still, and you’re really quiet, you can hear Him.  I had the chance to do a lot of that this past weekend at a retreat for college students at Laguna Beach Christian Retreat Center in Panama City Beach, Florida.  Why was I at a College Retreat when, well, um, let’s just say that I’m no longer college-aged (maybe professor-aged.  Young, good-looking, professor-aged)?  Well, because I was asked!  I hemmed and hawed about whether or not I should go.  I would only know one person, and there was the *slight* (cough, cough) age difference, but I decided “Why not?”  I could use the retreat.  Maybe I’ll find that café I previously mentioned.

So I register, I pack my bags and head off for the 6+ hour drive to Pensacola.  The way there was truly peaceful and a blessing.  I took the scenic route and was able to bask in the glory of God’s creation.  I even saw a coyote just standing by the road, watching the sporadic traffic go by.  (I guess that’s what coyotes do for fun on a Friday night before sundown.)  But I digress – the whole way there, I prayed for answers and I got a very clear one:

SHUT UP AND LISTEN!

Well, not in those exact words, but pretty close.  What I heard was more like, “You keep asking everybody else what you think I want you to do.  Stop it!  If you want to know what I want you to do, ASK ME!!”  So, that’s what I did.  They had great worship, unbelieveable teaching, and fantastic fellowship – but God was telling me to sit down, be still, listen, bow down, submit.  And that’s what I did.  In doing so, I found direction.  In the stillness, I found clarity.  In the study, I found release from “soul ties” that had held me back from what God was trying to do through me.

My horizon looks alot like the beautiful views at Laguna Beach – panoramic, churning and vast.  The vision I had of what God wanted of me was limited and small.  What God is calling me to is expansive and limitless!  I asked for a spiritual hamburger and I’m getting Filet Mignon!  God is so good!

So here’s my advice to anyone else out there who is struggling for clarity and direction.  STOP!  Stop your striving.  Stop your pacing.  Stop your incessant whining (wait, that hits a little close to home)!  Take a minute and do what God says (and we always gloss over):  “BE STILL and KNOW that I AM GOD!!!”  Maybe you don’t know how to do that.  Well, here’s what I learned over the weekend…It’s a 4-step process:

1.  Believe that God will speak to you.

2. Relax!  Find a place to sit, or recline.  Put on some worship music or something meditative.

3.  Look and Listen (or SOAK).  This is the hard part.  Just fight the urge to make a list of the things you should be doing, or the goals you need to set or the laundry that needs folding, or the dishes that need washing, or the . . . well you get the idea.  Just clear your mind of all the quotidian mundanity, and make way for Holy Sanity!  This takes practice.  I think that’s something we all forget.  When God said, “Be still. . .” He didn’t mean just once.

4.  Record.  Write down the images that you see or the words that you feel.  You will be amazed.  I know I was.

So why is this so important to clarity?  Well, I think that we tend to look at prayer as either a gripe session or a gimme fest.  In reality, prayer is a conversation.  The very nature of which is reciprocal.  Instead, we do all the talking and then wonder why we can’t hear any answers from God.  Well, simply put, it’s because we never shut up!  So I’m challenging you.  Do this a couple of times a day over the next week.  See if you don’t find the answers that you’re seeking. . . I know I did.

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3 thoughts on “Welcome to the Clarity Cafe (aka Laguna Christian Retreat)

  1. Karen,
    1. Don’t be ashamed of what you’ve learned. Pentacostal/charismatic movements all over the world have very real encounters with God. We love it. 2. God just used you. 3. You just went from Martha to Mary. 4. You need to send this extremely well written post to the Charisma and Spirit Filled Woman’s Magazine. Others need to hear this. Your voice in your writing is a as beautiful as your singing. Keep it up. God bless you; you blessed me!

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