For those of you who have never heard of “Big Event” its basically a yearly InterVarsity retreat in which college students have the opportunity to register for different tracks to learn about God with people from different colleges in small groups. Small groups are normally…small groups of people, I know who would have thought that’s what it meant? Please bear with me as I write this post, I realize that for those of you who have never heard of Big Event everything I’m saying will sound really odd to you.
Well this was my second year in InterVarsity and because I got involved from the get go, it was my second time at Big Event. The previous year I had the opportunity to go to both Big Event and Basielia (InterVarsity’s second retreat which is longer and holds less schools). Before going I remember everyone telling me I would love it so much that I would have so much fun and that it would change everything. In all honesty leaving both Big Event and Basielia my freshman year I definitely did change a lot but those retreats felt bland for me. I was watching everyone else doing all these amazing things and even though I did benefit, I wasn’t enjoying things on the same level as other people. In fact there were times during Baseila that I just felt sad and confused because I wasn’t sure why I was feeling the way I felt. I never shared this with anyone in my chapter because I didn’t want to be the person to bring other people down. So I plastered a smile on my face and focused on everything that was actually good that was going in during the retreat.
My mentality was so off for those two retreats. I literally walked into Big Event knowing everything everyone had said about it in the past and felt entitled to an amazing experience because I payed money. I wasn’t excited and I expected other people to make me excited. It was because I knew something was wrong that I refused to approach Big Event this year the same way I approached Big Event all other times in the past.
Before registering for Big Event I was asked along with some other people in my chapter to register for the leadership track. That was something I really didn’t want to do, I wish I could explain just how much I didn’t want to do it. In fact I guess I can explain it to you right now. Registering for that track scared me and intimidated me because I didn’t feel as though I was good enough for it. So I told my exec team I would register for it and purposely waited until the track was closed to beg my mom for permission to register for Big Event. I had technically asked her back when leadership was open but because I didn’t want to go for that track I asked in a way that I knew she wouldn’t be happy or say yes. It was only when I really needed to register that she said yes. And by then I looked at the mess I made for myself and was actually kind of sad but at the same time incredibly happy. Happy because I made a promise in my mind that I would get the most out of my track this year. The track I registered for was Transformation or Foundations and mistakenly registering for it may have been the best decision I ever made for so many reasons.
Growing up in church I felt as though I knew God because I gave him my 3 hours once a week. I had my idea in my head of what God was to me and I was satisfied putting him into a box. For so long I felt as though I was trying to build a roof to this house while my foundations were crumbling beneath me. I needed to be sure that I knew exactly who the God I was serving actually was. Being honest with you again, I had it all so wrong.
During my retreat I realized that I wasn’t the only person who felt the same way about retreats in the past. I wasn’t the only person who felt like I was really missing something important. But somehow it took me going to Baseilia and feeling so sad to know that I couldn’t keep going on my walk with God the same way I had always done so. I really needed to change the way I approached God in my life and I needed to learn to put him first. I realized that if I had opened up earlier I would have saved so much heartache and even sympathized and grown with someone else who was going through what I was going through. We eventually did get to sympathize with one another but only at this year’s Big Event! Funny how things work out right?
I was also struggling with vulnerability. Most of the time I feel like people are afraid to open up and that this is why they cannot grow. My problem was that I felt as though I was being too vulnerable with too many people. I grew up in a house where my mom would sit down with me everyday and ask me to open up to her about my feelings, that was the way I was raised to act. And I felt like there was something wrong with me because it seemed like no one else felt the same way about opening up as me. What I realized for myself this was past weekend was that I needed to be vulnerable. I really needed to be open and honest about my feelings with the people in my life. Because I’d rather have a bunch of people know this mangled, messed up and growing mess of a person that I am that is not perfect than to have a bunch of people know me on such a superficial level that they don’t actually know who I am. But that’s just me. Maybe I’ll change my mind about this 10 years from now but if I ever did I would need to stop blogging. I would need to stop blogging because my soul is kind of sprawled out on all of these posts that literally anyone could pick up and read. I’m okay with that though. Because I know I am not the only person who feels the way that I feel.
Big Event this year was amazing. It was absolutely amazing and so much more than I thought it would be. But it also wasn’t easy. I left Big Event feeling great but also knowing that the real work starts now with my relationship with God and even my relationships with people. I realized somehow that I didn’t understand what it meant to love people the way God loves us, or even how to love God the way he loves me. I know that I am so flawed and I know that I have so much to learn but now I am ready to learn more about God than ever before.