Christian Retreats: Vacations With a Purpose
Christian retreats are a big part of Carol Harrison’s life. She describes Christian retreats as being like vacations but with a purpose.
Do you enjoy retreats? Tell us what you have enjoyed or learned from a memorable retreat. Make a comment below, or contact us.
Possibilities & Obligations
In the first month of any new year, I love to think of possibilities for the blank slate of days that stretch ahead of me. I look at obligations I have committed to fulfill. I add in family events that I know about and hope to attend. I wonder what new goals I should make and finally look at possibilities for learning such as conferences or workshops and maybe a time to retreat and be refreshed.
When I plan a vacation I look at where we will go, how long we will be gone and what we will do while we are away. There are so many things to think about and plan. I have many fond memories of being on vacation, seeing new places and meeting new people but often come home and need to rest because of trying to pack so much into the short span of time allotted to be away.
A Vacation With a Purpose
I read somewhere that a retreat is a vacation with a purpose and decided to look more into this concept of a retreat. I have had the privilege over the years of attending ladies retreats, both as a participant and the speaker. I enjoy these weekends away from my everyday life, household chores and things demanding my attention. The opportunity to meet new ladies, visit with old friends and take in the speaker’s words give me time to reflect, to pray, and to be refreshed before returning home. Even as the speaker I have a chance to visit with the ladies in attendance and hear their stories, share prayer times with them and have a few fun times too.
The Definition of a Retreat
To retreat is to draw back. According to the dictionary it is an act of moving back, especially from what is difficult, dangerous or disagreeable. The Cambridge dictionary adds this definition, “to go to a quiet, safe place in order to avoid a difficult situation, a private and safe place, a period of time used to pray and study quietly or think carefully away from normal activities and duties, a private and safe place to be alone.
I like that last part of the definition – “a period of time used to pray and study quietly or think carefully away from normal activities and duties.” While a conference offers classes and workshops, a retreat gives you space to work on what you need to start, finish, or change such as a writer making time, away from everyday activities and obligations, to get some writing and editing completed.
Christian Retreats can be Catalysts
A retreat can be a catalyst to kick-start a project such as a book. Small business owners see improvement in productivity when they have invested in a company retreat which allows the employees time to rediscover passion for their work and lower the stress levels. It might include some team building exercises as well. A retreat allows you to invest in yourself and your craft whatever it might be.
There are Christian retreats, either for ladies or couples, which gives them a defined time measured in hours, days or a weekend, which is spent away from their regular lives for the purpose of reconnecting with God and with others. It gives a chance to be immersed in the experience, make memories, get a break from stresses and habits of daily life in order to focus on mental and spiritual well- being.
I imagine that you might be like me and find many reasons not to go on a retreat. The negative voices in your head might tell you things like, “It cost too much money. I just can’t afford to go for the weekend. I don’t have a babysitter for the kids and even if I find someone willing to watch them, that will only add to the cost. I have too much to do around home to take off for a few days.” You get the idea. Often those negative voices win out. It is hard to leave our comfort zone, no matter how uncomfortable it might seem at times.
Reasons for Christian Retreats
But why do we need to retreat, whether at a planned ladies retreat, writers retreat or other form of retreat or even just a retreat at home? Maybe finances will prohibit you from spending the money to go away but how can you carve out some time to retreat from the hectic pace of life and be refreshed?
We need to spend some quiet time to hear God’s voice over the everyday noise and difficulty of trying to fit all of life’s puzzle pieces together. We need to carve out some time to work on our creative endeavours. We need each other as well to help us be encouraged and accountable.
Retreats With Fond Memories
I remember several ladies retreats I attended with fond memories. They provided time to enjoy the company of other ladies and share times of learning, hearing God’s Word and prayer allowed God’s still small voice to be heard in my heart. I was encouraged to go home and follow faithfully what God had been speaking to me about at the retreat. The retreat gave me opportunity to meet together with other ladies, hear their stories and know I was not alone.
Writing on Retreats
This year I have to decide on what to do to retreat in order to work on some writing. Yes I have a quiet spot at home and family who encourages me to write, to edit and to share what I complete. But sometimes I long for a time to retreat, to have a vacation with the purpose of writing that is away from my everyday circumstances. Sometimes the call to hide out in a safe spot with no distractions except the beauty of God’s world beckons me. Does it call you too?
Psalm 46: 10 (NIV) says, “Be still and know that I am God.”
Psalm 27: 14 (NIV) says, “Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.”
We need to carve out time in our day, week, month and year to be still and know; to wait for the Lord; and to retreat to a safe place, ready to be refreshed by our time with God.
Listen to Carol’s program Puzzle Pieces Of Life.
Carol Harrison B.Ed is a speaker and published author with one book, Amee’s Story and stories in twelve anthologies. She is passionate about helping people of all ages and ability levels find their voice and reach their fullest potential.
She knows, through personal experience that some of life’s experiences are tougher than others. She encourages people that even in the twists and turns of life God’s amazing grace provides hope. She lives in Saskatoon, SK with her husband Brian. They have four adult children and a dozen grandchildren.
Visit Carol’s website carolscorner.ca
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