For the last 11 years I have grown to cherish my commitment to an annual silent weekend retreat. But, I wasn’t always crazy about going.
My first exposure to the silence made my skin crawl. My first conference had a three-hour Friday night mini silent retreat component. But now I believe the retreats are saving my life.
Without exception, in the silence the Holy Spirit gives me a truth I was blind to about myself and my behavior. I leave renewed with tools and the strength for a course correction.
What’s the big deal?
Think of it like a spiritual chiropractic adjustment.
Once to save money, I tried to extend the time between getting a chiropractic adjustment for my elevated hip. By the sixth month I woke up in so much pain in my hip and low back that I could hardly get out of bed. I ended up crawling back to Dr. Spoonhour for relief, paying for extra sessions to get everything back into alignment.
But spiritual neglect can have worse effects, which is why you might lose a hand, or other body part, if you try to keep me from my annual renewal.
Ignatius Retreats take the participants from a series of structured meditations. Several of the early ones being around sin. The priest had us meditate on our own attachments to our sins. He directed us to explore if we had created idols—people, places, and things— in our life that we put above God.
It smacked me in the face from out of the blue. I was guilty of idolizing my business.
It certainly was understandable. This has been an intense year. My dad passed away this summer suddenly. We shared a mental health practice, including the bills. So, in addition to grieving I was scurrying into serious action to make the numbers work with the therapy practice, on top of keeping my focus with the growing coaching business.
Okay, we all have challenges where we have to turn up the heat at work. That doesn’t necessary mean we are making our businesses idols.
Here are the signs that I was worshiping the fatted calf of my own entrepreneurial enterprise:
Working on Sundays – Weekly planning is probably okay. But, other work activities had infiltrated my Lord’s day. Carving out a couple hours in the evening to finish a work project, checking emails while watching a football game with the family were bleeding into my day of rest. The remedy here is to plan well, be focused when you do work, and let go of what doesn’t get done at the moment.
Not Getting Enough Sleep – I kept kidding myself that 7 hours a sleep was enough. It was the amount of time I felt I could devote to sleep and still get what I thought I needed to get done. Left to its own devices my body made it clear I’m an 8-hour-per-night gal.
Believing God gives me 26 hours of things to do to fit in 24 hours demonstrates a lack of trust and belief in his loving care for me. Sacrificing my health for the to-do list disrespects the Temple of the Holy Spirit God created me to be. Taking care of your health first shows your faith in God and demonstrates your trust in his plan.
Robbing from Peter to Pay Paul – Overwork would bleed the energy I would use to invest in relationships with family and friends. I was stealing the attention that rightfully belonged to my loved ones. The key is to create realistic schedules that you stick to so you are not setting yourself up to fail in either area.
Confusion Who Your Savior Is – In addition to personal satisfaction, I saw my business success as critical to offset disorder going on in my home. But, my error was in seeing the business, not God, as the solutions to my problems.
Seeing my business as my solution gave me control and false security. Sometimes awareness of our mistake seeing the business as the salvation and consciously shifting it to God where it belongs does the trick.
Just like catching cancer early to increase your chances of survival, so does pulling the weeds of idolatry before they overgrow your garden.
The Catholic Women Entrepreneurs Biz and Life Tip: Spend an hour this week in prayer or in Perpetual Adoration, asking God to enlighten you about any spiritual corrections you need to make in how you approach your business.