Last year for my birthday I went on my first personal spiritual retreat. It was amazing for me. I had space and time to just reflect on the last year of my life and look forward and pray about the next year.
The highlight of my retreat was writing down my worries, praying through them and laying them down at the feet of Jesus. I did this as I walked through a labyrinth. Walking the labyrinth was a good way for me to focus and pray. After a time of prayer, I meditated on Philippians 4:6-7 : Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God,which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
There is nothing extra spiritual or magical about walking a labyrinth, but it was a good place at that time to pray and lay down my worries to Jesus.
I also took a hike on a trail, spent time in worship, worked through some of my Bible study notes, did some hand lettering, painted my nails, took some pictures, watched the sunset, took a bubble bath, and enjoyed an uninterrupted night of sleep (this was amazing, because at that time my baby was not sleeping through the night).
After that 24 hours away, I was so refreshed, renewed and encouraged. I knew at that point that having a personal retreat for my birthday was something I wanted to do every year as a normal rhythm of my life. I also decided I would try to do a half day retreat every few months and find ways to take friends and family on retreats so they can experience the joy of stopping and just being with Jesus. So far I have gone on one half day retreat as well as gone on an overnight retreat with a friend. I love it! I love how Jesus comes and meets me each time. 🙂 So thankful that at this season of my life I have had the opportunity to learn rest in this way.
I want to encourage you to go on your own spiritual retreat! There are retreat centers in every state in America, or you could go to a park, hotel, whatever works for you. The point is to get away, stop, be with Jesus and rest. I understand that not every season of your life is it possible to get away, there is no way I could have done this when my baby was younger. Maybe a half day is all you can do, but if its at all possible…go for it!
Have you been on a personal retreat? What was the most refreshing or encouraging part of your retreat?
If you haven’t been on a retreat, will you take the time this week to look over your schedule and see if you can go on a retreat this year? If so, put it on your calendar and make it happen!