Thursday, May 16, 2013

The Gift of Retreat-ing

'One has only to sit down in the woods or the fields, or by the shore of the river or the lake, and nearly everything of interest will come round to him ...'
- Burroughs


There is an art to retreat-ing. 

No, no ... not those good-time weekend events jammed to the gills with fellowship and teaching and non-stop activity.  Or those huge conferences with thousands of attendees, the schedule packed with seemingly endless seminars and meetings from dawn til midnight that leave us wiped out and exhausted and wishing we had just simply stayed home.

I'm talking about removing ourselves from life's mainstream, the endless hustle, the craziness that defines schedules and fills every last little square on great big calendars.  To come apart, to set ourselves apart. 

Before we fall apart.

I love that Jesus showed us how to do this.  I can just picture Him hiking up a rugged mountainside to pray in the stillness that surrounded Him like a soft cocoon.  Or pushing offshore in a borrowed boat, heading to an abandoned cove where gentle waves soothed and cradled His weariness.  All while the throngs continued to gather, wanting to somehow grab ahold of a piece of Him, desiring a miracle or a meal or a message of hope.  But He had to be about His Father's business.  And to discover the costly, complex intricacies of those plans and repeatedly regain the supernatural strength to see them through, He had to pull away from all that grabbed at Him.  And be in secret with the One from whom all blessings flowed. 

Often.

I'd be fairly sure that there were followers who didn't get it, this need to come apart, these refueling moments, the yen for solitude and silence.  But He was not to be deterred.  He knew the call on His life would demand every last ounce of who He was.  He knew where His strength and discernment flowed from, where to refill His well with the desperately needed living water.  And so He chose to retreat away from those who needed His attention.  But only for a time.

He always returned to the ones He loved.

For us today it might simply be an old lawn chair in the backyard or a wooden park bench tucked away in a seldom spotted nook.  A cozy perch streamside.  On mountaintop grand.  Or the softness of a secret hidden dune of sand.  A couple of hours, a couple of days.  Whatever, wherever.  The point is this: retreat-ing is good medicine for exhausted, spent bodies.  For minds that have way too much jumbled up inside.  And for our souls, that very essence of our beings, the dryness there reflecting the depletion that threatens to undo us.

That endlessly buzzing, ringing, vibrating phone gets turned off.  You begin to savor and explore the compelling invitation of what silence offers.  There might be a long, desperately needed nap and some good food to savor and re-sustain.  You might read or write or pray or walk.  A wellworn Bible, a trusty journal, the old binoculars, a handy camera, a treasured volume may keep you company.  Or absolutely nothing accompanies you except the rich, glorious fullness of His precious presence, emerging from the stillness that begins to envelop you.  A holy revitalization.  Sacred moments that awaken and heal and transform all that defines who you are. 

The invitation stands.  'Come to Me you who are weary and heavy laden, and I will give you rest ...'



Retreat-ing ~



= linked to   Gail's   .   Laura's    .   Beth's   .   Kristen's  .  Courtney's

10 comments:

  1. "To come apart . . . before we fall apart." So nicely put. To be consecrated, for His use, because "in Him all things are held together" (Col. 1:17, AMP). May you, and all those who come to Him for rest, be "continually built up in Him . . . made full and having come to fullness of life," which is in Christ (2:7,10).

    Prayerfully, and with thanksgiving,
    ~A

    P.S. Had Jesus not gone off alone into the hills that night to pray, the storm-tossed disciples probably never would have experienced the SHEER AND AWESOME WONDER of His walking out to meet them *on water*, rising as it were with the sun. God's Son! (Matt. 14:33). Hallelujah!

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    1. A, your thoughts, your benediction today are the icing on the cake of that post. Thank you for being willing to share your wisdom with us!

      Linda

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  2. This resonates in my heart. I have been wanting to go on a retreat for quite a while. Like you said, not one full of activities and teaching and talk and talk and crowds, but a quiet retreat. No laptop, no books, just my bible and God. I have the location picked out, not too far away. They provide simple rooms and meals and quiet. I just have to save the money and DO IT.

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    1. I love this, Elizabeth. Those silent retreats are the best ... all the props get pulled away and it's just you and God. Big things happen when everything else fades from view.

      Please let me know how it goes, ok?

      Linda

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  3. This is just what I need to prepare for my summer, Linda. It goes hand-in-hand with what Gaye over at "Calm, Healthy, Sexy" wrote recently--to use our summer to refuel (which is something I often intend to do but rarely accomplish). So maybe this is part of that plan. Maybe I need to make time for a retreat to gain perspective on just how God wants me to use this summer and what needs to "go" so that it won't rush by without refreshing me. Thanks for your willingness to be God's vessel of truth and encouragement in my life, dear friend!

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  4. Yeah ... our intentions often fade away without a clearcut plan ... and everyone else's plans often interfere with what we know we truly need. Keep me posted, Beth ... I'd love to hear what you decide to do with this!

    Linda

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  5. I found this post to be an enormous blessing- so much so that i have posted to my FB community with a recommendation they all read it!
    Thank you.
    I needed to be reminded that if Jesus needed to draw aside- then surely I must need to do it much more.
    A thousand than yous.

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    1. I so appreciate that you've let me know that you're sharing these words with your community. You've made my day, friend ...

      Linda

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  6. Your peaceful words read like a retreat. Thanks for the reminder of how much we need that quiet time with God to function in this world.

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    1. And your peace-filled words are a lovely benediction, Nancy. I thank you!

      Linda

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Welcome to the table, friend!

This is where we gather and hang out. I'd love for you to pull up a chair and jump right into the conversation. Or simply say 'hello.'

l'll be dropping in to visit you sometime soon ...

Linda

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