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