How I Rejuvenated My Soul With 40 Strangers (& 5 Ways You Can Do The Same)

Before 2017 began, I committed to say, “Yes!” to experiences of rest and soul-rejuvenation. I needed it (for about a million reasons) and that kind of re-charge doesn’t happen by accident. It happens with intention, purpose, and some perceived inconvenience. This commitment lead David and I away for 6 days of do-nothing rest. The kind of trip where you barely speak for the first 3 days because it takes that long to unplug. It’s called me to find and create quiet moments at the end of jamb-packed days to pray and reflect. It’s inspired me to separate from my phone and social media more often. And then it lead me to make a 5-and-a-half-hour drive to Fredericksburg, Texas where I spent 4 days with 40 women I’d never met.

Camp Well is kind of like a grown-up version of summer camp for women who are “dreamers and doers.” The calendar said I didn’t have time. The voices in my head told me it would be a huge inconvenience for my family. But the quiet voice of wisdom and truth said I needed to go. So I went.

Though I did not know a single soul, I was invited to a sacred space of fellowship and friendship to learn and to pray big prayers, to listen and to rest, and to be inspired by women from all over the country who are on the front lines of some amazing things. It’s been several weeks since Camp Well, and I couldn’t bring myself to articulate what happened there until now. I think God is still working on all that started in me. It’s as if He breathed life into the weariest places of my soul, and resurrected dreams I thought were long forgotten.

While I highly recommend all my “dreamer and doer” friends go to Camp Well, I understand it may not be possible. Before you tune me out, know there are...

5 things about this experience you absolutely can re-create as you find your own soul-rejuvenation opportunity:

  1. I stepped out of the day-to-day. You can’t find new perspective while buried in the same routine. I’m guilty of planning a day off only to fill it with to-do’s and household projects. I stepped away from the meetings, the email, the deadlines, and the diaper changes by physically putting myself in a different space for an extended period of time. Even if you don’t have days, several hours might be a great place to start.
  2. I went somewhere beautiful. Beauty speaks to the deep places of our souls. God designed it that way. Whether it’s a park, a trail, a beach, or a museum, find a beautiful place and stay there a while.
  3. I unplugged. I didn't take work with me, and I didn’t keep up with the news or social media. It all seems so urgent, but it’s just really not. I gave myself permission to be fully present.
  4. I had meaningful conversations. I wouldn’t naturally put myself in a place with 40 strangers, but I found tremendous encouragement hearing their stories and sharing challenges. We asked hard questions, dreamed together, and really listened. Their passion and bravery were contagious. It’s vital to connect with those further in the journey, and those who are truly for you - who celebrate your dreams and challenge you to be more. Find those people and spend time with them.
  5. I did something hard. Friend, neither of us are surprised I’m not the hiking type. I’ve hiked Enchanted Rock a few times before, but I wasn’t overly enthusiastic about it being on the schedule. I’m struggling to make exercise a normal thing, and I wasn’t thrilled about all the huffing and puffing I'd be doing in front of 40 strangers. But adventure calls out something in us - maybe because we need to be reminded we can do hard things. It makes us feel alive and forces us to breathe deeply. And talk about a perspective change - the view from the top was magnificent. The climb was worth it.

I used to say stupid things like, “I’ll reset when I die.” Every excuse under heaven kept me from being truly still. But as it turns out, the small investment of time for soul-rejuvenation produces exponential returns: I’m stronger, more focused, more creative, and more grounded. I’m a better mother and leader, and I’m more apt to listen to what God is trying to tell me rather than being the one doing all the talking.

Joint he conversation by commenting below: Where do you find beauty that speaks to you? Who are the people who make you better and where do you connect with them?

Photos are by Claire McCormack!