I was talking with a friend, and he told me he could not meet with me this week because he was going on retreat. “Who with?” I asked. He was going with a church group, and that is very common with men, with women, with young people, and even married couples.
So I asked him what he was going to do; purpose of the retreat. He told me “It’s for fun!” He said on Friday evening, they will have a service and then on Saturday it would be for fun. YES, you can have fun on retreats, no doubt about it.
Well, I have been on retreats, and I have planned retreats, and usually there is an emphasis on some type of growth.
RETREAT BY DEFINITION: “The forced or strategic withdrawal of an armed force before an enemy…the act of withdrawing to safety or privacy…a place of refuge, seclusion, … or for religious expression, growth, meditation or insight…”
We live in a world which many times could be considered “enemy” to our thinking. The “armed force” concept is interesting, because a force can retreat, to go back to safety and find a place of seclusion from the enemy in order to regain strength, to regain perspective, and to send one back into battle for a time.
When I was in Vietnam, we had “R & R” which was retreat, so to speak. “Rest and Recreation,” or “Rest and Relaxation”was to give us “time out” in another country, re-generate our bodies, and spirits to go back into battle again. I went on three trips: one to K.L., Malaysia; one to Taiwan, and one to Australia. When I went to Taiwan, I went as a favor to T.J. from Philadelphia, who was going back a second time to “marry” a gal he met the first time. Unfortunately, he was going to marry her, but she had no plans in the same vein, so he came back as a single man.
It might be that we have a different understanding about retreats, but I always think of it as a time to get away from the enemy, time crunch, or just remove myself from my job, my life, my family, and my friends, to “meditate” to grow in some area of my life, or just to take time to consider My Journey, THE WAY IN WHICH I AM HEADED! Maybe an adjustment needs to be made.
I do enjoy retreats, they can be fun, but for me they are always “eye-opening” and they encourage me to go on sometimes in a new direction. I go to retreat centers, I go to programs set up by churches, and businesses-Conferences, and I have even left my home to go to a hotel for a few days, just to get away from my phone.
It says, in Mark 1:35 that Jesus had to go to a lonely place, to get away from the crowds. He went up a mountain, or into a secluded garden to pray to His Father. Even Jesus, took time away, always with a purpose in mind….to spend time with His Father, and share with His Father, what was on His heart.
He was about to face His death, and He spent considerable time communicating with His Father in the Garden of Gethsemane. It says, He was in a physical condition where the Bible says, He was sweating blood. That is rather intense, never been in that situation myself. There is a medical condition, where small portion of blood in the capillaries under great stress, color the sweat with reddish color. This has to affect the whole body, so intense a prayer time of Jesus.
I suspect, we all need to take time, to quiet down, slow, down, or get away from the “rat race” of life, and just stop. Focus on what is important…and not keep pushing. Maybe you would consider a short retreat, just to unplug…and think about your life, and how important you are and Who God Is To You and to your Journey. Clear the brush, make your way straight, and take time to retreat, from the world, job, family, life’s complex schedule, and just spend some quiet time.
On My Father’s Business,