Risk Rejection, Saying Yes To God

Posted by on January 9, 2014 in Trust | 36 comments

dream figure

When Amy asked me to contribute to her Risk Rejection series this month, I jumped at it before I thought it through. You might say, I leaped before I looked. As the reality of what I would have to write about settled on me, I chided myself for acting so rashly and saying “yes” to something that I know is going to make me uncomfortable. <sigh>

But I did say yes, so, in faithfulness I will say that the risk I knew I would have to write about is of course, Refine {the retreat}. I say  “of course”, because I feel like I’ve talked about the retreat so much that everyone must surely know about it already. But maybe you don’t–so let me back up.

Last year after publishing my Lenten book, when the big sales push began to dwindle, I grew increasingly more faint in energy and emotional stamina. Worn thin from writing numerous guest posts and spending too much time online, I craved quiet, I retreated from the interwebs and curled up in Jesus’s lap for a couple of weeks.

During my rest, I heard the whisperings of a new dream blossoming. I began researching silent retreats and fantasizing about going off alone for a weekend to a quiet place without internet, phones or talking. It sounded like heaven. Mentally, I had packed my bags and was already half way to Arkansas, when I heard God say, “you’re not the only one who wants a retreat”.

I ignored Him.

Within that same week, I received multiple inquiries from people who’d read my book and wanted a study guide to lead others through the book, and to take groups on retreats. *gulp*

This is how God talks to me. He nudges me, I  sometimes ignore Him, then He puts others in my path to repeat His nudge over and over, until I realize–He’s not messing with me.

I leaned in, and listened. Over the next few weeks, I threw out a few fleeces and God answered each one swiftly–sometimes within hours of my prayers. It was freaky. And amazing. God answered clearly–Refine {the retreat} was born.

I wish I could say that my saying “yes” to God has been all sunshine and singing happy songs of faithfulness. That  couldn’t be further from the truth. The path to Refine has been a hard, scraping fight of obedience to God over hiding out and eating chocolate in my pantry instead–not that I haven’t done that along the way.

I have cried gigantic, fearful tears over every step of this process. I have lashed out in anger at my children, I have stared my husband down with fire behind my eyes, as he’s tried to help. I have bored my friends to tears with my incessant whining about it, and I have lost countless hours of sleep fretting and de-throning God with my worry.

I am scared, people. Utterly terrified, and that’s how I know this is a God ordained event. I would never set out to do something this *big* on my own. I care too much about what other people think of me to risk sticking my neck out there and potentially humiliating myself by planning an event that will only happen IF people buy tickets and actually show up. The risk of rejection surrounding this thing literally makes me twitchy.

But this is how God works, right? He sometimes asks us to do the hard things, like liberating an entire nation from an oppressor. Like giving birth to a baby without an earthly Father–like hanging out in a den with hungry lions, or spending time in a fiery furnace. Or in my case, mothering 4 kids day in and day out.

RiskRejection

On top of planning the retreat, I wrote a workbook to accompany my book. I fought this too, but in the end, God wins-because the truth is, as scared as I am, I’d still rather say yes to Him. I love Him. I believe in His promises so as terrifying as it is, saying yes to God is the only way I’m willing to live. <–Tweet that

There are so many little details still that have to fall into the perfect position for this thing to come off without any major hiccups. I’ve made commitments and signed contracts based solely on faith. Just writing that feels insane because a year ago I would have said that IS the craziest thing ever–but now I’m living it.

Right now 21 women are going to show up on friday, April 4th and I am going to have to welcome them to something that as of this very moment, is a handful of scribbled notes in a journal and a bunch of recorded conversations.I don’t know what it is going to look like. I don’t know what we will be eating. I can’t even begin to predict the weather for that weekend. I’ve had to ask for sponsors without being able to offer much in return–because this is a retreat and not a fancy conference.

I’m scared to death that I will stand up there at Refine and cry my eyes out in front of all of those women, because that’s what happens to me when the Holy Spirit moves. I cry rivers of tears over His mighty works.

I can’t claim Refine {the retreat} as my dream–it isn’t. This is God’s thing and He’s invested in it in ways I never imagined.

People have sent money. People have donated their services, their art, their time. People have prayed for me when I’ve needed it most. I am awestruck at the whole thing.

Whatever happens, I’m taking a flying leap into the unknown with a known God. There are currently only 3 spots left for this event, so I guess I’m not the only taking this leap. I know when I land (when we land)–whatever that looks like, It will be ok. He’s got this.

Weeeeeeeeeeeee!

Read other brave stories by following the hashtag #riskrejection on twitter. Be inspired, take a risk. 

 

  • Meredith Sings

    oh my goodness….
    this is AMAZING.

    WOW. He is stretching you — and yet you don’t break!! :)
    Keep listening, and being used, my sweet friend,
    You are loved, and beloved.

    • http://kriscamealy.com/ Kris Camealy

      He is stretching us all, Meridith, right? And I break plenty. I break down and he comforts me and sets my feet back on the path. Thank you for your bold encouragement–you are a gift.

  • http://sprocketswife.blogspot.com/ rubberbacon

    Okay, I need to say it. Settle down! It’s going to be fun and awesome. Even if you do end up crying you will have 21 women there to console you. I’ve watched you fret over this for months now and it’s time to say settle down and rest in the fact that you’ve put months into something that’s going to be awesome.

    • http://kriscamealy.com/ Kris Camealy

      Rachel, you were THE first person to purchase a ticket to Refine. I will never forget that and will always be grateful for the faith leap you took to commit to this crazy, new thing. I can’t wait to see you again, and see what god does with the weekend–it WILL be awesome, I have absolutely no doubt, because God is IN this. So grateful for you, my friend.

  • http://tuningmyhearttopraise.blogspot.com/ ro elliott

    kris…I think you are positioned right where you need to be…standing strong in Him while at the same time you are all weak and jelloey ( is that a word??) in the legs. I think it is a perfect combination. And if you cry a river…sometimes torrents are what clears the path so the river…Spirit can flow. It’s the kind of retreat that truly appeals to me. Press on in Christ…He will meet you all…no matter what you eat or how smooth is goes. God came to a stable…he comes where there is room!!!

    • http://kriscamealy.com/ Kris Camealy

      indeed Ro. I have decided that standing in faith doesn’t mean your knees don’t knock. I think that’s what it looks like. I wish you were going to be there, I would so love to hug you! You have long been a generous encourager to me–your gift does not go un-noticed, my friend. There’s plenty of room for God at Refine–He’s got the floor for the entire weekend. Looking forward to hearing what all he has to say. ;)

  • Anna K.

    Fear of rejection has been hot on my heels this week. Every single time I sit down to work on a certain art project, it rolls over me in waves. Which is, of course, ridiculous considering how divinely details have fallen in place (that rarely ever happens when someone commissions artwork, by the way). I see God at work right in front of my very eyes and I’m scared that I will get in the way somehow and distort His vision.

    And, yet.

    Here I am taking in another timely affirmation that He’s going to see this through. That HE, not me, is enough.

    Thank you, Kris.

    • http://kriscamealy.com/ Kris Camealy

      Anna,
      There’s no real way I can tell you how much I appreciate YOUR leap of faith. What I can tell you is that I have absolutely no doubt that what you are working on is completely inspired. God is guiding your hands and I believe that as you work He is revealing the vision to you as well. Every time I think about it I weep for His amazing, awe-inspiring pursuit of our hearts. He is using you, you have been chosen, commissioned for this work, as the artists who built the ark of the covanent were. You will produce the perfect work because God IS in this. I am praying for you to be encouraged, for your heart to rest in the truth, you are working alongside the Master, He will guide your hands.

    • http://kriscamealy.com/ Kris Camealy

      Thank you Amy for your encouragement and prayers. You’ve been there from the beginning. It’s He who stretches our faith, He who grows us by asking us to go a bit further and a bit further. And you’re right, I don’t think this is the end, I believe this is a doorway, just one small step towards the next stretching thing. Let’s do talk. I will text you.love to you, my friend.

  • Amy Hunt

    Oh the fears. And oh how He wants to be first. The faith that He produces in us is amazing. It happens through our obeying . . . our risk taking. It’s hard. It’s hard to put Him even before us. Usually especially before us and our comfort. But this, this is the soldiering on. It’s the persevering. It’s the true work He’s called us to do. And, I get you, you know that I do. I’m pursuing hope with you; for things far greater than we can even imagine. This is only the beginning, friend; you do know that, right? Because, there will be more of “risk” like this. You won’t get to the other side of this and say “whew, glad that happened” . . . you’ll just be pushed and nudged and prompted for more. Because your faith He wants to grow exponentially more. :-)

    (Let’s talk this week, okay? And let’s pray. Let’s get back to that.)

    {hugs} and truly, much love.

    • http://kriscamealy.com/ Kris Camealy

      Thank you Amy for your encouragement and prayers. You’ve been there from the beginning. It’s He who stretches our faith, He who grows us by asking us to go a bit further and a bit further. And you’re right, I don’t think this is the end, I believe this is a doorway, just one small step towards the next stretching thing. Let’s do talk. Today? I will text you.love to you, my friend.

  • http://www.christiepurifoy.com/ Christie Purifoy

    Cheering you on in your faithfulness! It is beautiful!

    • http://kriscamealy.com/ Kris Camealy

      Thank you, Christie. God write’s the greatest adventure stories, doesn’t He? Even if they are sometimes scary and difficult. Grateful for you!!

  • jill_richardson

    So cool. This weekend, God will work. It is my daughter’s dream to have an organic farming retreat center. I don’t know how she’ll accomplish this, but if God is in it, and if she’s willing to risk, she will. And she has good women as examples to follow!

    • http://kriscamealy.com/ Kris Camealy

      I pray your daughters dream is realized! Wow!

  • http://www.positivelyalene.com/ Positively Alene

    This is awesome girl! I so wish I could go. It’s been on my heart since the beginning. I know God is going to bless you immensely for stepping out, risking, but mostly for obeying. Love your inspiration!

    • http://kriscamealy.com/ Kris Camealy

      Alene, it’s been quite inspirational to watch your journey over the last 2 years. You inspire me, friend. WOW! God uses you in beautiful ways. Don’t ever doubt it.

  • Deb Anderson Weaver

    Wow. Thank you for sharing your heart and story about the Refine retreat. I have come late to this blog so I didn’t know any of this. I am a lover of retreat. (((HUGS))) and a cheer for your obedience.

    • http://kriscamealy.com/ Kris Camealy

      It’s not too late Deb! There are still a couple of open spots for Refine ;) God bless you!!

  • http://www.whataredaysfor.blogspot.co.uk/ Emma

    “I ignored him” – that made me laugh – I so get that. So get the river of tears too – I’m exactly the same – in fact there is usually a torrent right up until I pay attention to his nudges and do it anyway – then the dams really break! Refine is going to be awesome, I have no doubt it will bless you and everyone else who is there tremendously. Praying for you as you continue to wait on Him while planning – cheering you on in your risk taking.

    • http://kriscamealy.com/ Kris Camealy

      Emma, how I wish you could skip across the pond and come for a visit! Thank you for your generous encouragement, sweet friend. I have continually marveled at the way god brought us into each others lives, in spite of the distance! God bless you–

  • Margo

    I have wanted to attend this retreat from the beginning…but finances and travel will not allow. And I’m so very sad about it! But! It looks so exciting…I will view it through your blogs!! Your fear is understandable…but great things come from those who fear but follow Him anyway! Look at Esther! He will do great things in this!! And please, next time, come to Arizona! I’d so love to attend a retreat for my soul!!! XOXO

    • http://kriscamealy.com/ Kris Camealy

      Thanks for your encouragement Margo. Your words are a gift.

  • Julie Reynolds

    I am so sad that I can’t attend. I hope and pray that this will be just the first of many REFINE retreats in the coming years. I love you friend, it is my great pleasure to pray for you. Thank you for walking this walk with me, it makes the risk taking so much easier.

    • http://kriscamealy.com/ Kris Camealy

      I am sad that you will miss it too, Julie. But God knows and you will be where you are supposed to be. I am BEYOND grateful for how you have held my hand through this, prayed for me, and encouraged me, way back in May when this whole crazy thing started. YOU are a gift. Absolute gift.

  • Amy L. Sullivan

    Okay, first of all, I can’t tell you how brave I think you are to plan an entire RETREAT! Geesh, and to write a workbook? Wowzers again. So, I’ve alway, always been intrigued by silent retreats. Sometimes when life gets too, too much, I envision myself at a monastery where I am forced not to speak. Ha! How much would we learn. It’s a little scary to envision what would unfold, yes? Scary in a good way. I hope you continue to share stuff with us…especially behind the scenes stuff because I am so throughly nosey.

    • http://kriscamealy.com/ Kris Camealy

      Amy, I still fantasize about a silent retreat, and someday, I will go on one. Refine won’t be quite as “silent” but there will be an abundance of space and plenty of hushed time for us to listen to God. I’ll do my best to keep you posted. –Oh, and thanks for fixing my link! OOPS! :P

  • Amy L. Sullivan

    ps your link from my place wasn’t working so I fixed it!

  • http://www.elizabethingersoll.blogspot.com/ Beth Ingersoll

    Brave and bold and risky–I love it! #RiskRejection

    • http://kriscamealy.com/ Kris Camealy

      Thanks, Beth!

  • http://ashliewrites.com/ Ashlie

    If I am honest rejection has been a fear that has taunted me since childhood. Your bold faith brings a call to the rest of us to do the same. Your raw honesty with the wrestling that goes along with it gives the rest of us hope that we aren’t crazy! THANK YOU for that gift of a peek into a servant’s heart! Made me all sobby, encouraged, and INSPIRED all at once. :)

    Such a beautiful, mysterious, exciting story is being woven here!! It feels like the anticipation of a long-awaited gift. We get clues, but we won’t actually know the feel of it in our hands, the colors, and the smells until the day arrives and the gift can be torn open. I think God likes to keep us guessing and in anticipation of His goodness. I know I like to do that with my kids! ;) We are excited because we can be assured every gift He brings is GOOD and better than we expected. You KNOW I’m so, so excited for this retreat – God has marked it His, and I seriously cannot wait to see how it unfolds. He is in it, that is all that matters. I love that THAT is the only way you will do it at all – all for Him, by Him. You will be blessed for your radical faith and obedience. LOVE you!!! xoxoxo

  • http://ashliewrites.com/ Ashlie

    p.s. I tend to cry a river when the Holy Spirit moves, too. I’m sure you’ll be in good company :)

  • http://richfaithrising.blogspot.com/ Jen

    Kris – I just love your writing! Isn’t that just like God…always taking us just a. little. bit. farther than we can go ourselves!? Looking forward to following God’s work in and through you as you walk where He leads you!

  • Susan Nowell @ My Place to You

    Planning a retreat is a big deal, so God must have some big plans ahead! Remember that even when the inevitable little glitches happen. :-) I’m praying for you and the ladies who will attend right now…

  • Leslie

    Planning a whole retreat?!? Wow! What an exciting time. I can’t wait to see what happens when we keep taking risks!

  • Sharita ~7DaysTime

    That it TOO COOL, Kris. Totally, totally love it. Will be praying for this retreat and that God will move in mighty and powerful ways (not like he isn’t already doing that.)