Every year for the past few years, Jimmy has sent me on a weekend getaway. Not just for fun, but to intentionally refresh, relax and renew my vision and passion for being a wife and mom.
My first real retreat was at a local bed and breakfast near my college alma mater. It was amazing. Gorgeous weather. An adorable little old house. Stunning historic libraries where I read and prayed. And a Dave Barnes concert at a local coffee shop to top it all off.
I had 2.5 days to relax, read, pray and plan. It revolutionized my year.
(Incidentally, I didn’t start taking these retreats because we’re this little idyllic family and we thought, “Gee! Won’t this be nifty!” Nope, I was w-o-r-n out. I was running 100 miles an hour in the wrong directions and Jimmy could tell I needed a break and he had the vision to see that my sanity was worth him facing a tiring weekend alone with the kids.)
Why Take A Yearly Retreat
That first retreat was a catalyst for a lot of fundamental change in my life. There is a ridiculous amount of value in stepping back, evaluating and resting.
To Relax â€¨There’s always something that needs to be done. It can be hard to make time to relax. On my retreat weekends, I intentionally take things really slow. Normally, I spend the first night in my room with yummy takeout and enjoy a fun movie.
It’s important to be productive, but it’s also important to relax and truly rest.
To Recharge â€¨If you’re a parent you know that a full night’s sleep is sometimes a luxury. Retreat weekends are a great time to go to bed early and try to catch up on some sleep.
To Plan â€¨I think the main thing that most people lack is direction. We don’t set clear goals and therefore we don’t accomplish as much as we are capable of.
It’s incredibly easy to get caught up in the day to day tasks. But it’s like running on a hamster wheel unless we know that each task is leading us to a particular goal.
How To Take A Yearly Retreat
â€¨1. Make It At Least 48 Hours
â€¨If at all possible, take at least 48 hours for your retreat. You want to have enough time so that you don’t feel rushed.
2. Dedicate Day 1 To Offline Activities
â€¨The internet is wonderful….and very, very distracting.
It’s incredibly important to unplug, and just spend a day reading, praying and listening. God wants to teach us, but we need to turn off all the noise to hear Him.
3. Outline Your Agenda â€¨Before you leave on your retreat, outline the things you want to pray about and plan.
4. Pray â€¨When I went on my retreat this past year, I spent the first part of the day reading my Bible, praying and listening. It was so refreshing to not have to confine my time with God into a 30 minute time frame. I spent a lot of time asking Him questions, waiting for answers, reading and being inspired again by verses I’ve read a million times. Sometimes when we give truth space it can speak new things.
5. Plan â€¨After I spent time praying and journaling the things I felt I needed to focus on for the next year, I spent the rest of the day planning. I set goals for the year. Then I broke them down into monthly and weekly goals.
6. Have Fun â€¨Make sure you don’t try to accomplish too much on your retreat. I really only spent a few hours “working.” My last night I walked down to a coffee shop and heard Dave Barnes (one of my favorites) play a great concert.
We could spend our lives in the trenches – just taking the next task in front of us – reacting to life’s ups and downs.
Or we can decide where we want to go and forge a path to get there.
I hope you’ve been encouraged by this series and will adopt at least one of the retreats (Daily, Weekly, Yearly) into your routine. These past few years have been the best and most successful years of my life and I think that this habit of retreating has played a key role.
Action Step: Talk to your spouse (or a friend or family member) today about the possibility of taking a weekend retreat.
What would your “dream retreat” be?Leave a Comment