“Last week I attended an Executive Men’s Retreat at Sparkling Hill near Vernon. Steve Klassen (Director of the MARK Centre) and Paul Young (Author of The Shack) were the facilitators for a group of 10 business leaders. To say the retreat experience was freeing would be an understatement. The day after it I woke up feeling “lighter.” The peace that I had been trying so hard to find, seemed to be here.
The theme of making space for God was central to the retreat. One morning we enjoyed an hour solo time that turned out to be a significant moment for me. I remember Paul saying, “Where there is LOVE, there is no fear…” During my solo time I realized how frequently fear has motivated me. I decided to write out 6 or 7 things that I am afraid of. As I sat in the silence looking at the list, I heard – “Let’s go play.” It was a surprising invitation that cut through my fear in a very unexpected way. Instead of a strategy to overcome my fears, an intimate invitation came to me, “Let’s go play.”
On the 2nd day I was walking back to my room from breakfast when I heard “the work is finished.” I realized then that I do not need to work any more on “fixing me.” God loves me exactly the way I am. I can work at being more aware of his presence, on changing habits and nurturing spiritual practices, but if the work is finished, then I can rest. I don’t need to work at fixing my heart, because it is good.
I am thankful I “made space” to hear, see and feel God’s presence. It was helpful to be around Paul who has a real personal understanding of living in “the grace of today” and the joy that brings. Steve lives a life of “making space” for God and when I am around him he has a way of quietly encouraging me to do the same.
I’m grateful to Steve and Paul for helping me create space to experience God’s love. I came on the retreat not expecting anything, but God was inviting, loving, was not ashamed of me, he gazed at me with his love and acceptance saying, “Let’s go play.”
~ Mark DuMerton, participant
(Mark shared with the men at the retreat that the picture of him playing with his grandchildren was a helpful image in understanding God’s invitation of “Let’s go play”)