This post is the third in a series on taking a spiritual retreat. It is adapted from a post I wrote several years ago.
You can check out the first two posts here:
If you have never taken a retreat before, you may like to use this spiritual audit as a pattern for your first time away. Having a structure like this can help us dispel those What on earth am I doing here? feelings that so easily overwhelm us when we try something new. Many of us struggle with a chronic gnawing anxiety because we don’t feel our spiritual life is adequate but most of us rarely spend time evaluating how healthy relationship to God really is. I was given this audit by a friend several years ago. I have adapted and changed it over the years but still find it to be an excellent outline for reevaluating my life. Combine this exercise with a more free flowing time of listening for God’s voice and direction. I like to start with some general questions about my life and then move to more specific spiritual questions.
Look back over the last week or month
- Consolations: what has been life gaining and deepened your sense of connection to God?
- Desolations: what has been life draining and made you lose that sense of intimacy with God?
- How is God speaking to you through this?
- What are the major pressures in your life? Where do you think the pressure comes from and what are the underlying causes?
- How do these affect your spiritual well being?
- In what ways could they be harnessed so that your heart could be broken open to new possibilities for a better future?
- What daily and weekly events set the rhythm for your life? Which of these contribute to your spiritual well being and which distract from it?
How well are you maintaining your spiritual life:
- What gives you joy in your spiritual journey at present?
- Where do you sense God is currently at work in your transformation? What would give God the most opportunity to continue that work?
- What do you do on a regular basis to nurture your spiritual life?
- What are the major distractions that interfere with regular spiritual disciplines?
How has God spoken to you in the last week:
- through prayer
- through scripture
- through the needs of others
- through the words of others
- through other means
What changes is God prompting you to make in order to further your spiritual growth:
- In your daily or weekly commitments and rhythms?
- In your spiritual routines?
How will you ensure that these changes are adhered to?
- What is one new practice you would like to institute to help maintain your new resolutions?
- What is one relationship you could nurture to provide accountability and encouragement as you walk this journey?