In about nine sections of scripture it talks about Jesus withdrawing from the crowds to take a break. He spent that time in prayer, and also as a concentrated time to teach his disciples. I have been thinking and praying about this a lot lately. I feel that it is something that I am in desperate need of doing myself. Because of the various things I have been going through lately, my body has been responding adversely to the stress of it all. Most days I have chest pains all day long. It is rare that I am without this symptom. So I feel that it is time for a change.
Over the next six weeks I plan to have a time of retreat and withdrawing to a lonely place like Jesus did. I feel the need to have concentrated times of prayer and digging in God's Word, to learn more about peace and joy especially, and also how to better manage stress. I hope to share my insights along this journey.
This first week is more of the planning and preparing process. I hope to have a generalized plan of the areas that I desire to focus on during this time of separation. I haven't gotten very far in this process yet other than thinking. Yesterday was my son and my first day back at homeschooling, after taking a five week Christmas break while my oldest son was home from college. I am trying to get caught up with school planning, as well as planning for my spiritual retreat too.
The month of February will be my main time of spiritual renewal. I have a few books and a Bible study or two that I hope to work through, as well as doing my own study on Philippians as well. Also during this time, I am praying that God gives me clear direction for what He wants me to be focusing on doing. I feel a strong desire to be more specific and intentional when it comes to my writing.
As of now, the first week of March will be a time away hopefully visiting my friend in Georgia. It will be a great way of finishing out my spiritual retreat. I am excited about what God wants to teach and show me over these next six weeks.
Perhaps you aren't able to take a long break like I am planning to do. Here are some ways that you can have a mini-retreat throughout your day.
- Take a hot bath and have restful music playing in the background.
- Prepare a hot drink and curl up by the fireplace.
- Light a candle.
- Put on relaxing music - for me this is often Christmas music or praise music.
- Choose not to answer the phone for a few hours, or check email, etc.
- Read a good book, even if you only have a short time to do so.
- Go for a walk.
- Do something creative.
- Look for a joy from your day. (Yesterday mine was seeing a beautiful male cardinal come to the bird feeder).