When I was a youth minister in the mid-90’s, our youth group needed a retreat. We had enjoyed a busy summer together and school had started. They were balancing homework, athletic teams, social events, family responsibilities and still participating in our youth ministry. All of these elements were catching up to them, and they needed a weekend away. We planned a retreat for October, and I announced it to the congregation. Our family minister, at the time, followed my announcement by proclaiming, “I know what Lance said, but Christians don’t retreat, they advance! Our teens need to advance!”
They didn’t. They needed to rest. They needed to recharge. They needed to reconnect with God and with their friends. They didn’t have the energy to advance. They were exhausted in every way possible. Ignoring our family minister’s directive, we “retreated” to a campground and spent a weekend resting, playing, worshipping and feeling God renew us. It was a great weekend for our youth ministry. Retreat is exactly what we needed.
You may be tired right now. You may be overwhelmed with the busyness of life. You’re juggling your work, your spouse’s and children’s schedules, social obligations, and church commitments as well. You have been trying to be “all things to all people” for too long and it’s beginning to show. You need rest. You need relaxation. You need refreshment. You need to reconnect with God and with those you love the most.
Let me encourage you to retreat. Take some time and get away. Take a weekend and go somewhere that replenishes your soul. Stay home, turn off the phones and enjoy your family within your own home without any responsibilities. Take a day and find a quiet place where you can refocus on what’s important to you. Get away. Unplug. Leave the front lines and retreat.
Retreat can be healing and restoring to your soul. It can give you the replenishment that you need. It’s something we all need to do from time to time. But don’t stay there. Retreat is not a permanent or long-term endeavor. It’s not a state in which we live for an extended period. Instead, it’s a brief respite in the midst of the busyness of life where we take the time to allow ourselves to be restored. It’s a commitment to healing while knowing that we will reengage after our rest with a commitment to continuing living for and serving God each day.
Retreat is necessary. It’s good for us. It’s a means of healing and grace that God provides. If you are tired and wearing down. Retreat. Let God bless you with a period of rest and refreshment. He will meet you in your retreat and supply what you need like only He can.
**Our elders, ministers and their wives are on a retreat in Gatlinburg this weekend. Please pray for their time together as they “retreat” and enjoy a weekend of blessing and renewal together.**