Refreshed Motherhood: Why and How To Take A Yearly Retreat

By April 15, 2010General


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I’ve already written about the importance of taking a Daily Retreat and a Weekly Retreat. Today I want to write about the importance of a Yearly Retreat.

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 
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 
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 
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


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1. Make It At Least 48 Hours

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

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 
Before you leave on your retreat, outline the things you want to pray about and plan.

4. Pray 
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 
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 
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.

Conclusion

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.

Your Turn

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

Comments

18 Comments

  • debra parker says:

    that first photo would do just fine…

    oh my.

  • Jamee says:

    I have thought of this off and on since you blogged about your first weekend away. I think it is a fabulous idea. I also think I need to be very i.n.t.e.n.t.i.o.n.a.l. about making it a priority. I can go 3 weeks without getting a run in if I don’t make myself step back from my family. {canwesaycodependent} I am going to start praying today that the Lord will reveal a time for me to be away and be productive and be with Him.

    Thank you for your motivation!

    • Kat says:

      It’s definitely something that needs to be on a calendar that both you and your husband will see. As moms, it’s SO hard to ask for something like this. It definitely helps if hubby is on board and sees the value in it.

  • Crystal says:

    Another great post! It’s wonderful that you have such an amazing and understanding husband. I’m a newly and I pray that my husband and I will grow to have the same kind of meaningful relationship.

    • Kat says:

      Crystal,
      Thanks!
      He IS awesome if I do say so myself. 🙂

      Marriage is a wonderful journey, I wish the best for you!

  • kelli says:

    I’m looking forward to talking about this with my husband and getting a date on the calendar. A friend of mine is in Dallas this weekend for business and she had a few hours this morning to hang with me and the boys. I picked her up from her hotel today, and think it’s the perfect place for me to take my first personal retreat. So excited!

  • Andrea says:

    Why do you always hit the very subject I REALLY need to hear about in my life right now?
    Amazing!!
    I think I will just start out by doing a weekly “get out and plan” session. I think that would make a WORLD of difference in my life.
    I may also try planning ONE day a month where I can go to my church’s temple to think, pray,ponder and study the word of God.
    (I would LOVE to plan a yearly getaway in the future!!)

  • Amy K says:

    I just recently started following your blog and had to comment. 🙂 I did the “selfish” thing last year and took a weekend in the Hoh River Rainforest with my aunt. My outlook was so refreshed that my husband was more than willing to let me take the trip again this year (we’re planning it for August).
    While I didn’t go by myself, my aunt is an introvert like I am so it was an incredibly quiet and peaceful weekend. I wish all busy moms could have a weekend like that!

  • Amy says:

    I’m inspired! I actually sat and had a discussion with my husband about giving him permission to take a day away to do some thinking, dreaming and planning. I need it too, but I really am feeling that I need to help him get this margin in his life.

    Thanks!
    .-= Amy´s last blog ..Lots of Links =-.

  • Katie says:

    So neat! Intentionally renewing your passion and vision for your family…that is amazing. I’m also very inspired!

  • I am a HUGE fan of retreats, both personal and as a married couple. It makes me a better mama AND wife AND friend without a doubt.

    My husband really supports this as well – he sends me out on my own for a few hours sometime every weekend and every so often I take off for the whole day – this weekend I’ve coordinated a ‘creative meet-up’ at our church where all the ladies are invited to come craft their hearts out all day on whatever project they’ve got going – afterward will be dinner and a chick flick -oh yeah!!

    Once a year, around the time of our anniversary, my parents come to our house to stay with the kids for a long weekend and we’ve gone to a B&B not too far away to just be ‘away’ to rest and recharge and invest in our marriage

    I’d love a full 48 hours to do just what you described and be even more intentional with that time. In July when our kiddos to to the Grandparents for a WHOLE week we’ll be able to do that for sure!

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  • Kelly Cook says:

    Does a two day trip with my mom for Mother’s Day count? Not really, there won’t be much planning time on this trip! Since this trip was determined before reading your blog, I’ll have to wait to ask for a whole weekend to myself. Maybe it would work better to suggest that my husband take our 4 year old son for a weekend camping trip!
    I’ve been enjoying your blog, thanks!
    .-= Kelly Cook´s last blog ..Udder Amazement =-.

  • Oh I just love this!
    I am all about “living on purpose” and what a great idea this is to refresh, rechallenge and truly grow closer to the Lord!
    I love it!
    My husband is in the Army and his schedule doesn’t allow for this (and we don’t live near friends and family…) however when he gets out at the end of this year we may just start this – a weekend for him too!

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