For me, Tennessee Episcopal Cursillo #73 produced the kind of radical transformation Christians hope for but are often too scared to really expect. For my non-Episcopalian friends, Cursillo is a short course in Christian leadership. You arrive on Thursday evening and spend the next three days listening to and discussing talks from clergy and lay leaders. Every day, you celebrate the Eucharist, sing praise hymns, and pray together. You are immersed in the love of your brothers and sisters in Christ.
When I went up the mountain for Cursillo, I was an empty shell. I had achieved everything I set out to achieve, but I was unsatisfied. I was the youth minister at my church but felt distanced from God. I had a wonderful husband and home but felt alone.
The person who came down that mountain was not the same woman. I came down the mountain connected to God in tangible ways and felt his presence in everything around me. I wanted to surround myself with people doing God’s work in the work and live my life more intentionally. I realized on that mountain that I had been living my life according to the expectations of others rather the plan God had for me.
The Holy Spirit guided that weekend, and the transformation that followed. Since that weekend, every aspect of my life has experienced radical transformation. My marriage has deepened and strengthened. My husband has retired. I have a different job. I live in a different place. I attend a different church. Most importantly, my heart is filled with gratitude and joy.
What I found on that mountain could only be found in prayer in a place surrounded by people who understood that when Christians gather together, God shows up and miracles happen. Maybe not burning bush kinds of miracles, but certainly life-altering miracles that open hearts and minds, changing lives. I experienced the Kingdom of Heaven here on earth and left determined to bring that where ever I went. I experienced the joy of doing God’s will and left determined to do God’s work in the world.
In addition to the major changes, my day-today life has experienced radical transformation. I work every day to remain focused solely on what’s in front of me. At the end of the day, I review my Bullet Journal to make a to-do list for tomorrow. I review that list in the morning, but during the day, I only look at the list when I’ve completed the task at hand. I don’t focus on the future or the past but instead only on the present.
I begin and end every day with prayer. It is literally the first and last thing I do. I also make time for prayer and Bible study at various points during the day to help keep my focus on what matters.
I’m still a work in progress, as is my life. I have bad days where it’s all I can do to get through the day, where my faith is non-existent. But the main focus of my life is God, which offers rewards so much greater than anything we could imagine for ourselves and sustains us even when we can’t sustain ourselves.
Have you ever experienced radical transformation?