Two weeks ago (I can’t believe it’s been that long) I went a retreat for a program called Three To Abandon.
Three to Abandon is a retreat where after applying and being accepted 8-10 other people from across the US come together for four days to better understand their purpose. In these four days, the group will go to a state, which is revealed once accepted, and everyone in the group is taught a little bit more about themselves and God’s purpose for their lives. Various activities are done throughout these days from group, to individual, and one-on-one with the mentors who are leading. A purpose guide is given to each person from where the group works from throughout the four days and this is where all activities and lessons (for lack of better words) come from.
Prior to heading out to Texas where my group went for the retreat, I had mixed feelings. I knew that this was something that I wanted and needed but I also was kind of freaking out because I mean you are meeting a bunch of “stranger” to spend four days together. But those feeling were just jitters because I felt amazing peace every time I thought about the trip.
I got to know my leaders and the other group members very well before meeting them. One of the leaders was always reaching out to me to see how I was doing personally and how I was feeling about the trip. We had a good amount of time to all get to know each other, which was really important and great for me because I wasn’t as nervous (or suspicious) going in.
The experience there was different than I had imagined in my head, in the best way possible. We were taken to a beautiful lake house, with more than enough room for the 8 of us that were in my group, and with a view that took your breath away. We got to know each other very quickly and thankfully because we had been in contact for a while before it was not as hard to get conversations started.
We had activities every day, which brought out things in us, from us, and explained a lot about us. We got to see more and understand more about each other through these group activities because we would show parts of ourselves that we might not have just because we were technically still “strangers” in a way and these are parts of our personalities we only show over time. Along with group we also had individual activities where we had time to reflect on what we had learned about ourselves and what that meant for and to us personally.
The friendship and coming together part of the trip was equally as amazing. You see just the fact that we spent all day with people we would have probably never met, considering the fact that our lives were in different parts of the country, and showing sides of ourselves we never let “strangers” see makes you close no matter what. But what was most wonderful about it was that the leaders of our group made everything feel comfortable for us at every moment. The times we weren’t doing activities it kind of felt like a friends vacation in a way. And that aspect of light and funny in-between and even during activities is what made the trip feel comfortable.
Amazing! If I had to put my feelings of the experience into one word that would be it. I learned so much about myself and how I work and what is it that I really want in life and how I want my life to look like. I’m not going lie it was a little difficult to get back into the swing of things after I got back home. But I guess that’s normal coming back to the real world after being in a place where it seems like your own little bubble away from the world. That’s the only thing that I can say that was “bad” the initial shock of getting back into normal life, however, remembering the greatness of what happened and what the Lord showed and told me there is what made me want to keep going. To take what I learned and use it in my life because that’s what I was there for.
There are two things I took home with me from those four wonderful days in that lake house.
A couple days after my trip one of my leaders asked us to give one word this trip meant to us and I answered courage. This trip gave me the courage to keep on going and to believe that the Lord really does have something for me in the future. The courage to keep having faith in the Lord and His promises to me. I had been weary before the trip and scared that I was making a mistake and not good enough for the career path I am taking. But this retreat, the activities we did, and people that were there with me helped me see and encouraged me. That gave me courage.
- Intentional friendships!
I don’t know if this is a thing they even thought was something that people would walk away with but I did. The love the leaders shared and the stories about how other groups are going to each other weddings and still talk all the time made me realize something; at my age, 22, your friendships have to be intentional! I have always just been one of those people who needed to be around someone to be there friend and I never put much effort into my friendships, so over time, I spent a lot of time by myself. But with the leaders on this trip always telling us we are like one big family now and we will keep in touch after this, and after hearing some of my new friends speak of keeping in touch I realized that if I’m not intentional with my friendships I’m going to end up alone and frustrated.
We are growing up and with school, work, and other responsibilities we have at twenty-something if we do not plan and reach out to others we will lead pretty sad lonely lives. I don’t want that for myself every again. I also realized that I don’t have to be near someone to truly be their friend and that my life calls for as many long-distance friendships as it does right-next-door ones.
In conclusion, this trip changed me not because it gave me knowledge of things I never knew or the Lord came down from the sky to tell me where I was going in life (even though that would be awesome!!), but because it strengthened my faith in what I already knew and made my love grow stronger, and also made me meet some of the most amazing people!
So if you want this experience that for you might just be life changing or at the least you get to spend four days relaxing with the Lord and a group of people who love Him too and meet some pretty awesome people from around the country (which is pretty huge in my book), check out Three to Abandon. They would love to have you!!
Keep On Living!!!
Here are some pictures of my new friends and Three to Abandon family for you guys to catch a glimpse of our trip!
*some of these amazing photos were taken by Audrey Gossman*