Why go on a retreat?
Jesus needed time away to be with God. (Mark 1:35, Luke 5:15-16) He needed time alone, away from all the demands and pressures of His ministry to connect with His source of strength. If Jesus needed that time away, we need it too. Solitude, silence, time with just you and God…it can bring so much life and refreshment. It is a time to refocus, to remember the One that you are living for, just be with Him and listen to His voice without all the many distractions we face everyday. Jesus sets an example for us to follow.
You may be wondering, if I do go on a retreat, what will I do with all that time? What are things I can do to help me rest and spend time with God? Here is a list with some ideas that I hope will help you answer those questions.
Things to do on retreat:
- Have a time of silence and just be still before God.
- Eat good food. Take delicious food to enjoy (unless you are choosing to fast) or choose the option (if available at your retreat center) of having your meals prepared for you.
- Fun or restful activities, especially things that you don’t get to enjoy very often. For me this was painting my nails, artwork, taking a bubble bath, going on a long walk and photography. But your list could be very different. This could also include a long nap or sleeping in. 🙂
- Go internet free for the span of your retreat. This can really help make your time free of distractions.
- Make a gratitude list. What are you thankful for right now, big and small things.
- Get outdoors if that is possible…enjoy the beauty of God’s creation and take extra time to just look at the beauty and how things are designed with such detail. What does this tell you or make you think about your Creator?
- Meditate on a Scripture. Look at it in context, read it over a few times, pray about it, say it out loud, ask the Holy Spirit to speak to you through God’s Word and show you how this scripture applies to your life today.
- Read a good book, one for spiritual growth or one for fun.
- Go for a walk or run and talk to God about anything on your heart, or a specific list that you may have brought to pray over.
- Write down your worries or fears and bring those to God in prayer. Ask Him to show you any practical solutions to those things, and give them over to God. Trust Him with these things. He cares for you! (Some verses to meditate on : Philippians 4:6-7, 1 Peter 5:7, Matthew 6:25-34)
- Time of reflection, think back over this past season, month or week. What has God been speaking to you about? What has God been doing in your heart and life? What has happened, and how can you see God’s hand in those situations?
- Is there any sin you need to confess to God and ask and receive his forgiveness for? Ask him to show you if there is sin and come to Jesus with those things.
- Play some worship music and praise God for who He is. Reflect on some of His attributes.
- Look ahead at the next few months or year. What roles has God given you? Are you over committed in any way? What are the area/s of your life that God would have you focus on in this next season? Anything you need to take off or put on your schedule so you can prioritize the things God is putting on your heart? Spend some time bringing these things to God and pray over the next season.
- Reevaluate you current priorities. Is God in first place, then spouse and family, then ministry, work and other activities? If things are out of order, then think about practical steps you can take to prioritize what matters most.
I hope this list is helpful and will give you some thoughts for what you want to do with your time away with God.
Here is a link to a good article for more ideas on planning a retreat. You do not have to try all these ideas, just pick what is restful for you, what will fit in your time frame, and what will help you connect with Jesus.
What has been restful for you on retreat? Even if you haven’t gone on retreat, which ideas seem most helpful or practical to you?