A Few Things I’ve Learned

Dacha is one of my favorite words.Retreat is the pursuit of God off the

It’s Russian and I was introduced to it in the town of Istra, Russia in January 2012 while speaking on the topics of rest and retreat at a conference for Christian camp leaders.

Dacha is a ‘getaway’ cottage—a place of retreat. The use of this word makes faces light up and eyes dance.

What word makes your eyes dance? Lightens your load?

I pray it might become the word retreat.

Here’s a Few Things I’ve Learned

  • Retreat is the pursuit of God off the beaten path.
  • It can take place in a single, solitary hour. Or it can span many hours, many days. Many miss the glorious gift of retreat because they fail to recognize the value of a single, solitary hour. Good things come in small packages.
  • Retreat can take place while coursing down the highway at 70 mph. It can take place sitting on a park bench, in public or in private, on the beach, in a coffee shop, in the woods, on a roof, in a boat, in your favorite chair at home.
  • You can “retreat” with a friend or a small group. The solitary nature of retreat prevents many people from engaging, but it’s an unnecessary roadblock. Jesus’ retreat time often included others (Matthew 17:1, Luke 22:39-41). Enjoy the camaraderie of traveling together and shared meals, but go your separate ways for times of rest, reflection, prayer, exploration, study.
  • Retreat will include things that allow you to tap into the deep resources of God. But recognize the value of rest and recreation. Take time to unwind. For some that may require many hours. Most of us are wound tighter than a top. Feast. Nap. Hike. If you’re at a retreat center take time to boat, read, fish, star gaze or shoot some hoops. Allow it to be a day of delight.
  • Retreat demands an open heart. Don’t come with great expectations. You might leave disappointed. Come with a surrendered heart intent on the desire, “Find rest, O, my soul in God alone.” (Psalm 62:5) Your cup will overflow.

Food For Thought

  • When planning a personal retreat, ask a friend to join you. As the day draws near and the stress of life mounts, it is easy to renege, but much harder if you’ve invited a friend. Enjoy your time together, but prioritize a significant portion of your time for God.
  • If you’re looking for a retreat center, check out Christian Camp and Conference Association. Many camps and retreat centers don’t have a formal personal retreat ministry, but most will open their doors and put out the welcome mat. www.ccca.org
  • Allow ‘retreat’ to become an intentional rhythm, an offensive, strategic priority in your life. Commit to a time of retreat once a year, once a season, once a month. Tie your retreat experience to a yearly event: your birthday, your favorite month of the year, Labor Day, New Year’s Day.

Red Pen

Pick a date and a manageable time frame.

Consider a favorite place.

Childcare? Get creative: tag team or divide and conquer!

Finally, listen well to the One who calls to your heart.

Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.” Mark 6:31

What makes your eyes light up? 

Is This Your First Time Here?

Welcome! We’re a group that gathers around the theme, “There has to be a better way.” We’re finding it in the 4-word mission statement, “Run hard. Rest well.”

  • It’s a journey into the heart of God. It comes our way through an on-going exploration of four biblical rhythms that revive, replenish and restore: Sabbath Keeping, Sleep (and other simple stress-reducers), Stillness—personal retreat, and Solitude—personal retreat.
  • It’s an expedition that challenges us at every turn. It convicts us in deep, tender places. It alters our priorities and plans. It’s not for the faint of heart.
  • It’s adventure at its best – as we learn to run the race in a power not our own.

First time here?

9 thoughts on “A Few Things I’ve Learned”

  1. Rest. Retreat. All sounds well and good…especially for those who are work weary. But there are those of us who are weary from lack of action due to health issues…..personal or family. There is a rest for us too. No we can’t leave the needy person. They must be cared for. We can’t leave our broken bodies. We can’t “get away”, but we must. I have found that I am able to turn my mind off the mental and emotional demands and me my Savior. There are so many I can’t’s in my life, but I can turn on some music and go deep with Jesus. My word is “dance”. Dance is free in the movements and in the beauty. It’s not boxed in by earthly, tangible focuses. It is a thing of beauty. I can’t see it, but my heart soars, and Jesus smiles. It is not a place I am able to go often enough. I carry too much world, but I go and I am refreshed.

    • “Retreat” is an awesome word. When the word is broken down there is “Re” and “Treat”. “Re” prefix meaning again or again and again. “Treat” an event, a celebration, a luxury, an indulgence. Retreats are truly a gift from God. I find these relaxing, defining, renewing moments are the spark of energy I need to go on.

      • I’ve missed you, girl friend. Think of you often and lift you up in prayer. Are you doing okay? I’m sorry I haven’t written. You are still so precious to me.

        • I am doing well. I was caught in the mundane motions in life letting the days flee before my eyes while my thoughts were lingering on the things I should have done. A bit of procrastination with a faux bit of worry on earthly on-goings caused my to stagger. But my Father is right beside me helping me to walk as always.

    • Betty,

      You have been in my prayers. Sorry I haven’t bopped by in a while. I know the feeling, “we can’t get away.” These are the days I find solace in the evening. Those moments when I lay my head down on my pillow. Just before I go to sleep, I converse with God. I look forward to going to bed not for the physical rest, but the rest I get in my Father’s arms. I am in the house, my family all around, but the moments just before I fall asleep are my moments alone with God. It feels all so wonderful to get away and pray, but it’s just as nice to send the mind away while the body stays my humble abode of my residence. God Bless you Betty!

      • Ah, yes. Those moments before sleep when you wind down and release your heart, your cares, to Jesus. You open the bag you carry and share it are the best time of day.


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