¿Habla español?

Planning a Summer Retreat

And just like that it is summer.  The weather has changed, kids of all ages are graduating, school is out and a new season has begun.  Many of us will plan some kind of vacation over the next couple of months.  My social media feed has already been full of friends in Hawaii and other beautiful places.  Of course, most of us will plan something closer to home.  When my girls were small, our plans were less about getting away and more about filling our days with activities to keep boredom at bay.  We typically had one camping trip each summer, but did not do much travel.  Vacation has also been a great time to accomplish do-it-yourself projects around the house, refreshing my outlook while improving everyday life as well.  In more recent years, I have been much more focused on retreat than vacation, and I wonder if that might be a good option for you too.

The difference to me is twofold.  First, a vacation is typically about a destination in which you want to see and do all that place has to offer.  Consider my friends in Hawaii who bustle about the islands seeing different parks and beaches, hiking waterfall trails, and eating their fill of local cuisine.  Or perhaps an amusement park where a thoughtful strategy and schedule will ensure you are able to see every attraction and ride every ride on your list.  These are fun and build great memories, but often wear us out physically and financially.  On the other hand, a retreat is about becoming less hurried, embracing simplicity and often even frugality.

The second difference is that, on vacation, our focus can be on any number of things: extended family, exotic locations, new adventures, etc.  A retreat, however, has a narrow focus on relationship with the Lord: understanding God more, our place in the family of God, experiencing the presence of God, and thereby also understanding ourselves more clearly.  Again, both are worthwhile and enjoyable, just with a different focus.  This year I am planning several retreat days and some vacation as well; time with family, projects around the house, a change of scenery, and critical hours alone with the Lord.

If you have not planned a retreat before, here is a peek at my schedule and checklist as I plan my own summer retreat.  

to bring along:
  • book(s) that ask or answer a question on my heart
  • passage of scripture to inspire and refocus (see below)
  • journal and art supplies for creative expression (I like paint)
  • Bible for listening to God
  • simple snacks so hunger does not become a distraction
  • eye mask and earplugs for good rest

daily routine:
  • sleep until waking naturally
  • note any dreams or initial impressions of the day
  • read scripture passage
  • breakfast
  • read book(s) and/or Bible
  • get outside (hike, birdwatch, stargaze, read in a hammock)
  • nap or daydream (permission not to be productive)
  • do something creative
  • enjoy a meal (or fast, if it is a fasting retreat)
  • repeat if possible

My inspirational passage for this trip comes from Paul's second letter to the Corinthians where he is encouraging them to take hold of what they believe and allow it to change how they live.  Specifically, Paul is talking about the unprecedented access that we have to the Spirit of God.  With all the ways I feel tugged to move and change this year, I want to press into the transformation that comes from God to become more like Jesus, one layer at a time, so that is the theme of my retreat this month.

And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord's glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.
2 Corinthians 3:18

When we set aside this time to know God and to learn about who God created us to be, there is always growth and change.  God loves us, and loves when we choose to spend time in this way.  I do not think you can go wrong when you set aside some retreat time with Jesus, however that looks for you and whatever you seek.  Here are a few more passages that have made for meaningful retreats over the years.  I hope one will inspire you to take a few hours or a few days alone in the presence of the Holy Spirit this summer!

Then, because so many people were coming and going that they did not even have a chance to eat, he said to them, "Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest."
Mark 6:31

The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing.  He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he refreshes my soul.
Psalm 23:1-3

He says, "Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth."
Psalm 46:10

I will lead her into the wilderness and speak tenderly to her.
Hosea 2:14

Related Posts

No Comments


Categories

Tags

1 Kings 12 Days of Christmas 20 minutes 2020 Acts Adonai American way America Antelope Valley Apostle Paul Apostle's Creed Bibile Bible study Bible Birmingham Book of Acts But God COVID-19 COVID Calvary Charlies Angels Christian Voter Guide Christian home Christmas Church Colossians Communication Confessional Prayer Corinthians Dallas Willard David Devotional Doing Life Together Eastertide Easter Ecclesiastes Emmanuel Ephesians Epiphany Esther Father in Heaven Father's Day Father Galatians God With Us God first God is good God of peace God still Moved God's Will God\'s Will Good Friday Gospel of John Gospel of Luke Gospel of Mark Gospel of Matthew Happy Father's Day Hawaii Hebrews Holy Spirit Hosea How to Pray I want that Isaiah 43 Isaiah James Brown James Jenna Bush Hagar Jeremiah 29:11 Jeremiah Jesus John 3:16 John Wesley John Kingdom Come Kingdom of God Leadership Lectio Divina Light of the World Lord Love is Love your neighbor Luke MLK Malachi Mama Bear Mark Martin Luther King Jr. Mary Matthew Memorial Day Merry Christmas Micah 6:8 Micah Monday Night Manna Mother Hen Mothers Day Nancy Drew Nehemiah New Testament Old Testament Only God Knows Paul Pentecost Peter Philippians Prince Phillip Prince of Peace Proverbs 13 Proverbs Psalm 10 Psalm 23 Psalm 40 Psalm 42 Psalm 46 Psalms of Joy Pursuing the Presence of God Queen Elizabeth Revelation Romans Ruth Haley Barton Savior Sermon Sheridan Voysey Son of God Son of Man Son Spider Man Sunday School Surprised by Joy Target Thanksgiving The Free Market The Lord's Prayer The Sound of Music Timothy Titanic Today Show Twelfth Night Veggietales Voter Guide Women in Leadership Women of Faith Women's Bible Study abide abstain accused act justly action adoration adventure advocate afraid allelon alone anchor anger answers anxiety art attack authority awkward back to school balance baptism be kind be prepared be still and know beaten and condemned beauty and struggle beauty belief believe betrayed by a kiss betrayed black friday blackbelt blameless bleeding woman blessed blessing bond bookmark boundaries broken brotherhood burden butter called by God called by name called care cause celebrate centered in Christ challenges change childbirth children choice choosejoy choose christian christ chronic illness church nerd alert church online citizen civil rights clean hearts cleaning comfort community compassion into action compost confession of faith confession conflict resolution conflict confusion connection connect consumer culture contemplative prayer conversation with God corruption court tv court creation cross crucified and kind crucified crucify dad dating daughtership daughters death defense delight denied depression differently abled disabled discernment discipleship discipline discovery discrimination distracted divine divinity do good do the action donate doughnuts dreams dream early church eating disorder eden election emotional health empathy encouragement endurance enough excess expectations failure faithfulness faith fall family dynamics family fun family of God family systems family fangirl fasting fast favorite scripture favorite things fear feel find and follow Jesus flexible forgiveness forgive free time freedom free friendship friends fruit funeral fun gaining faith galaxy garden generations generosity genesis gift give it away give life giving goals god good news gospels gospel government grace of God grace grass is always greener gratitude gravy great cloud of witnesses green bean casserole green thumb grief grieve grit groups growth ham hangover happiness harsh truth healing healthy habit heart sick heart help holding tight holidays holiday homeless homeostasis homeschool honor hope deferred hope how the Lord speaks how to read scripture how to talk about loss how to worship how to humanity human humor innocent inspiration intercessory prayer intimacy introvert invitation isolation journal journey joy just believe justice kids kindness kind kingdom of heaven lament lent let it be life together light live loneliness longing losing faith loss love in action love mercy love story love the Lord love loving like Jesus magi marathon march marginalized marriage mashed potatoes meditation memorial memories mental health mentalhealthmonth messiah momlife mom motivated by joy mourn moved with compassion move mystery navigate need neighbors neighbor new beginning new normal new season new year news new nickname normal not alone not easy nothing but joy nourishment now and not yet nowandnotyet nurse offering one body online overflowing with gratitude pain pandemic parenting parents pastor patience patient peacemaker peacemaking peace perseverance personal prayer perspective petition phillipians pity planted by water plan politics practice of confession practicing gratitude pray for pastors pray without ceasing prayer request prayerwarrior prayer praying praywithoutceasing pray preach prepare presence of God present priortize prize promise of God promise prophetic psalms psalm purpose quarantine questions quiet race read reconciliation reconnect recovery reevaluate reflect regather rejoice relationships relationship repentance repost research resources respect rest resurrection retreat riot road to the cross roles routine rules sabbath sadness safe at home salvation scripture about justice scriptures about fear scriptures about joy scriptures about peace scriptures about race scripture seasons season self-care self-denial self-differentiation serve serving share shelter at home shepherds signs silence simple pleasures single dad single mom single parent sing sinking sink slowly smile sober social distancing soil solitude sonship soul care soul music spiritual disciplines spiritual health spiritual practices spirit spring stars starting point star stayathome still good stop and look up storm streams of water strength stress struggleisreal study success sudden suffering of Christ suffering summer support surrender take heart talking with kids teacher tears technology the truth is out there the truth will set you free the way the truth and the life thessalonians think thisistheday time tithe to be honest together traditions transformed transition trauma treasure tree of life trials trust and obey trust in the Lord trust truth turkey understanding unfailing love unity universe vacation vice president virtual volunteer vote waiting waking up walk humbly we cannot go back weather wedding woman at the well woman caught in adultery women pastors women worry worship yield youmatter zoom