Monday, October 28, 2013

Retreat Week Day 1: Personal Retreat

This week I am going to share about various kinds of retreats that I seek to participate on an annual (if not more frequent) basis. Some pertain to personal and familial health and growth, and others are ministry-specific.

Day 1: Personal Retreat

Purpose: To get away and allow space for God to minister to my interior person.

A few weeks ago, after a long (and candidly, physically and emotionally draining summer), I recognized I needed a Southwest moment. I needed to get away. So, on a Tuesday morning Adriana drove me out to the eastern end of Long Island and dropped me off at a friend's cottage with my bike, some groceries, and a backpack with nothing more than a couple of changes of clothes, my Bible, The Divine Hours by Phyllis Tickle (a book of prayers), The Wounded Healer by Henri Nouwen, The Imitation of Christ by Thomas a Kempis, and my journal. No computer!

I spent three days simply relaxing, praying, reading, journaling, and enjoying nature. I went kayaking in the bay, collected sea shells, watched an Osprey catch and eat a fish, biked, and went swimming. I truly felt God's presence as I quieted my heart and listened to His still, small voice. He spoke words of life into my heart and brought much-needed healing and restoration to my soul.

Leading a healthy family and a healthy ministry starts with a healthy individual. A healthy me is centered in God. A healthy me means embracing spiritual disciplines - including the practice of solitude - which keep me connected to Christ. When I create space in my life to get away and be alone with God He heals my heart and forms (and re-forms) me for His service.

How about you? When was the last time you had some dedicated alone-time with God? I'm not talking about daily quiet time (although valuable and important). I'm talking about getting away for an afternoon, a day, a few days - simply to breathe in God's presence.

What are the challenges to practicing personal retreat?

What can you do to build the rhythm of personal retreat into your life?

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