Labor Day Retreat 2009 – My Thoughts

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So I got back from the 2009 Labor Day Retreat yesterday after a nice long 11 hour drive, which normally should have been no more than 6 hours. All day I’ve been asked by friends what I thought, what I got out of it, what was my favorite part etc. They all want to know what I thought about a conference on Datability.

My thought, it was A-MAZE-ING!

It’s funny to think that a bunch of christian singles would be willing to show up at the beach for 3 days to talk about dating. That is exactly what happened though and not only did they show up, they showed off.

Almost 600 people showed up to find out what this whole datability thing was all about. We attended breakout sessions on sex & purity, honesty, self awareness and more. We had main session which challenged us to change how we viewed dating, how we viewed ourselves, and how we viewed those around us. We had speakers talk candidly about their past and showed us, that these amazing people of God, were no better than us and at one point had been just as messed up and broken.

I laughed, I cried, I sang, I worshiped, I tanned, I played, I talked, I learned, I taught. I did so much in 3 days that honestly my brain is still spinning from everything. I tried to sit down tonight to talk to a friend about my experiences and I either babbled on about oneness or sat there in silence not having a clue how to word what was in my head.

But it wasn’t just the content it was the people.

I got to ride down with a guy I barley knew and by the time we got to Destin I felt like this guy was a brother, not just in Christ but in life.

I volunteered on the host team and was blessed to be paired up with an amazing guy the first night and continued to volunteer with him throughout the weekend, until he forgot his duties on the last night :-). I worked alongside some amazing sister in Christ who were both beautiful on the outside but so much more on the inside.

I got to see a new side of a friend I’ve known for a few months, which I never had the opportunity to see before. We spent hours sitting outside watching the rain and just talking about life, struggles, hopes, dreams and our pasts. We invited others to sit down with us and continued to talk about these deeply personal issues without balking or batting an eye.

I was able to reconnect with friends I haven’t seen since my early days of Buckhead church and introduce them to some of my current crew.

I saw a buddy of mine who a year ago was looking to me for guidance become that same person to someone else who needed it. We prayed and hugged and laughed so much during the weekend that you’d think we had known each other for 18 years, not 18 months.

I saw people whom I’d never expect to be broken, crushed under the weight of their reality only to be lifted high with the grace, forgiveness, and mercy of Jesus. I saw these same people walk around with a new light, a new purpose and a heart which could scare away the evilest of people.

I had conversations on Sunday I thought I could only have at Starbucks. I had them during lunch on the patio, while waiting to serve on host team, after the service and more. Conversations about life and who I am everyday, talks about dating and the challenges we all face, realities of peoples perceptions and just how lost we all really are.

I walked around the entire resort never once battling my self confidence issues and after every session I felt myself becoming more and more assured of what I’m doing and who I am in Christ.

For the first time in my life I felt like I knew what I was doing and every communicator just affirmed this to me over and over again.

Finally I spent 11 hours driving home and while by the end it felt like 20 I got to spend it with two of the most amazing men in my life. We laughed and shared and challenged each other the whole way home.

So yea the weekend was amazing but really the future and what we gained from 3 days will continue to affect us, challenge us and lead us long after we’ve stopped dating. That to me is the MOST amazing part of the entire weekend, and something you can’t share with just words.

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