When we think of the word “retreat,” we think about getting away from normal life for a time of renewing and refreshment with the Lord in community. As we plan the next retreats for men and women, we have been wondering: How can we offer these retreat elements when our current climate inhibits us from leaving our homes “getting away,” and gathering together “in community?” Two of the three elements are difficult, if not impossible, right now.
These restrictions cause us to consider what retreat really is and wonder how we can offer the third and most important element, renewal and refreshment in the Lord, even when in confinement and limited in gathering.
Here are some thoughts that come to mind that we can encourage others and ourselves to practice.
Since we cannot travel to a retreat location that is prepared for us, we have to prepare it for ourselves. This will take some time and intentionality.
Commit to a retreat in your calendar just like you would schedule an in-person retreat; schedule yourself out of work and block off the times.
Choose a Bible passage or book, find worship music or videos to sing with, print off questions to interact with, decide how much time you will journal, read, sing, walk, sleep, etc.
Create a space in which you can relax and enjoy the retreat: find a comfortable chair, a quiet room, look out a window or at a painting, consider going outside for some of the time. (Will you want a chair, hammock, or blanket to sit on?)
Connect with Your Senses
Light a candle, put on soft music, diffuse some essential oils, open a window for a fresh breeze, sit outside and enjoy the open air, cut some flowers or have a potted plant nearby, make sure the lighting is sufficient for time in the Word or journaling.
Turn off technology, be away from people, choose a place that is orderly and clean, have meals prepared beforehand, find someone to take care of kids.
Stretch, go for a walk, stand or move around during worship, use prayer postures or worship poses.
Time in silence, solitude, prayer, reading, sleeping, nature, contemplation, laughing.
Find a Friend
Invite someone to do the retreat at the same time as you, schedule calls or discussion times, gather if you can, go for a walk or hike together.
What other elements would you include in your retreat?
More Spiritual Formation Resources
We are One Challenge mission workers serving the whole body of Christ by developing a new generation of leaders. The Holy Spirit is always inviting us to know God more and do the work of becoming who God has designed us to be.
These resources include blog posts, original worship music, images accompanied by Scripture, prayer exercises, and much more. Whatever the Lord gives us, we want to offer to you so you can be blessed in your walk with Jesus.