Time for a retreat?

At work we are assigned three days for retreat each year. Initially I was excited by this – what an amazing gift to be given three days to intentionally quiet myself enough to hear God’s voice and to rest in His presence. I’d heard of retreats and dabbled in a few quiet mornings but this was a new opportunity for me. Then, being me, I began to overthink the idea and became daunted by it, thinking that because it was for work I would need to show evidence that I had been productive and made good use of my retreat and fretting about how I would do that. With this anxiety creeping in, instead of taking steps to plan my retreat days I shelved the idea and put them on my long term to do list.

 

 I began to overthink the idea and became daunted by it

In the meantime, Lisa (Learning Mentor for Passionate Spirituality) and I began drawing together plans to put on a Lay Leadership Retreat. We had both independently identified a need for some of our most committed lay leaders in churches, especially wardens, to be given space away from their responsibilities to encounter God and rest in Him. Our desire was to gather the tired and worn out and bless them. Our hope and prayer is that they will be refreshed and renewed by God’s love and grace and go back into their workplaces and ministries secure in His strength and provision.

So here I am, preparing and planning to provide a retreat for others; meditating on the passages about God being the source of our strength and the need to sink our roots down into him to sustain us through the droughts. I’m praying about what prayer stations to create to help people respond and engage. I’m thinking about how we can encourage those who might be hesitant about signing up to come and what might be stopping them and pondering how, as leaders, we can empower people to take retreats by leading by example and taking them ourselves. And into my head pops the thought of those three retreat days I’ve put off arranging. Hmm. I can’t ignore this.

 

Today, I’m taking the confusion of my excited and anxious feelings about retreat to God. I’ve read a few blogs on how to prepare for retreats and what different styles of retreat there are. I’ve wondered what sort of retreat I should do and what God might want to speak to me about. And I have gathered up my courage and taken steps to book a retreat day next month.

I’m taking the confusion of my excited and anxious feelings about retreat to God

I am still uncertain about it, and I’m not sure whether that feeling will go away as it is unknown territory I’m heading into. However, I am excited to create the space for prolonged time to seek God and to learn more of Him and I am looking forward to resting with the God who ‘restores my soul’.

If you, like me, are a little uncertain about doing a retreat; if you need a nudge to get something booked in, can I encourage you to go for it?

 

You can find information about the Lay Leadership Retreat our team is running on the Events page of this website. There are also a number of local retreat centres and quiet gardens you could explore, including Charlecote Quiet GardenHouse of BreadRed Hill Christian Centre and Launde Abbey.

Jen Thornton
Learning Mentor for Empowering Leadership and Gift-based Ministry