Last week I had the joy of spending a few days retreating with a bunch of worship leaders in the Blue Ridge Mountains just outside of Asheville, NC. This was the fourth National Vineyard Worship Leaders Retreat that I attended; 2007 and 2008 in Estes Park, CO and 2009 and 2010 at the new East retreat in North Carolina (because the West retreat was getting too big). I have thoroughly enjoyed each retreat, especially spending the next few days processing what God did in me. He always does something different and unexpected.
During the week of solitude I had before the retreat and during the retreat itself, God began searching me and bringing to the surface some deep rooted anxieties that have been choking the life out of me for many years. Being anxious, I am finding, is the opposite of being present, and more specifically, being at peace with what is presently happening in my life at any given moment. It's not easy for me to accept and respond to what God is doing in me (I've become quite comfortable with my anxieties), but something is making it nearly impossible for me to ignore.
It appears I've been sowing seeds of anxiety into my daughter, seeds which are now beginning to sprout. She is three and a half years old, and she has a very hard time falling asleep at night, not because she's afraid of the dark, but because she can't stop thinking about what we're going to do tomorrow. Oftentimes, when we tend to her an hour after putting her to bed, she asks questions such as, "What are we gonna do when we wake up?" "Can we watch Mulan tomorrow?" "When you get home from work can we play a game?" She has even recently begun biting her finger nails. I am noticing how she misses out on the enjoyment of certain things because she is already thinking ahead about enjoying the next thing she is going to do. Then, when she's doing nothing she feels like she has to be doing something, so she bites her fingernails (or picks her toenails) as she daydreams about doing something fun. And when it comes time to rest or sleep, she can't. I'm afraid my daughter is not experiencing the kind of joy and peace God wants for her, and I am responsible. Don't get me wrong, she is nowhere near as consumed with anxiety as I am; she is a pure bundle of joy. But there's definitely some bud-nipping that needs to be done in her...and some forest leveling in me.
I'll write more about this and how it pertains to worship in my next post.