As some of you know I just returned from a creative retreat in Nashville. I have attended many creative retreats and women’s events over the years. I even host my own workshops and retreats, but something made this one different. That's what I hope to communicate in this post.
I, like an eager and hopeful little girl looking for the pony in the stall of manure have continued to search for my “community” and “tribe”, even though many a women’s retreat have felt like forcing myself into a small shoe box when I feel more like a pair of boots.
I find life often speaks allegorically. One of my own personal parables began to surface about five or six years ago when I was traveling to Los Angeles to lead a workshop and was surprisingly upgraded to first class on my flight.
Upon returning to the airport for my flight home I learned that my flight had somehow been deleted during my previous upgrade. By the time the ticket agent got me back on the flight I had to scurry through the airport to make my connection.
As providence would have it I was stopped at the security checkpoint and searched from head to toe before rushing to make my connection. This wasn't just any search. As I approached the checkpoint a guard screamed a warning code to the other agents at which point we were ordered to stop in our tracks, because of a possible threat. A few seconds later we were cleared to proceed being informed that it was merely a warning test.
Hopping on the plane before the doors closed I suddenly noticed that my seat was an absolute downgrade. I quickly surmised that this was the worst seat on the plane! It was the last seat on the last row, up against the window. Since I now had become accustomed to first class, I had a bit of an attitude until I received a divine message and made an adjustment.
The message I received was as follows. We all have the opportunity to seek a high place of prominence, or humble ourselves and take the low seat. We can be certain that we will go through a “security checkpoint” sometime or another to evaluate our choices. A true upgrade of the first class nature comes through humility. It was loud and clear. Put yourself at the head of the table and you could be asked to move. Put yourself on the low plain (plane) and you will be elevated in due time. When you humble yourself you will be a carrier of true influence.
The saga continued. Three years later my son Samuel and I were at the Charlotte NC airport waiting to board a flight to Los Angeles where our family was relocating. We had our guitars with us when a famous band arrived in the gate area. The guitar player noticed our guitars and tossed my son a guitar pic.
After getting settled on the plane I noticed some commotion with an unhappy passenger whose seat wouldn't recline in the isle across from me. The flight attendant found a willing passenger to swop seats with the disgruntled man and suddenly the guitar player was sitting across from me. At that moment I knew some divine configuring was taking place and their was a message for me in the mix.
The guitar player and I spent the flight talking about his world as a single dad, his periodic substitute teaching in his son’s school, along with his years of touring with a mega star. I noticed immediately that there was no aroma of celebrity wafting about from this time tested, seasoned musician as he pleasantly chatted with Sam and I.
I quickly gleaned the powerful take-away that my divinely arranged airplane travel provided for me and this was it: There are those who will seek to live from celebrity, but there is a greater choice and that is of relationship. The authenticity and humility the musician demonstrated was significant. He chose the lower seat. The attention and kindness he demonstrated toward my child spoke volumes about the kindness God demonstrates toward each of his children.
The retreat I attended was led by yet another group of accomplished individuals, yes, celebrities in their fields, who humbly laid down their badges for authenticity, transparency and relationship. There was no feeling of striving or controlling to reach a perceived outcome. This was not token humility, talking about humility, but then actually controlling overtly, insisting on conformance, playing by established rules and regurgitating the old as if it were new. This was true freedom! I’ve heard babble about humility for years, but have often witnesses it traded in for the counterfeit of ego and competition, a lot of the lesser, while forfeiting the greater it many a life, including my own.
I still can’t get my head around the high level of participants. This was no sissy crowd. The women had been through a lot of “stuff” and were authentic, okay with where they were at, not needing to be fixed or trying to fix others! We were tracking, okay with not having all of the answers, okay with unknowing and with simply being! There was no pressure to perform or to dumb down. OMG! This was my tribe!
Don't misunderstand me. These women are human and have skin on too. But they have clearly made the right choice and it is and it will affect many. True authority only comes with humility. Free welding love makes room and space for true connection above agenda or ritual. I have seen first hand that it will invariably carry the whole flight to a new level.