I regularly have the honor at speaking at all sorts of gatherings. Some of those gatherings are retreats. Retreats are places where we go to, you know, retreat. We deliberately flee the “normal” life so that we can engage parts of God, ourselves, and, sometimes, others in a manner that so often gets pushed aside.
But you know all that.
Shepherd, Retreat Thyself
This week I am flying a short flight to a small retreat gathering. This time I will not be leading. I will be receiving. I am allowing someone else to lead me in retreat. The past 3 months have been profoundly demanding, rich, joyful, exhausting – good all around. But now I need some time to recalibrate, recenter, reorient. I need to hear from my Father for a couple of days.
Years ago, over time and error, I was taught to not head into these times of solitude or special gatherings with too strict of expectation. It’s nice when there is some major breakthrough experienced. But that is usually not the case. I have no doubt the Spirit has an agenda for me. I will wait and see what that might be. I have learned that the time away is usually less than climactic. But the quiet work God does in me has a long-range effect in my soul for months afterward. For example, my last sabbatical was 2 1/2 years ago. The ripple-effect rings from that time are still felt across the pond of my soul and in the work I offer to others.
When is Your Next Scheduled Retreat?
My desire is to have at least one scheduled event a year where I am not responsible for any ministry to others. It is a designated time and place where I go and allow others to teach me, guide me, counsel me, direct me.
Be encouraged to budget for this sort of retreat – both money and time. I am encouraged to see more and more retreat places and events developing on every continent.
When is your next scheduled retreat? May the effects overflow in your own communion with God, and eventually to others.