Retreat from the World

Where there is no vision, the people perish – Proverbs 29:18a (King James Version)

If people can’t see what God is doing,
they stumble all over themselves;
But when they attend to what he reveals,

they are most blessed.
– Proverbs 29:18 (The Message)

I have been elbow deep in retreat planning the last few weeks, and I love it! Going on a retreat is a fantastic way to focus your whole being toward a particular task. There are many kinds of retreats. A leadership retreat is a perfect time to re-focus on a shared organizational vision, to review what you’ve done well, and what you could do better as a group to reach that vision. A wellness retreat can help you rest and to re-connect to your personal vision to your best version of yourself. I’m grateful to be planning both a leadership and a wellness-type retreat right now.

This Sunday will mark the third annual retreat of the young adult leadership committee at my church. We’ll re-visit a mission and vision statement we created a few years ago, reflect on strengths and areas for growth, and re-set for the next twelve months. We’ll also map out our small group studies for the next year and plan events for the next quarter. This type of retreat takes a lot of time to plan and several hours of intense focus when everyone’s in the room, but the payout has been tremendous. We have more people than ever involved in leading high-quality studies and planning engaging events. We also have to meet less frequently during the year because we’ve planned everything so thoroughly.

I’m also co-planning our annual fall retreat with my friend Robyn. Our fall retreat is open to all young adults and focuses on a specific spiritual topic to help us connect to God and God’s vision for our lives. We always have a BLAST at the fall retreat. Spending a weekend together helps us get to know each other on a deeper level. It’s also a great time to get away from our normal routines and scenery and to relax. The fall retreat is routinely one of the top events of the year according to our feedback surveys. It’s certainly my favorite, and I’m pumped about what we have in store for this year’s retreat!

The Bible verses at the beginning of this post point toward the need to take a step back and re-focus on God’s vision. The King James Version is imprinted on my mind from my years of reading life coach Mastin Kipp’s former blog The Daily Love. Mastin helps people who are stuck in old paradigms break free and create a more empowering vision. I also love Eugene Peterson’s Message interpretation. “If people can’t see what God is doing, they stumble all over themselves,” Peterson interprets. Being able to “see what God is doing” takes intense attention. A retreat is a great way to set aside time and go to a space where you can connect to God’s vision.

The retreats I’ve been on to date have been relatively short and local. But I have a friend who has traveled to India to go on a meditation and yoga retreat with a guru, and I have another friend who’s attended a week-long silent retreat. Those are intense retreat commitments! We don’t all have the time or money or access to go on a retreat at that level. The good news is that you can start small with retreats. You can treat yourself to a silent evening walk once a week. You can take yourself to a coffee shop for an afternoon with nothing but your journal and your favorite latte. After all, a treat is part of any good retreat 😊

The important thing about retreats is to stake the time to reflect, to co-create with God, and to invest in yourself and your vision. It’s also critical to make retreats a regular occurrence. You’ll know it’s time to go on a retreat when you’re not sure which direction you’re heading in, when you’re starting not to feel like yourself, or when you just need to rest or re-group.

I’m excited about the retreats I have coming up; they are some of my favorite events of the year. I’ve also begun to explore what a longer, solo retreat would look like for me. What about you? Do you have a regular retreat routine? What could you do to build in a small retreat for yourself in the next month? Thanks for reading, and happy retreating!

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