Friday, July 13, 2012

Friday Funday: How To Rest in Retreat

Ever find yourself wanting to crawl up in a hole and shut out the noise?
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I sure do...all the time!  And especially as of late.  The noise of this world is ever-present, loud, competes for our attention, and distracts our focus.  Some days I sense the Lord's peace; other days, I want to shut my bedroom door, pull the covers up over my head, and say, "Enough's enough!"

What a week it has been--are you feeling this craziness, too?  If so, would you take a moment and consider joining me in taking a morning-long retreat tomorrow?  

Let me explain: I was spending time in prayer this week, but each time I tried to get alone with God, some noise would commence, my to-do list would begin running rampant through my brain, or (a most common distraction) my eyes would simply not stay open!  The Lord clearly began tugging on my heart by the Holy Spirit, saying, "Come away with Me, my beloved.  Shut out the noise for as long as it takes, and come away with Me."  Let's just say I jumped on that command!

I decided that tomorrow morning (Saturday), before any other plans unfolded, before any tasks presented themselves, I would go on "retreat".  Unfortunately, living in NYC makes it very hard to find solitude anywhere, so I decided to stay in my bedroom.  My goal is to stay put for about three hours tomorrow morning.  And I will not lie to you--I am slightly terrified.  

I think my fear comes from the need to constantly move, be productive, and talk to God, rather than listen to Him.  I do not like sitting still for long periods of time.  But I know that it is desperately what I need.

Will you pray about joining me?  Even if only for thirty minutes tomorrow morning?  Here are some ways to create a quiet space for a morning-long retreat:

ONE: Kindly, gently and lovingly inform others of your plan to retreat.  If other people in your household know of your plan to rest in quiet, there is less chance of interruption and distraction.  Of course, the easiest way to have quiet is to remove yourself from the household, finding a place of solitude (like a park, forest preserve, or favorite little hide-away).

TWO: Bring a Bible, journal, pen, and tissues.  Okay, maybe not everyone will need tissues, but if you are like me, prayer may bring you to tears!  You could also consider bringing your favorite worship album, if you connect to God through music.

THREE: Choose a phrase, prayer or verse to reset your focus.  I find that if I choose a specific phrase to verbally repeat, my mind stays focused on the Lord's face.  When I start to drift off to my to-do list, I am now trying to remember to softly repeat the phrase over and over until my focus is back.

FOUR: Leave room for the Spirit.  It is wonderful to read the Word, have a list of prayers, and "plan" your time.  But there is nothing like nothingness--when the Spirit has room to move in amazing ways that we, ourselves, could never "plan".

FIVE: Stop talking.  This is so hard for me.  Let me repeat--so hard.  I love praying for others, presenting requests, and thanking God.  But being quiet and still is equally, if not more, important.  God wants us to abide in Him, for apart from Him we can do nothing (John 15).  Rest, be still, and choose quietness.

Ladies, if any of you have chosen to take a morning retreat, I would love to hear about how you met with the Lord.  The details are to be treasured in your heart, of course, but please share what glorified Him, and oppositely, what pulled focus from your time with God.

What else would help in a quiet, retreat setting?  How has the Spirit been tugging on your heart?

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