I know. It’s been a while. Life just gets wacky and busy and drama-filled sometimes. And it gets mundane and non-eventful at other times. Just the normal ebb and flow I suppose.
But I did manage to schedule a personal retreat this past weekend.
Oh, you’ve never been on one? Well they are just about my favorite thing to do. Not at all like the crazy youth group retreats we used to go on, where there was little retreating and lots of activities, devotions on dating and relationships, games and food. And a personal retreat is also nothing like those church women’s retreats where we sit around sipping coffee by a fireplace and talking about our emotions, or gathering in an arena to sing praise songs with 10,000 other ladies.
Nope, a personal retreat is just that. Personal. Nobody else but me and God.
Once I decide it’s time for one, I’ll find myself a nice hotel. It doesn’t need to be expensive (Groupons help!), but it does need to have a good view, a desk and a comfy chair. And it needs to be quiet. My retreat this weekend was almost derailed by a rowdy wedding going on in the ballroom on the 4th floor. I was on the 5th. This did not make me happy. Thank goodness for Carlos the very helpful desk clerk, who felt my pain and moved me to the 7th floor. I told him I was there to work on something and needed quiet. He probably thought I was writing a novel or putting together a business deal. I decided it was better not to tell him I was there to meet God. He might have given me a room with no window or balcony – or at least one on the first floor.
So there in the delightful quietness of Room 719, I retreated. Even though I live alone, I still need to retreat – retreat from the distractions, the busyness, the things I need to do. And from Netflix, which I have recently discovered and wondered how I lived without.
God and I had a good time. I only had my Bible and my journal. So I read some, wrote some and talked some. I didn’t have an agenda, really. I talked to God about things I needed clarity on, questions I needed (or thought I needed) answered, friends and family with special needs in their lives and other things that were weighing on my mind. Really, though, I just needed to know I was on the right path.
I woke up the next morning and continued chatting with God. And because of the time change in this part of the world, I even had an extra hour. Bonus! And because it was a Sunday, I didn’t just go home after checking out. I went to church. What a great way to end.
I can’t recommend these personal retreats enough. There may be some who can’t imagine spending that much time alone, or that much time with just God. It’s something I’ve gotten better at and something I truly look forward to. I’m not married, but I know that couples need to get away alone every once in a while to re-group, to seek clarity, to be free of the distractions that can pull them apart. And the same holds true for our relationship with God. We can walk with Him on a daily basis, have our devotion time, pray and go to church. But it’s the distraction-free, quiet and alone times that bring us closer.
Can’t afford the time or money to go away? No problem. Mini-retreats are great, too. Have a cup of coffee with God. Go for a ride in the car with Him. Hike a trail with Him. The goal is to be alone without other things vying for your attention. A hotel is just my way of doing it. Develop your own way to retreat.
And God will meet you there.
Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. James 4:8
But it is good for me to draw near to God; I have put my trust in the Lord GOD. Psalm 73:28
In returning and rest you shall be saved; In quietness and confidence shall be your strength. Isaiah 30:15
Then they are glad because they are quiet; So He guides them to their desired haven. Psalm 107:30
But from there you will seek the LORD your God, and you will find Him if you seek Him with all your heart and with all your soul. Deuteronomy 4:29