I loathe retreats. I loathe them with every ounce of my being. I haven’t been on one for years… the last one I ended up on was not at all retreat like.
We ended up in a building next to a beautiful beach where we sat in a bland classroom all day long. All day.
We didn’t touch the beach. We didn’t walk on it. We didn’t listen to the waves crashing, or feel the sand between our toes.
Instead we listened to someone speak for a long time and then at the end of the day we drove all the way back home again.
All I really needed at the time was some time out. Our eldest two kids were very little, and I needed some refreshing and some strength to keep getting through each day.
I longed to walk along the waters edge, while cool sounds of the waves calmed my soul. So sitting there, looking out of the window was like someone putting the best chocolate in the world in front of me and then telling me to absorb it via osmosis. It was painful and pointless.
Since that day I’ve learnt what works best for me. And it’s not retreating in the way that I’ve described, but doing what refreshes my soul.
Do you know the word Retreat is described in the dictionary as ‘a place of privacy or safety – a refuge’. It reminds me that the bible also talks about God being our refuge. He is an ever present strength when things are difficult for us.
I think that is perhaps the most beautiful way to retreat. To be with our refuge and our strength while enjoying the beauty of his creation.
I love the verse that says ‘Be still, and know that I am God’.
It’s such a simple command. Be still and know that I am God.
It isn’t complicated at all. He makes it easy for us to be refreshed and renewed.
Often taking some time to rest in his beautiful presence is all the retreat we need.
Photo credit – Matthew Kane