During the last two weeks I have been extremely busy with various events. The normal work schedule is of course supplemented with the usual variety of church functions, such as Tuesday night prayer and Sunday Worship. Add to this the doctor appointments and a root canal for our 14 year old and it is quite a sight on the calendar. So much so that I was very stressed out. A couple weeks ago I took a Friday night to Sunday morning retreat seminar for chaplains. The following weekend I met with my long-time prayer partner for a Friday night to Saturday afternoon hike in Fox State Forest near Windsor, NH. If I had not had those two breaks I am pretty certain I would have been locked up in a looney bin! (Yes, I know that was politically incorrect, but then again so am I.)
The value of small, even informal, spiritual retreats cannot be overestimated. Jesus had this same kind of practice. Luke states that, “…Jesus OFTEN withdrew to lonely places and prayed”. This was not a one time event for Him. It was something He did often. Jesus was under a lot of pressure and this was His strategy to recover and revive HImself.
Going off by yourself is like sharpening a saw blade. Sure, it takes time to do it, but in the end you are more productive than working with a dulled (or broken) blade. What do you do when you go on a retreat? Different people have different ideas, but usually include some combination of reading, praying, studying and relaxing. The next time you feel under pressure and about to ‘pop’, try going on a small retreat to rebuild.
“But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed.” Luke 5:16 (NIV)