These last few weeks, I’ve been processing a lot of experiences and feelings that I’d spent 28 months suppressing, numbing, and burying. I’ve spent a lot of time getting still, listening to the quiet voice of my heavenly Father, reading Brené Brown’s work on shame and vulnerability research (if you aren’t familiar with her work—I implore you to look it up), and writing, writing, writing. I’ve also acted on some leaps of faith that definitely fall into the category of “daring greatly” over the course of the last week. All of this is accompanied by a not-quite-comfortable sensation that I’m coming out of the shell I’ve been hiding in—it’s a momentum of bravery that I don’t want to lose.
On Twitter yesterday, I alluded to the fiery red of my latest hair color being a reflection of “my inner feisty-ness” while chatting with Anna. Her reply was quick: “’inner’. Whatever. It’s leaking out ALL OVER these days.” And well, I guess that’s true.
My sister became fascinated with personality tests/types a couple years ago,
gently encouraging practically forcing everyone in our family to take the Meyers-Briggs evaluation and learn our personality types. Mine was INFJ the first time I took it, but last year I did it again and got ISFJ—which I think is more accurate. Or was. See—since I actually committed to and became more involved in #the4500 last month, I’ve begun to question the degree of my introversion. It seems that all the mental and emotional shifts I’ve experienced since then have unlocked who I might really be underneath all the junk I’ve been hauling around. Am I a full-on extrovert? Absolutely not. But I might be more of an extroverted introvert than I ever would have identified myself as. (I REALLY want to take the Meyers-Briggs inventory again, but Jess tells me I should wait a few weeks to let this “new” personality settle in.)
I’m tempted to list all the ways I’ve seen this elevated extroversion manifest itself, but you’d grow weary of that list. For now, the focus will be on the biggest one thus far: SPLENDID 2016.
So, what exactly is SPLENDID 2016? Splendid is the name of a retreat ministry formed by #the4500’s FB group founder, Tracy. Tracy answers the question of SPLENDID’s definition simply, “God has each one of us on an amazing splendid journey. With each step our stories become intertwined with each other and God’s face can be seen in the walk.” Her vision is for women to come together to “seek simplicity, listen for calm & study the names of God…focus on things such as mothering, friendship, and self-care…to see Jesus as never before.”
The first SPLENDID retreat debuts next weekend in Wisconsin. A few dozen of #the4500’s braver souls—those who were unafraid to make the commitment to attend when the group was still in its very beginning stages, will converge on a beautiful retreat center to spend a sweet time of renewal together. (Allow me to pause here and say that I never entertained the notion of being at SPLENDID 2015. No consideration at all. It was totally #offthebeam. But today, as my Twitter feed has begun to buzz with #thesplendidretreat countdowns, I’m feeling tinges of FOMO [fear of missing out]. But at the same time, I’m happy for those who will be there.) My heart is filled with the prayer that those who will be in attendance experience an extraordinary freedom with one another next weekend, that Tracy be led by the Holy Spirit in ministering to those women, and that her vision be expanded and multiplied in the future.
About two weeks ago, Tracy announced that there would be a second SPLENDID in the spring of next year…in Texas.
A few facts here:
- I’ve traveled to several southern states around SC; I’ve been on a literary-minded trek to several New England states. The farthest west I’ve been is Indiana. I have NEVER wanted to go to Texas. Of all the states I’ve had any inkling of interest in, Texas has always been very near the bottom of the list.
- I have NEVER flown. Nope, never. It’s one of those things Ticcoa just does not do.
- I have NEVER traveled alone.
Many of the women in #the4500 live in Texas– several of whom I have developed friendships with within the group.
The night before Tracy posted the announcement of the new retreat, I’d drifted off to sleep thinking, “Maybe I’ll go to Texas some day and meet these girls.” No lie—the next morning, I woke up to a photo Tracy had posted proclaiming: “Splendid: Texas Spring 2016.”
Um. I’m sorry. WHAT?
It immediately stirred something in my heart. I was already being pulled toward it and there were no details. Me—the queen of routine, schedule, and having a plan!
Last week, the dates and location were announced. Details posted. Registration opened.
I signed up. I put down a deposit. I started looking at flights. I made a commitment.
I’m going to Texas next Spring. Flying. By myself. To meet up with these women who inspire and encourage me on a daily basis.
And I. Am. So. Excited. About. It.
Will it be awkward? Perhaps at first.
Scary? Maybe a little.
But I can’t imagine a safer place to be either of those things.
Because it will definitely be
“The Lord appeared to us in the past saying…
I have loved you with an everlasting love;
I have drawn you with unfailing kindness.”
“Oceans (Where Feet May Fail)” Hillsong UNITED
“Chasing You” Jenn Johnson & Bethel Music