Retreat, Renew, Refresh

by Christine Sine

Tom & I are back from our retreat feeling refreshed and renewed after a couple of days mainly just relaxing in Anacortes. Retreat doesn’t really seem like a very good term for our time away because it really is more a time of refreshment and renewal.

p1010001.jpgWe start by reading through our journals from the last few months reflecting on all we have done and how well we have adhered to what we believe to be God’s call on our lives. Sometimes this can be a little embarrassing. I am amazed at how easily I get distracted from what God’s purposes. I find that I need to be very intentional about following God’s purposes or I slowly drift away.

I like to look back over the scriptures that have stood out as I have read the bible in the last few weeks. I find this helps me to focus on what God is wanting me to do. Then we spend time praying and listening to God and trying to discern if there is anything new that God wants to say to us in terms of our direction for the next few months.

The last part of our retreat we usually spend setting goals for the next few months . However, this time after the busyness of the last few weeks we needed some time to relax and renew ourselves so we spent more time sitting on the beach reading and walking with our golden retriever Bonnie than we did setting goals. p1010049.jpgWe even found time to explore the antique stores in Anacortes and discovered an excellent french bakery with some of the most delicious almond croissants we have ever tasted.

Tom & I try to get away for a couple of days of retreat time every 3 – 4 months. These have become some of the best prayer times we have. Personally I find it very difficult to listen to God and what God is wanting to say when I am surrounded by the distractions of phone calls, deadlines and unfinished projects. I think that the busier we are the harder it is to hear God’s voice. As Richard Foster says “Busyness isn’t of the devil, busyness is the devil.  If you have trouble discerning what God is wanting you to do you may find that going on spiritual retreat for a couple of days can really help.

Here is a Celtic prayer attributed to Columba of Iona I have found really helps me when I am trying to focus and listen to God.

Sometimes in a lowly cell
In the presence of my God
I stand and listen.
In the silence of my heart I can hear his will
When I listen
Despairing people flock to me
They expect that I can see the answers
They ask my advice,
They say I am wise
I answer that nothing can deceive me
If I stand alone and silently listen
For I am but a servant
Who is guided by his king
When I listen
Sometimes in a lowly cell
In the presence of my God
I stand and listen

 

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