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  • Writer's pictureSue Bowles

Ragamuffin Follow Up

This is for all my new Ragamuffin friends. And for me. In reading all the posts and comments in our Ragamuffin Room we’re all struggling with ‘post retreat let down’ – or coming down the other side of the mountain. And that’s what it is….we had a mountain top experience. We had Ebenezer moments. But we have to come down. I think of Steven Curtis Chapman’s song from WAY back when…The Mountain.

And we’re all coming down. We may not want to but the challenge is keeping what we learned on the mountain alive and well in our lives. So we have to come down. Because life is lived in the in-betweens….in between the mountain tops, down the slopes, in the valleys, and back up the slopes. So the question – the challenge – is how do we keep hiking without losing our step or sliding down the slope to a hard crash? How do we not let the few cascading rocks bounce off our heads and knock us out? How do we live in the in betweens with this newfound freedom – or glimpse of hope – or encouragement – or whatever it was that happened between you and God while on the mountain?

There are no easy answers. It’s different for each of us. But I think the key is found in what we learned on retreat: Be reckless.

Remember – reckless faith isn’t about the scope of things….it’s about letting go of control and being obedient to whatever God has put in front of you….for that moment, with that person or group, for that day or season.

Be open. Be on the lookout for God. I loved the term ‘God hunt’ that Sprinkle used. Had never really heard it before. Go on a God hunt. Ask Him to show Himself to you in the little details of the day.

And most of all: Just be.

We all have squirrels or flies or dogs (as Jennifer Grashel put it) trying to redirect our thoughts. That’s life. Our challenge is applying all we learned – taking all God showed us – and figuring out – pounding it out – to apply it in our daily lives. Do we each have those 3 people in our lives to whom we’ve given permission to tell us we’re being jerks. Remember what Sprinkle said – without that, we’re in trouble. Guard yourself. Maybe that’s your first step….be reckless, let go of the fear and control, and ask God whom He would have you trust to that level. The Ragamuffin Room is great and needed and hopefully will be there for us for quite some time. It’s our safe place when no one else ‘gets it.’ It’s our sanctuary from the punches of the world that left us bruised before the retreat. It’s our healing balm application room.

But life isn’t lived in that room. Life is lived where God has put us….in our community…local and church. So be reckless. And that means loving that ‘aggravating thing called the church that Jesus Christ died for.’ Maybe that’s your first step of recklessness….not closing yourself off from a place that may have wounded you….being open to going back, or digging in deeper. Life is lived outside of our safe little Ragamuffin Room. We can come back there for a daily battery boost…but that battery is to keep us going places…wherever God would have us go. Whatever God would have us do.

So seek Him. He’ll find you. That’s the Ragamuffin Secret (I’ll pick that apart in my next post). But this is just really on my heart to share with you all.

And for those reading this who didn’t attend the retreat, there are a few things you can do to help us along the way:

  1. See the movie…then when we talk about the themes of it and how they apply to our lives it will help us feel like you ‘get it’ a little more.

  2. Go on a retreat …there’s one more in Texas and the registration deadline is FAST approaching. If they do more (and they don’t know right now)…go on one.

  3. Give us freedom to just be…to just sit in silence and not pressure us for an explanation; to babble on for what may seem like forever…because sometimes we need to just verbally process. Know that when we let you in that way – it’s a risk for us – it’s a step of being reckless for us – and it’s the greatest act of trust we can show. Treasure the moment and just BE with us. Don’t try to fix us. Just BE with us.

  4. Ask us how we’re doing….and wait for a REAL response. And if we can’t give on…..just know that’s OK. We’ll know more about you and your concern for us by your response and your ok-ness in not getting a neat and tidy answer. Because our lives are not neat and tidy. We’re just learning how to let the Master Ragamuffin do the cleaning.There’s probably more I could write but I think that’s a good jumping spot. We had a very tender special moment – a time set apart – a Kairos moment in time. Enjoy your trip down the mountain. Stop at the plateaus and take in the view. Watch for falling rocks and let Him protect you. And even in the valley….follow the flow of the water….it leads back to life. And know I’m here to join you along the way. 

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