Our retreat cabin sat on a hill overlooking this horse ranch and the ocean beyond.
I went on a ladies retreat. It was a much needed retreat from the daily grind, and I really enjoyed the break from Susanna and house. I missed her just the right amount.
But I had high expectations for the spiritual side of the retreat. I was longing for a mountaintop experience.
Here’s what I learned: the mountaintop looks a lot different these days. When I was a teenager, every new truth I learned about God that required a change in me was a joyful experience. I want to be clear: there were many times when I realized that my beliefs did not line up with scripture, and I often joyfully repented, submitted, and changed. I walked the ways of the world, so after I put my trust in Jesus Christ alone for salvation, for abundant life, my perspectives on marriage, relationships, the sanctity of life, purity, wisdom and the meaning of life all did a 180. And I loved to worship God, so I made my way to the mountaintop often, seeking those transforming moments.
But things have changed. The repentance that is required of me usually follows guilt and shame, because my sins hurt other people. God is so gracious to me, though. And I am thankful for these moments because I realized this weekend that I have the power and the desire (because of the Holy Spirit in me) to kill the sin in my life. I rarely feel the emotional highs that I did as a new believer (and a teenager), but I also didn’t have the will or ability to harness the power to conquer the little sins that the Bible warns will cause destruction.
The mountaintop is a joy today because I can choose to stay there as long as I want. To conquer perpetual sins, I must depend on God; to depend on Him, I must spend time with Him; to spend time with Him is to be on the mountaintop. Ancient Rabbis believed that losing one’s temper meant losing the shekinah, and they had a saying, “nothing is worth risking the shekinah!”* As long as I have God’s Glory resting upon me, I believe I am on the mountaintop.
*Learned that from a video session during Beth Moore’s study of James.
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