This weekend I had the wonderful opportunity and privilege to attend a retreat with my church. We arranged in advance for my mom to request some time off from work so she could watch the boys for us. The retreat was from Friday afternoon to Sunday afternoon. We left Saturday at 3 pm and arrived home on Sunday at 3 pm. We traveled a few hours away to a mountainous area and had truly such an amazing time! I feel like we encountered God in a powerful way, experienced a time of rest, and were refreshed.
It was so nice being away from our normal responsibilities, from the tots, and from everything that demands our everyday attention. I missed the boys like CRAZY, but I firmly believe that happy parents equals healthy parents. This was such an essential time for us. It’s for this very reason that I believe it’s so important to take the time once in awhile to RETREAT. This can mean actually going away on a formal retreat or it can mean taking time to retreat from all of the demands and be still. Here are some reasons I think it’s essential:
- You need rest.
Jesus himself said,
“Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.” -Matthew 11:28-30 NLT
I don’t know about you, but there are so many times where I am going and going. Sometimes I am going on empty! If I’m not rested, spiritually, physically, and emotionally than I have absolutely NOTHING to offer other people. If my life is to serve others, I need to do it at my best. So do it. Don’t be afraid to rest. Don’t be afraid to make the time to rest. Carve it into your busy life. It’s essential. If you can actually go away, I highly recommend it. If it means planning for a sitter months in advance, working something out with your job, I can promise you taking a few days to go on a retreat is well worth it. It’s worth the sacrifice of time.
2. It’s important to be still in a world that encourages constant motion and busyness.
“Be still, and know that I am God! I will be honored by every nation. I will be honored throughout the world.” -Psalms 46:10 NLT
“Be still in the presence of the LORD, and wait patiently for him to act…” -Psalms 37:7 NLT
Contrary to what the world screams in our faces, God whispers to us “Be still.” I take that as figurative AND literal. As in literally, BE STILL. It’s like if God is saying, “Would you just stop for a second? Could you stop for a moment and acknowledge who I am? Can you be still in my presence?”
This is God we are talking about. The answer is, or should be, yes. Stillness may cost us something. It might cost us our favorite television shows, our outings with our girlfriends, our “me” time. But we have everything to gain from stillness. Everything.
3. You will feel refreshed and encouraged.
One of the things I gained most from our retreat was feeling refreshed. Coming back from it, I felt like I could take on the world. After all, I had spent the weekend immersed in powerful teachings, worship, and His word without distractions.
I was encouraged by my leaders in so many ways. I was able to share some of my dreams that I hope to accomplish this year and what encouraged me the most was how much they believed in me. My Pastor’s wife especially. After I spoke with her, I felt like I could pretty much take over the world! I normally don’t have the opportunity to talk as much with the people at my church because I’m always rushing out on Sundays for the boys naps. I had such a great time.
Overall, if you think you can find a way to make it happen, I encourage you to find a way to go on a retreat! This can be a church retreat or simply a retreat where you have time alone with yourself or your spouse. Time to think, time to meditate, time alone. Time.