For as long as I can remember I have been very good at hiding. This ability has assisted me in being able to put up walls around the most vulnerable parts of me, to pretend that everything in my life is fine and I am perfectly okay. The thing is, I wasn’t okay at all- my life had become completely dedicated to hiding who I really was and somewhere along the way I completely lost sight of who I actually am.
The worst part about it was that I wasn’t just hiding from the people around me, I was hiding from God too; I had wrapped myself from head to toe in a blanket of lies and slowly, but surely, I was suffocating and I couldn’t help, but wonder…how could God love me? How could I even be worthy of God’s love if I don’t even like the person I’ve become?
However, recently, I was given the opportunity to take a step forward in not only accepting who I am, but to become the person God made me to be, and “rise and shine” from the never ending sleep I had been in, at Venire Retreat 2016: Arise.
Arise! Shine; for your light has come and the glory of the lord rises upon you
Venire is quite possibly one of my favourite places in the world. It has always been there for me when I needed it the most, but on this particular week- retreat week- all I wanted to do was go home and sleep. I had spent 11 long, draining school weeks dragging myself to school and plastering a smile on my face, despite any anxiety or bad moods- basically, I didn’t want to go, I didn’t want to listen to people who would make me think about myself or make me come face to face with God…
I didn’t want God to see how broken I was. But the light that shone from the incredible Venire community was powerful and with each minute that passed, I longed even more to be a part of it. Everyone was so kind and accepting and I was continually reminded of how much God loves me; of how God does not make dirt; and how I am enough.
“We were made from dust, but we were not made to be dust,” was a quote that really resonated with me throughout the retreat. I couldn’t stop saying it to myself over and over again and the more I thought about it a warmth continued to spread through my entire body- from my chest outward.
Every bone in my body was almost screaming at me to start fighting for my faith, I felt as though God was calling me to not just live, but to awaken from the sleep I was in, I felt God calling me to arise and for the first time in my life, I wasn’t afraid. I wasn’t afraid to come out of hiding and fully give myself over to God. In praise and worship that night, I didn’t hide from Jesus, I stood before him and shined.
You are the salt of the earth”
Stay Salty- Read, Listen, Pray, Serve, love, SHINE
Throughout retreat, not once did feel like an outsider, I didn’t feel awkward or weird- I felt a sense of belonging. I felt alive. I was able to have meaningful conversations with people my age and build lasting friendships. I could almost feel my heart multiplying in size and my love for God growing stronger.
Now I feel like I am a completely different person. I’m ready to stop hiding and not just let God’s light shine on me, but through me. I made a decision before coming home that I would never give up fighting for God, because he has never given up on me and I Know that I will continue to rise.
This blog originally appeared on Venire Youth’s website www.venireyouth.com
Diahann Pasquill is in grade 10 at Benowa State High School. She was recently confirmed and accepted into the Catholic Church. She has been attending Venire for 2 years and has just come back from the Venire annual retreat.