Live Life in Retreat Mode By Rebecca L. Matthews
I’m preparing to speak to a group of women at their annual Christian Women’s Retreat. Since there’s not an actual theme, I was asked to speak about whatever God puts on my heart. As I’m not a frequenter of retreats, I felt led to review the purpose and history of them to be sure I can give these women what they’ve come for. What is it I want my listeners to change or be motivated to do differently? What are they needing to walk away from this retreat with?
As it turns out, my message is going to be quite simple and prayerfully impactful. My mission is to encourage God’s children to place and keep Him, first and foremost, at their center. Get to know Jesus, come close to God your Father, fall in love with Him, be filled to overflowing with His Holy Spirit, trust His will and be a willing party to His plan. I could talk about this long past the half hour I’ve been allotted. This ties into what we look for when attending retreats, a time to be spiritually engaged with God. Only, I want people to realize, it doesn’t have to take place once in a while, like at a retreat. This spiritual connection can and should be an ever present reality in our lives.
You see, we naturally desire a deep and intimate relationship with God. It’s something we respond to. The events of our lives and the resulting shadows within us call out for His grace, mercy, and love. God placed that desire within us with the intent to fulfill it. When we reach out to Him, when we welcome Him in, the awesomeness of who He is, the Creator of all responding to us, is humbling and sometimes overwhelming. Who wouldn’t be in awe of the unconditional love of our Father toward us when it’s revealed?
Many times in Biblical history, encounters with God occurred when people were drawn into a quiet place, a retreat. Even Jesus withdrew, seemingly to focus on God and be replenished. We’re busy. We’re easily caught up in the bustle and worry of our everyday life. Our minds are filled with the projects we need to complete, the argument we had, the shopping that needs to get done, the debt that’s pressing, etc. Once in a while we need to retreat, recharge, and refocus our attention on God.
We distance ourselves briefly from everyday pressures to be alone with and seek revelation from Him for our lives. We seek a time of solitude, silence, and stillness, creating an open, empty space in which God can work.
Let me make a suggestion. Rather than struggle daily with the pressures of life and reach out to God when time allows, keep your eyes fixed on Him instead. Talk to Christ throughout your day. Share with Him what you’re doing, even if it seems odd. Ask Him how His day is. Seek His thoughts on the next steps in yours. Chat about the simple things, the frustrating moments, and the fulfilling points. The more often you talk to Him, the more often you’re living in retreat mode. The more often you commune with God, the less you’ll be caught up in worry. The more often you focus on Him, the more you’ll grow to trust and entrust everything to Him.
We’re living in a time of rest, continual rest. Jesus said it. “It is finished.” I’m pretty sure He meant it. Your sins are forgiven. Satan has no more power. You can have the Holy Spirit, the Helper, to give you immediate strength, peace, direction, all from within you. It is finished. You can entrust your life to Jesus, all the earthly messiness and problems, and have balance and peace that really does confound.
Peace, true peace, is not found in the absence of chaos, it’s experienced when trusting in God and His will during chaos. This comes when we’re intimately connected with God, when He is, first and foremost, at our center. The personal connection, the quiet in the midst of the storm, the revelation of love, all describe what is sought after in retreats. This can describe your everyday life now.
When your life is an extended retreat and you’re living intimately connected with your Creator, your outward look on life is different. You see God in everything that is happening. Though you may not see what He’s doing or what His intentions are, you trust that He is all knowing and His will is worthy of trust and obedience. Let’s live life in retreat mode.
Still Learning To Live,
Rebecca L. Matthews
Rebecca L. Matthews is a Christian novelist and children’s author. She writes realistic fiction that highlights the value of a personal relationship with Christ. Her three novels and the children’s books can be reviewed and purchased here at worshipcafeinspirtions.com.