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I mentioned my experience of a retreat day recently and I wanted to provide some practical steps to institute one.

I know what you’re probably thinking, how am I going to find time to do that?!

I hear you, finding time to do this is difficult, I get that.  As a new parent, I know that it is also tough to take time away, especially if your spouse has his or her hands full with the kid(s).  My suggestion for this is that perhaps you can rotate time with your spouse for a portion of the day away from home.  If not, schedule an hour or two to do it.  The amount of time is not the big thing initially; it’s good to just begin a personal rhythm in your life.

Without further introduction, here are my five tips if you’re trying to get away.

1 Get out the door.  Leave, don’t linger at home or the office.  Get out the door and go someplace new.

2 Turn off your phone.  Set away messages and let key people know you’re out of contact for the day.  My old boss used to say when he went on vacation, “Don’t call me if the place burns down.  Unless I can do something about it, let me find out about it when I get home.”  You might be surprised like me to find out the world is still going when you resurface at the end of your time away.

3 Go to a new area.  Go to a regional park or a library.  Spend time on the grounds of a free museum and soak in the beauty.  Take a step into a wilderness area and cleanse your worrying mind with a fresh perspective.

4 Be present.  Don’t be mentally elsewhere, even with your problems.  Be present where you are at this day and see what God might have for you.  Notice the clouds and trees, and try to slow down.  Consider not speaking for the day (unless you are spoken to, don’t be rude!).  I have found the discipline of silence also provides a different perspective on the day.

5 Bring nothing.  No Bible (gasp), no journal (the horror!), no books (heresy!).  Quite honestly, I’ve noticed that sometimes I use these things to pacify discomfort or to keep me occupied enough so that I don’t have to deal with my inner turmoil.  I’d encourage you to spend this time talking to God.  Talking to him, being open to what’s going on in your life, and bringing your emotional baggage to him.  Be real with him, even about the bad stuff.  Look at the Psalms; those are God honoring confessions of raw human emotions.

I hope you consider taking a day away!  You never know what might happen if you slow down and be.

What has been your experience with a retreat day?

Photo: Robb North via Compfight